A well-trained project management workforce gives your organization an edge in today’s competitive environment.
When an organization decides to embrace project management as a core competency, a comprehensive, enterprise-wide training effort should be the very first step. In fact, this training should occur before even beginning to think about the development of a project management methodology or the creation of a project management office (PMO).
In my experience as a project management trainer and consultant, I have seen many organizations embark on large-scale efforts to develop project management procedures or implement robust PMOs—only to see them fail. Why? The people responsible for using and implementing the tools were not well-trained. Or worse, they were not fully aware of the benefits a structured approach to project management would provide for them and their organizations.
These training efforts are often not as efficient as they could be. This is mainly due to two common mistakes: A lack of standardization (which will not produce a common language) or, conversely, too much standardization (which doesn’t differentiate between the roles and the level of involvement teams should have on projects).
Here are some tips for designing an organization-wide project management training effort:
- Don’t let team members receive training that doesn’t match the organization’s approach to project management. Even though most training is somewhat aligned with A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) standards, you cannot guarantee consistency for a true common language. Agree upon a concerted training effort up-front.
- By no means use a one-size-fits-all approach. People in the organization have various roles on a project, such as sponsors, program managers, project managers, subject matter experts and team members. Carefully tailor the training for each one of these roles, addressing specific knowledge, skills and challenges each will face.
- Project managers are not the only ones who should receive training. If possible, everybody in the organization should have at least basic preparation. Eventually, most of an organization’s employees will reach a certain level of project participation.
- Use project management training as a way to enhance employees’ skills and knowledge, and as a vehicle to communicate the benefits of standardized project management tools and techniques to the individual and the organization. In general, team members want to do a good job and help their company succeed—but they also want to know what’s in it for them.
- Link the newly acquired skills with new responsibilities and a carefully designed career path. When team members and project managers see opportunities or rewards beyond their current position, they are more likely to embrace new knowledge and skills to foster their professional development.
Many organizations brag that human resources are their most important assets. But only the really smart ones properly invest in training those assets. PM
Roberto Toledo, MBA, PMP, is managing partner of Alpha PM Consulting. Reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @robertoledo.
PM NETWORK DECEMBER 2011 WWW.PMI.ORG