Secrets of Good Project Management Training Programs

We’ve looked at some of the mistakes PMOs make when it comes to training (training-mistakes-most-pmos-make) and (4-more-training-mistakes-pmos-make), but there are also things that set great training programs apart from those that are just average. If you want to take your team’s training to the next level, check out these strategies.

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Where Can I Learn New Project Management Skills?

A while ago we talked about some of the project management skills PMs were adding to their toolbox (which-project-management-skills-should-i-be-learning-right-now). If you’re interested in developing new expertise or talents but are having a tough time figuring out where to go for more information, we have some tips to help get you started.

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Register for our May 30th online webinar “Shifting the Worry Curve”

Event: Webinar: Project Management and “Shifting the Worry Curve”

Register HERE

Description: Anyone who’s worked on projects knows that surprises can often become the norm, not the exception. Unfortunately, many project surprises that could have been identified early go unnoticed until it’s too late. These “last minute surprises” lead to an inordinate amount of time spent on playing catch-up and, ultimately, missed deadlines, cost overruns, and poor quality.

The solution is to shift the worry curve earlier in the project life cycle. This shift requires a formal project management methodology, one that includes a structured and disciplined control process.

In this 1-hour webinar, Jay Wilson, Director of Training for PMAlliance, Inc., will explain why project teams and project managers continue to operate in the panic mode, and how a shift in focus can dramatically improve project outcomes.

Agenda

  • Overview of the elements of project management
  • Examine the typical project worry curve
  • Evaluate a superior approach to managing focus and project deliverables
  • Understand the interrelationship of project management elements
  • Learn to manage client and team member expectations

Who Should Attend? Project sponsors, managers and team members seeking to gain greater insight into successful project management methods.

 

Sponsor: IMEC and PMAlliance, Inc.

Presenter: Jay Wilson, Director of Training for PMAlliance, Inc.

City:

Location: Online

Date: 05/30/2012

Time: 10:00AM-11:00AM

Status: Confirmed

Cost: $0

Audience: Manufacturers

Contact Name: Amy Fitzgerald

Contact Phone: 309-677-2977

Contact Email: afitzgerald@imec.org

NFL Playoffs: Mirroring Your Strategic Project Initiatives

All football games are not created equal; some matter more than others. Consider regular season games compared to the playoffs. In the regular season, teams have a standard weekly preparation—they develop strategies for the immediate challenge ahead, and attempt to execute their plan each Sunday. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. And though each game is slightly different, the preparation and execution are relatively similar. As the season marches on, some teams get very good at executing their plan while others flounder. These weekly engagements are similar in concept to a company’s routine “utility” projects—those keep-the-lights-on projects that teams do time and again. Through the repetition of planning and executing these projects, teams get comfortable in the routine, with little assistance needed to get ready for the next week.

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Project Management in a Down Economy

Each year, companies execute projects for the purpose of improving their bottom-line and expanding their competitive advantage. The difference between success and failure often depends on how committed organizations are in utilizing project management to monitor and control schedule delays. Schedule delays are the villain in project management and are the biggest cause of budget overruns, missed deadlines, and poor quality. During good economic times, investing in project management is financially feasible and acceptable by most companies. However, during bad economic times, project management is considered an overhead cost and the tendency is to downsize. This paper discusses the importance of investing in project management to mitigate the impact of schedule delays in good and more importantly during bad economic times.

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A Phased Approach to Project Management Implementation

Implementing a formalized project management process in an organization that does not have a history of using a structured approach to project planning and control can present significant challenges. A phased approach to implementation is a crucial element of a successful implementation strategy because it helps overcome resistance to change, allows lessons learned in early phases to be incorporated in the systems installed in later phases, and ensures that a solid foundation of project-level data is available prior to rolling-up enterprise-level information.

Resistance to change is a well-documented phenomenon. And, we know from experience that the implementation of structured project planning and control techniques is a substantial departure from the norm for many companies. Therefore, resistance to change with respect to project management is something that should be expected (and even planned on). A phased approach to implementation can help overcome this resistance by allowing an organization to create success stories, provide the necessary communication (downward and upward), and build momentum prior to rolling-out the process to the general population. By taking a phased approach, we can dramatically increase our chances of acceptance by the organization and reduce the probability of a “program-of-the-month” fiasco. A project management system must be tailored to the organization. A “one size fits all” approach has a low probability of success because it does not recognize differences in project types, management and staff capabilities, and organizational culture. A phased approach to implementation allows time in the initial phases to gather first-hand information about project characteristics, personnel, and cultural nuances. Then, based on this information, a project management system can be designed and a roll-out plan crafted that maximizes the prospects for success.The later stages of implementation are focused on providing the enterprise-level tools that allow an organization to gain visibility to project schedule, resource, and cost information across the entire portfolio of projects. This information can be used to optimize business decision making given that there are constraints related to limited resources, limited budgets, and project priority. Unfortunately, enterprise-level decision making must be based on solid project-level information, otherwise, the decisions that are made may not be correct. A phased implementation approach allows time to ensure that sound plans for all individual projects are created prior to rolling-up enterprise-level information. Also, enterprise-level tools can represent a substantial financial commitment. A phased approach can coordinate the timing of the investment in these tools with the point of maximum usefulness.

The Four Phases of Project Management Implementation

PMAlliance utilizes four phases for the project management implementation process: Initiation, Project-Level Installation, Enterprise-Level Installation, and Maintenance. A description of each phase follows.

1. Initiation Phase

The purpose of the Initiation phase is to mobilize the organization, remediate any current at-risk projects, and set the stage for the Installation phases. Time is of the essence in the Initiation phase. Management “cracks the door open” with the organization by endorsing the process at kick-off and requesting the support and participation
of all employees. However, from the moment of kick-off, employee patience and willingness to participate is in jeopardy until success stories have been created and communicated. This is perhaps the riskiest of all of the phases of implementation because even small failures at this stage can fuel the arguments of naysayers, substantiate the fears of those employees “sitting on the fence” with respect to project management, and dissipate any momentum created by management during the kick-off process. For these reasons, the Initiation phase includes the selection of pilot projects that have the potential for near-term of successes and great emphasis is placed on creating and communicating those success stories to the organization.

2. Project-Level Installation Phase

During the Project-Level Installation phase structured project planning and control processes are implemented on all targeted projects, the project management infrastructure necessary to support the consistent, successful application of project management techniques by the Project Office on future projects is created, and Project Office staff are trained and mentored.

3. Enterprise-Level Installation Phase

The Enterprise-Level Installation phase creates the infrastructure necessary to support business decision-making based on schedule, resource, and cost information “rolled-up” from the entire portfolio of projects and transitions the day-to-day responsibility for developing and maintaining individual project plans to the Project Office staff.

4. Maintenance Phase

The purpose of the Maintenance phase is to transition the responsibility for supporting all of the project management requirements of the organization to the Project Office staff and to ensure long-term continuity by establishing project management as a core competency and an essential function within the organization.

Conclusion

In today’s economic environment it is absolutely
essential to ”get it right the first time” when it comes to making organizational changes. A phased approach to implementing project management can dramatically increase the probability of success because it helps to overcome resistance to change, creates an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned into the design of the project management infrastructure, and ensures that high-quality enterprise-level information is available to major stakeholders.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consultingproject management training and project office development services.