10 Principles for Organisational Project Management Training

There are no real-life stories of putting staff on a standard Project Management training course procured by HR, and having them successfully deploy formal Project Management when they come back.

Because conventional Project Management training rarely yields the desired business results, we design our learning programmes for teams according to the following principles and considerations:

NUMBER 1  The Project Management training must work at work

We design the training towards the actual tasks that people must do in their specific positions in their real company. We work with management to ensure that the reporting structures, processes and systems that they need to be able to do their work responsibly and accountably, are gradually rolled out.

NUMBER 2  Decide on milestones and assess the ROI

The result of every stage of the training must justify the time and money spent on it, so each training milestone provides a gateway for evaluating the outcome and deciding what to do. If at any point management is not convinced that there’s a good Business Case for carrying on with the Project Management training, then the training should stop.

NUMBER 3  Mitigate risk

Project Management is always about managing risk. Many institutions design their Project Management without considering the actual people who will be trained. In a training project, one of the risks is that the focus will shift from what people should learn in order to do their work, towards “covering the full syllabus”. Our programmes are therefore designed to adapt to requirements that emerge and develop along the way.

NUMBER 4  Don’t waste time

Project Management is a complex discipline. Crash courses waste time trying to cram something that can’t be crammed: it takes time to develop the required skills and insights, to hone them on the job and to change the environment within which work is done. That’s why long expensive full-time courses don’t work either: They remove people from their work. A suitably designed programme provides time to grow naturally, learning whilst doing the job.

NUMBER 5  Ensure that the leaders are the ones who lead

Project Management is a systemic organisational discipline, not an individual task or skill. Corporate training in Project Management fails if the right leaders aren’t involved in the right way. (Merely giving their blessing to training, rather than actively leading the endeavour, is like dropping the kids off at the mall with money to spend.) We actively engage the leaders in the programme.

NUMBER 6  Establish appropriate thinking skills first

Training must take into account everything that’s needed to do a job effectively. Many Project Management courses focus on getting people proficient at methods and techniques, such as the Critical Path Method, Gantt charts and so on—as though they already have the thinking skills needed to use them contextually and insightfully in a management context. We don’t assume that they do. Therefore, we focus on this thinking from the start.

NUMBER 7  Respect individual profiles and build on strengths

A one-size-fits-all approach to people is a bad idea when Project Management training is being used with the purpose of improving a company’s Project Management. This is because the people, who are parts of the system, have different roles and responsibilities. They also have different personality profiles, learning styles, cultures and talents. In addition, they interact differently in different groups. We therefore design our Project Management training to discover and optimise individual strengths. This is to help ensure that individuals can be used effectively where their input adds the most value, and where they would feel energised.

NUMBER 8  Instil accountability

Personal responsibility and accountability are prerequisites for authority in projects. In a typical learning programme from ProjectManagement.co.za, online activities are used for studying, while contact events are used for applying what was learned. Participants are thus responsible and accountable for ensuring and proving that they’re well prepared to provide the inputs required of them before coming to a workshop or worksession. Contact time can now be optimised for learning to collaborate whilst producing actual work outputs instead of sitting through hours of lectures. The sense of achievement is thrilling.

NUMBER 9  Reference established Project Management standards

The programme makes reference to common international standards such as PRINCE2® and the PMBOK® Guide, so that participants have the keys to finding related information, and can converse contextually with clients and suppliers who refer to these standards.

NUMBER 10  Drive organisational change and personal mastery

Implementing Project Management in the organisation requires new ways of thinking and new ways of working from everyone involved in projects, not just the people in charge of projects. Our programmes are designed for this.

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