Acquiring, Developing, and Retaining Project Talent: How the Right Talent Improves Project and Business Success


By Stacy Goff

Colorado, USA


This article builds upon an article I wrote in 2008. It sets the stage with our “Talent Scout” story, and then explores Talent acquisition, the steps needed to develop Talent, and the challenges of retaining Project Talent. Finding, developing, and managing project talent is both a serious challenge and a great opportunity. Talent is essential in two project dimensions: Application Area talent in the disciplines needed to deliver the project’s product, and in the Project Management competences needed by all parties to leverage that talented team.

Years ago, I worked with a Human Resources group from a major Defense Contractor. They wished to apply more-effective Project Manage­ment methods to their daily project activities.

One of this group’s primary responsibilities was to search for qualified program and project managers. Early in our sessions, I observed that they are Talent Scouts, and the phrase struck a chord with them.

The most-savvy Talent Scouts not only discover and recognize talent; they also amplify it, nurture it, and reward it. They use the entire progression of learning, beyond Knowledge, beyond Skills, beyond Attitudes, and beyond Competence, to attain Project Performance.

Talent From Then To Now

In ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman times, Talent was a term for measure, often related to value. You may recall historic mentions of Forty Talents of Silver, either in Akhenaten’s Tomb (on a translated copper scroll) or other sources. As often used, a talent was the weight of the water or wine contents of an amphora; about 60 pounds (a significant amount!). Even then, a broader definition was forming. Dictionary.com notes: “a power of mind or body considered as given to a person for use and improvement. citing the Bible’s New Testament.

Today, regardless of the venue, talent is a term that describes either a person’s natural abilities, or their competence, or both, whether that person is an actor, a politician, a parent, or a project engineer. In fact, the new 4th edition of the IPMA Individual Competence Baseline lists the Talents of Project and Program Managers, even more valuable than the silver of old. Well, it calls them the Competence Elements, but we all know they are Talents!


To read entire paper (click here)



About the Author


Stacy Goff

Colorado, USA




Stacy Goff, the PM Per4mance Coach, is President of ProjectExperts®, a Program and Project Management consulting, tools and training company. A Project Management practitioner since 1970 and consultant since 1982, he helps improve Enterprise, Department or Project Team PM Competence, effectiveness and Performance.

In addition to years of service to PMI®, he is also co-founder and 2009-2015 President of asapm®, the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management, and was Vice President of Marketing & Events for IPMA®, the International Project Management Association, 2011-2014. In 2015, he was named an IPMA Honorary Fellow.

An insightful consultant and dynamic speaker, Mr. Goff provides program and project consulting, training and coaching services. He presents at major industry conferences, and offers workshops of interest to Executives, Managers, Program and Project Managers and leaders, technical staff, and individual contributors. By 2000, he had exposed over 45,000 people to Project Management. Today, his tools and methods are used by government agencies, Enterprises, consultancies and individuals on six continents. Email: [email protected]

To see other works by Stacy Goff, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/stacy-goff/

Note: PM Per4mance: A trademark of Goff Associates, Inc., the ProjectExperts. The 4 in Per4mance reflects Personal, Project, Program and Portfolio Management Performance.

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