6 SNEAKY WAYS TO GET MORE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING

We’ve talked about the benefits of Project Management Training and even covered some of the secrets of putting together a good training program. But sometimes just figuring out when to pack training into an already crowded schedule is the hardest part. Below are 6 ninja tricks for getting more training in your PMO.

1 – Use what you have. Is someone on the team a guru when it comes to a piece of legacy software? See if they’ll give a quick brown bag session that includes a cheat sheet with the platform’s coolest tricks. It’s a fast, free, no-fluff way to get targeted training.

2 – Make meetings do double duty. You can’t cram training into every project meeting, but you can assign the task of ferreting out at least one low-cost training opportunity to a member of the team on a rotating basis. Have them present their findings as an agenda item.

3 – Connect with external mentors. Industry groups regularly pair experienced mentors with new professionals. The cost is usually free, aside from any dues you pay to be part of the organization.

4 – Build education time into purchase contracts. Did you just buy a new piece of equipment? See if the manufacturer will throw in a factory tour that includes an “Installation and Maintenance 101” session.

5 – Make software training mandatory. When shopping for new software, always include a training line item in the budget. You’ll maximize your software investment when the team can use the platform to its full potential.

6 – Volunteer. Professionals who donate their time at project management conferences and local business functions not only give back to the industry, they also frequently get to attend the event’s training and informational sessions for free.

 

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6 SNEAKY WAYS TO GET MORE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING

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WHEN TO TAKE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

DO YOU NEED PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING? INFOGRAPHIC

4 BENEFITS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING

3 SCENARIOS WHERE MEDDLING MAKES SENSE

I normally encourage project managers and team leaders to fight the urge to get involved in garden-variety conflicts (“Stop Meddling!”), since these often lead to innovative and creative solutions. But there are times when some intervention by a PMO’s leadership is a good idea. Below are some guidelines to help you determine when to step in and when to step back.

Professionalism has gone out the window.  The instant a conflict escalates into all-out warfare, you must intervene. Direct personal attacks are forbidden, as is divulging sensitive details (either business-related or personal) to others in an attempt to influence their opinion or gain their support, general venting that includes bad-mouthing another team member, and any refusal to interact with the other person that impedes the group’s activities.

Productivity has dropped. When you notice productivity levels—of the people involved in the conflict or of those around them—are slipping, it’s time to get everyone back on track. Signs that the team’s output is dropping could range from meetings that are monopolized by arguments (these will usually be about the same things over and over) to unresolved disagreements that delay a project’s progress or negatively affect critical milestones. If any of these triggers crop up, you need to step in and mediate so the team can move forward.

The players aren’t on equal footing. If the seniority level or reporting structure of the involved parties means that one is at a distinct disadvantage, you should pay close attention to how the conflict is progressing. Any abuse of a position merits intervention, so be on the lookout for arguments where one person is able to withhold resources, deny new opportunities, or otherwise interfere with the work of the other. Productive conflict only happens when everyone involved is able to participate without fear of retribution.

Should You Establish a Focus Group?

Earlier we talked about how your PMO can make the most of focus groups (making-focus-groups-work-for-you) and (What Focus Groups Can’t Do), but it’s important to remember that a focus group may not be right for every project. Situations will vary, but below are some guidelines to help you determine if a focus group is likely to help or hinder your progress.

Continue reading Should You Establish a Focus Group?

From Recession to Ramp Up | A Project Management Case Study

PROJECT SUMMARY:

PMAlliance was asked to provide project management consulting support for a major manufacturing company who was undertaking the largest Supply Chain ramp-up and re-alignment project in its history.  This project involved several divisions, five general managers, 15 functional organizations, 50+ external suppliers, and 120+ team members who were from multiple worldwide locations.  In addition, the deadline date was aggressive and there were many logistical uncertainties that made integrating the different work streams very difficult.  Finally, the cost for late delivery was over $500,000/day.  PMAlliance was brought in to facilitate the development and control of an integrated project management plan.  This case study discusses how our Duration-Driven methodology approach, consulting support, and proprietary web-update and diagnostic tools helped our client meet their project deadline and objectives.

Continue reading From Recession to Ramp Up | A Project Management Case Study

Ready, Set, Delegate!

We’ve already covered the basics of delegation methodology (DELEGATION 101) and (5 SIGNS YOU AREN’T DELEGATING ENOUGH), but what if you’re still feeling swamped and just need to get on with it? Below is a quick-start guide to help you pick the right tasks to delegate, the right people to take them on, and how to ensure your delegation plan works as expected.

Continue reading Ready, Set, Delegate!

6 Strategies for Dealing with Nightmare End Users

We’ve already talked about a few flavors of nightmare end users (Nightmare End Users) and ( LEARN TO SPOT THESE 4 NIGHTMARE STAKEHOLDERS) now it’s time to look at some ways you can manage their behavior to keep your project moving forward.

Continue reading 6 Strategies for Dealing with Nightmare End Users

5 Signs You Aren’t Delegating Enough

In an earlier post (DELEGATION 101) and (READY, SET, DELEGATE!) we covered some delegation basics, including how and why to assign tasks to others in your group and what to keep for yourself. Now let’s look at five common signs that you still aren’t delegating enough.

Continue reading 5 Signs You Aren’t Delegating Enough

Be a Better Communicator

Good communication is the foundation that keeps your project management team moving forward. But as our communication options expand, our ability to match the method to the need sometimes becomes fuzzy. Here we’ve outlined the top 3 communication methods, along with dos and don’ts for each.

Continue reading Be a Better Communicator

4 Disaster Planning Tips for Your PMO

This is the time of year when organizations typically start thinking about how operations will continue during small-scale work stoppages—those caused by events such as snow, urban flooding, and power outages. Use these simple tips to help your project management consulting team maintain continuity and stay on track.

Continue reading 4 Disaster Planning Tips for Your PMO

PROJECT MANAGEMENT DOCUMENTATION TIPS: CLEAR, CONCISE & RELEVANT

Project documentation proliferates at a startling pace. Before you know it, your current project’s files are stuffed, you have a stack of documentation boxes to prepare for storage, or you’re stuck sifting through thick folders from past projects in search of important information.

Before the amount of documentation flowing amongst team members and stakeholders becomes overwhelming, make an effort to rein it in with some thoughtful planning and ruthless editing. Consider employing the following guidelines to help trim your documents to a more manageable level, and enjoy increased efficiency now and later.

#1 – Clear

When composing documents, state the information you want to convey as plainly and simply as possible. If you’re announcing bad news, don’t dress it up – just say it. Changes to the team’s structure, schedule modifications, budget issues, updated stakeholder expectations and a host of other topics can be sensitive and uncomfortable, but resist the urge to be vague or evasive. Everyone involved with your projects needs to clearly understand the lay of the land, even if it isn’t pleasant. If you’re still waiting for additional information or if data is pending, plainly delineate what you know and what you don’t. Ensuring your team is operating under a common set of information is a critical concern.

#2 – Concise

The simplest way to remember this rule is this: say what you need to say, and then stop. But beware, it’s often harder than it sounds. With the exception of timelines, budgets and a few other items, you shouldn’t be rehashing old news. If information has already been disseminated, strongly consider if it needs restating before including it again. Rather than releasing the same information multiple times, maintain a single set of always-current baseline or reference documents, such as master budgets, schedules and contact lists. As much as possible, stick to a single topic (or set of related topics) per communication. This reduces documentation while also allowing for more finely-tuned distribution.

#3 – Relevant

Including potentially irrelevant or off-topic information in your documents may prompt readers to place your document in the bottomless “read later” pile, or simply file it without more than a cursory glance. Not only does this add to your overall documentation load, it also increases the likelihood that truly important information will be missed. Unless information is vital to your team’s ability to successfully execute your project, or to your stakeholders’ need for ongoing project updates and information, don’t include it.

By applying these guidelines to every document associated with your project, you’ll help cut down on time spent creating and assimilating documents, without compromising the quality or timeliness of your team’s information flow. You stand to gain efficiency in several areas:

During the project – Instead of reading through e-mails that don’t affect you, memos that cover information you received previously, and meeting notes comprised of agenda items both project-related and pertaining to other topics, your team will appreciate receiving exactly the information they need, when they need it, and little else. It’s a way to save time for everyone involved.

After the project – When preparing documents for archival, your commitment to following these guidelines will have a clear pay-off. You’ll have less documentation to archive, and less work to make everything ready for long-term storage.

Preparing for the next project – reviewing documentation from previous projects is enormously helpful when working to identify key players, refreshing your memory about past vendors, and comparing scope against earlier cost metrics. If you’re conditioned to shuffle through a lot of papers before finding what you need, you’ll appreciate the more streamlined process facilitated by the use of these guidelines.

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

De-stress: Make the Most of Your Vacation

Vacations are sometimes hampered by a frantic lead-up in the days before, by trying to accomplish too much while you’re supposed to be relaxing, and by feeling like you’re overwhelmed as soon as you return to the office. Thoughtful preparation and a plan for your return can help lower the stress level of your next vacation.

Continue reading De-stress: Make the Most of Your Vacation

Too Much Sisyphus in Your PMO?

Many project management consulting veterans have experienced the frustration caused by the sometimes Sisyphean task of maintaining an experienced and motivated team within their PMO. A legendary king from Greek mythology, Sisyphus was crafty and self-serving. Continue reading Too Much Sisyphus in Your PMO?