The NASA Project Management and Systems Engineering Competency Framework consists of five Project Management competency areas, three Systems Engineering competency areas, and five competency areas common to both the Project Management and Systems Engineering communities.
|Download the full PDF of the PM & SE Competency Framework.|
The competency areas describe, in broad terms, what is expected of NASA Project Management and Systems Engineering personnel in terms of particular components or functions of the job. (Click the above image to view the Competency Areas and their corresponding detailed Competencies.)
Each major Competency Area has underlying competencies that provide examples of the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that Project Managers and Systems Engineers are expected to possess and/or perform at different levels of job responsibilities. These skills, behaviors, and knowledge demonstrate performance to be achieved for successful mastery of each competency and are expressed in terms of levels. However, they are not all inclusive.
Each of the three sections of the framework includes a summary overview of definitions of each of the competency areas and a list of the respective underlying competencies.
Additionally, following each summary are the associated examples of knowledge, skills, and behaviors at each level of job responsibility. A description of each underlying competency is also included.
Begin by acquainting yourself with the Competency Levels described below. Then click the link at the bottom of the page to access the detailed Competency Areas and their corresponding skills, behavior, and knowledge.
“The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly — that is what each of us is here for. (Oscar Wilde)
APPEL Competency Model for Project Managers and Systems Engineers:
Description of Levels
To determine how best to proceed after entering the NASA workforce and progress through the technical professional development model, it is helpful to understand the description of proficiency at each level. The following descriptions serve as a guide for project managers and systems engineers to use in conjunction with the career development model.
Click each level to show or hide the corresponding description.Proficiency Level I: Technical Engineer/Project Team Member
Description of Role/ Responsibility — Performs fundamental and routine project management (PM) and system engineering (SE) activities while supporting a Level II-IV subsystem lead/manager, project/program manager or systems engineer as a member of a project team.
Level of Expertise/Competency to Attain Proficiency Level — Practitioners who demonstrate an awareness and understanding of NASA’s systems engineering (SE) and project management (PM) tools, techniques, and lexicon. They have obtained a working knowledge of technical integration, systems engineering, and project management concepts and tools and have performed tasks and activities to support and contribute to a project.
Learning and Development Emphasis — The emphasis is basic awareness of project management and systems engineering principles and practices.
Proficiency Level II: Subsystem Lead/Manager
Description of Role/ Responsibility — Performs PM or SE activities for a subsystem or simple project (e.g. no more than two simple internal/external interfaces, simpler contracting processes, smaller team/ budget, shorter duration).
Level of Expertise/Competency to Attain Proficiency Level — Practitioners who have participated in or led PM activities such as requirements development, budget and schedule development, and risk management and/or will have had sufficient experience and responsibility required to prepare them to lead PM, SE and technical integration activities on a subsystem or small project. They demonstrate the application of PM/SE tools, techniques, and lexicon at the project subsystem level, including use of SE/PM best practices.
Learning and Development Emphasis — Emphasis is on application and participation in project management and systems engineering activities.
Proficiency Level III: Project Manager/Project Systems Engineer
Description of Role/ Responsibility — Performs as a project manager or project systems engineer for a complex project (e.g. several distinct subsystems or other defined services, capabilities, or products and their associated interfaces).
Level of Expertise/Competency to Attain Proficiency Level — Practitioners who have taken a significant leadership role in multiple phases of a project life cycle, managing programmatic and technical aspects and/or managing all technical integration and PM and SE functions for a system or project that would prepare them for a technical leadership role in support of a major system or project. They demonstrate the integration of SE/PM tools, techniques, and best practices across systems at the project level.
Learning and Development Emphasis — Emphasis is on the directing, structuring, and integration activities of project management and systems engineering.
Proficiency Level IV: Program Manager/Program Systems Engineer
Description of Role/ Responsibility — Oersees Project Management or Systems Engineering activities for a program with several systems and/or establishes Project Management and Systems Engineering policies at the Agency or Center level.
Level of Expertise/Competency to Attain Proficiency Level — Practitioners who have contributed to Agency goals and who are effective in managing programmatic, technical, and strategic interactions both internal and external to the Agency. They will have demonstrated superior competencies in all formulation and implementation systems engineering/project management activities.
Learning and Development Emphasis — Emphasis is on strategy and leading, directing, and management of Agency initiatives.