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How to Create a Skills Matrix

Use a Skills Matrix to confirm the skills, knowledge, and interest of your team members. A Skills Matrix is a table that displays people’s proficiency in specified skills and knowledge, as well as their interest in working on assignments using these skills and knowledge. Whether you’re able to influence the people assigned to your project team, people are assigned to your team without your input, or you assume the role of project manager of an existing team, you need to know what each team member can handle.

If you have a team that was assembled without considering your opinion on the capabilities needed to perform your project’s work, it’s essential that you find out team members’ skills, knowledge, and interests so you can make the most appropriate task assignments. If some or all of your team has been chosen in response to the specific skills and knowledge needs that you discussed with the organization’s management, you should document people’s skills and knowledge and verify their interests, in case you need to assign people to unanticipated tasks that crop up or if you have to replace a team member unexpectedly.

The left-hand column of this Skills Matrix identifies skill and knowledge areas, and the top row lists people’s names. At the intersection of the rows and columns, you identify the level of each person’s particular skills, knowledge, and interests.

Display people’s skills, knowledge, and interests in a Skills Matrix.
Display people’s skills, knowledge, and interests in a Skills Matrix.

Take the following steps to prepare a Skills Matrix for your team:

  1. Discuss with each team member his or her skills, knowledge, and interests related to the activities that your project entails.

    Explain that you seek this information so you can assign people to the tasks that they’re most interested in and qualified to perform.

  2. Determine each person’s level of interest in working on the tasks for which he or she has been proposed.

    At a minimum, ask people whether they’re interested in the tasks for which they’ve been proposed. If a person isn’t interested in a task, try to find out why and whether there is anything you can do to modify the assignment to make it more interesting to him or her.

    If a person isn’t interested in a task, you can either not ask and not know the reason, or ask and (if you get an honest response) know the reason. Knowing that a person isn’t interested is better than not knowing, because you can consider the possibility of rearranging assignments or modifying the assignment to address those aspects of it that the person doesn’t find appealing.

  3. Consult with team members’ functional managers and/or the people who assigned them to your project to determine their opinions of the levels of each team member’s skills, knowledge, and interests.

    You want to understand the reasons why these managers assigned the people they did to your project.

  4. Check to see whether any areas of your organization have already prepared Skills Matrices.

    Find out whether they reflect any information about the extent to which team members have skills and knowledge that you feel are required for your project’s activities.

  5. Incorporate all the information you gather in a Skills Matrix, and review with each team member the portion of the matrix that contains his or her information.

    This review gives you the opportunity to verify that you correctly recorded the information you found and the team member a chance to comment on or add to any of the information.

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