Four Leading Competence Frameworks – in 3 minutes



Four leading Competence Frameworks: ICB, PMCD, e-CF, SFIA

An increasing number of organizations require not only technical knowledge but also demonstrable specific competencies of individuals and general performance competences. HR professionals advise that successful performance requires a mix of skills, attitude, knowledge and behavior. In other words, ‘skills’ is one of the components of ‘competences’.

A ‘competence framework’ is a structure that sets out and defines the competences required by individuals working within an organization.
For the project management field there are two leading international frameworks:
·         ICB
·         PMCD
For the IT and IT management field there are two leading international frameworks:
·         e-CF
·         SFIA


The IPMA Competence Baseline (ICB) is a competence framework for the project management field, developed by the International Project Management Association (IPMA). ICB version 3 was published in 2006.

The ICB distinguishes four certification levels from D (lowest level) to A (highest level). The certification process is described for each level, together with a taxonomy and a self-assessment sheet.

In ICB Version 3 professional project management is broken down into 46 competence elements, divided into three areas:
1. Technical competences for project management (20 elements),

2. Behavioural competence of project management personnel (15 elements),

3. Contextual competences: the relations with the context of the projects,

    programmes and portfolios (11 elements).
Additionally the IPMA Netherlands chapter (IPMA-NL) has developed the PM Competence Model.  This offers additional possibilities to construct a job function structure for the project management field.


TheProject Manager Competency Development (PMCD) Framework was developed by the Project  Management Institute (PMI). The Second Edition was released in 2002. It provides general context for the definition, assessment and development of project manager competences. The framework outlines the key dimensions of project management competences and identifies those competences that are most likely to impact project manager performance.

PMCD Framework serves as a reference tool for project managers and their superiors, as well as for those responsible for the identification or development of project managers, such as educators, trainers, consultants and human resource professionals.

The European e-Competence Framework (e-CF) is a reference framework of 36 ICT competences that can be used and understood by ICT user and supply companies, the public sector, educational and social partners across Europe. It provides a set of Europe-wide jointly defined ICT practitioner and manager competences as needed and applied on the workplace.

The 36 competences are classified into 5 areas derived from the IT business processes:
A.      Plan
B.      Build
C.      Run
D.      Enable
E.       Manage
These competences link directly to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). This provides a European basis for internationally efficient personnel planning and development.



The SFIA framework is maintained by the British SFIA Foundation. SFIA Version 5 was launched in 2011.
SFIA provides a common reference model for the identification of the skills needed to develop effective Information Systems (IS) making use of Information Communications Technologies (ICT). It is a two-dimensional framework consisting of areas of work on one axis and levels of responsibility on the other.
SFIA enables employers of IT professionals to carry out a range of HR activities against a common framework of reference.
PM Competence Model: Competence profiles, Certification levels and Functions in the Project management and Project support field Based on ICB version 3 – 2nd revised edition


Four Leading Competence Frameworks
SFIA Version 5:

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