The Project Manager Competency Development Framework (PMCDF)

What is the Project Manager Competency Development Framework?

The Project Manager Competency Development Framework (PMCD Framework or PMCDF) is a practice standard of the PMI®. A practice standard describes how to use a tool, technique or process identified in the PMBOK® Guide or in another foundational standard. The PMCDF describes what the PMI® considers to be important characteristics and attributes for a project manager.

Read in depth: The PMCD Framework: What it is and why it matters

What does all that mean?

The PMI® (Project Management Institute) is one of the largest international organisations focused on Project Management as an organisational and professional discipline.

Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is a foundational standard of the PMI®. This standard provides a compact description of how a large project should be managed within an organisation.

The PMI®‘s standards are contained in documents. If you join the PMI®, you can download these standards and others from the PMI®‘s Web site.

The PMBOK® Guide assumes that the processes it describes have been formally implemented by senior management. It also assumes that senior management understand how to come up with a good Business Case, which is the most important guiding document in the project. Once the Business Case has been approved, the project manager’s real work begins.

Challenges to finding training towards competence

CHALLENGE  The learning milieu doesn’t match what the book says.

The vast majority of people who seek Project Management training do not work in the environment assumed by the PMBOK® Guide. This is true even of those who work on big-budget projects in large organisations.

This reality is an important consideration for the development of learning programmes at

CHALLENGE  Theory and exams don’t do the job.

It is very easy to find training to get an academic knowledge of the PMBOK® Guide. Typical PMP® exam prep courses provide this. There are also many other learning aids available too, such as books, videos and practice tests to help you pass this exam, or exams based on other Project Management standards, such as PRINCE2® (a specific method for Project Management, not from the PMI®).

Theoretically, an exam preparation course would provide you with one of the three dimensions of the PMCDF, namely, the Knowledge dimension. In practice, though, you are likely to forget what you learned very quickly (watch this video to find out more). Plus, the method of study typically doesn’t make provision for the development of Knowledge (if we use this definition of Knowledge, which aligns to the requirements set out in the PMCDF standard).

CHALLENGE  All-round competency requires all-round training.

Most Project Management courses do not align to all three dimensions of the PMCDF. If you want to actually be a decent project manager, you’ll have to be good in all three dimensions.

The PMP® exam is difficult, but passing it doesn’t mean you’re good at managing projects. The same goes for all the well-known exams in Project Management, such as the PRINCE2® Practitioner or typical SAQA Unit Standard certificates.

It is not easy to find training which aligns to all three dimensions of the PMCDF. Our PMCDF articles explain why we have taken on the challenge of aligning all our Project Management training to PMCDF criteria.

What do we provide?

Critical thinking and systems thinking are fostered in the Intensive Workshop from, in pursuit of the requirements of the Project Manager Competency Development Framework, or PMCDF.For individuals

The Practical Certification Programme in Project Management™ (PCP) is a unique learning programme from We continuously refine the PCP™ to assist people in aligning to the requirements of the Project Manager Competency Development Framework. In the PCP™, participants develop competencies in all three dimensions of the PMCDF.

For teams

Our customised organisational learning programmes are also designed with the PMCDF in mind.

PMP, CAPM and PMBOK are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
PRINCE2® is a registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited. The Swirl Logo™ is a Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited.
All PRINCE2® courses on this site are offered by Accredited Courses Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Tania Melnyczuk

Tania is the Director of Programme Design at and the Collaboration Director of the Autistic Strategies Network. She also works as a project specialist at Marius Cloete Moulds, and as a professional artist specialising in ballpoint and multimedia.


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