The PMO should prepare a plan that will guide delivery of training in the project management environment. The training plan will identify what training courses are available, as may be required or optional for different participants, and include the course presentation schedule, location, and assigned instructor. Also, the training plan should include an outline or description of each course offering, the recommended audience, the applicability in the project management and business environments, and any personal qualification or achievement awarded upon successful completion. Each course description should identify the internal or external training resource responsible for course delivery and the means to contact them. The training plan also should include the process by which individuals can register to attend the project management course.
In particular, the PMO should examine options and develop the training plan to identify the different training program structures available to participants in the relevant organization. This includes consideration of the following standard training program categories:
■ Core project management courses. Identify the several essential project management courses that are recommended or required for all project managers and, possibly, for project team members. Specify any preferred presentation order for course attendance, and indicate any certificate associated with completion of each course and the overall curriculum.
■ Advanced and optional project management courses. Identify the several project management courses that will be available to those individuals who have completed the core curriculum and to those who need advanced or specialized training otherwise not covered by the core curriculum. This also may include training in use of project management tools and project management methodology user training.
■ Technical courses. Identify the courses designed to support technical work activities associated with project efforts. This also may include any just-in-time training that satisfies business interests or provides technical qualification.
■ Professional development courses. The extent of PMO authority and the nature of individual assignments to the project management environment may prompt consideration for including professional development courses in the project management training plan. This inclusion may be the primary means for staff members to review and select professional development training provided by the relevant organization. These courses should include training that helps develop individual business skills and knowledge.
■ Executive courses and workshops. Identify those project management courses, workshops, seminars, and forums that are applicable to senior management involvement in and understanding of the project management environment. This category of training should include at least one course or workshop that enables executives and senior managers to quickly gain familiarization with the modern project management concepts and practices being implemented by the PMO.
The PMO can collaborate with the internal or external training resources to obtain training course descriptions and other training plan content. In some cases, it can also use the training resource to lead training plan preparation activities.
Training course selection and development is an activity that should be performed in conjunction with the preparation of the training plan. The training plan can be finalized when all course selection and development decisions have been made. To accomplish training course development, the PMO will likely need to work with internal or external training resources to identify requirements, collaborate training course development solutions, and review and approve customized course material. A review of each preferred course is necessary to determine if it will be presented using its current format and content, if it is to be customized to meet the specific needs of the project management environment, or if it requires a design and construction effort for it to be presented as a new course.
First, the PMO will need to consider and plan the format and content for training course delivery. This includes the activities conducted to select methods of course delivery from among the following prevalent types:
■ Instructor-led classroom training. This is the traditional approach to training that facilitates interaction among participants and promotes their discussion and exchange of ideas in a classroom setting. It allows for the use of various instructor-led, adult learning techniques (e.g., lecture, discussion, facilitated exercises, etc.). This is generally recognized as a quick method for the completion of training.
■ Instructor-led e-learning. This is the traditional method of classroom instruction translated for online access via the Internet. Normally, this type of e-learning experience represents a combination of independent participant coursework combined with ongoing real-time availability of a qualified instructor to conduct discussions as well as to respond to student inquiries, and to make points of clarification, normally through use of e-mail or telephone contact.
■ Standard e-learning. This method represents the use of training courses that are accessed online via the Internet. Course content will take participants through a series of learning objectives using audio-visual presentations. This method may or may not include indirect e-mail access to an assigned instructor.
■ CD-ROM-based instruction. The use of the CD-ROM approach to training represents independent performance of training steps that generally result in the achievement of learning objectives for the participant. This method allows for presentation of project management topics that participants can pursue at their own pace. It generally does not provide interaction with a qualified instructor for questions and inquiries, and is valuable in locations where e-learning via an Internet connection is not readily available.
Once the preferred format of instruction has been identified, the PMO can deliberate and decide on actual training course development that is needed. Not all instructional delivery formats lend themselves to customization and modification. However, most external training resources can adapt instructor-led classroom training to satisfy individual customer needs by incorporating an awareness of business processes and practices in the relevant organization.
In particular, the PMO will need to examine course development options from a time and cost perspective. The following are three primary training program selection options for the PMO to consider:
1. As-is course format. The PMO acquires the training program more or less off-the-shelf from the internal or external training resource. It is ready for use, as is, and it can be scheduled for delivery and then presented upon achieving sufficient participant registration.
2. Course customization. The PMO should understand that significant modification of training course materials is a process that may be as time-consuming and costly as new course development. However, minor modifications (e.g., simple content additions and deletions) may not have an excessive impact on time and cost. The PMO will have to evaluate its need for integrating current project management practices, technical concepts, and organizational policies into such training, and determine if that warrants the added cost.
3. New course development. The PMO is making a significant business investment in deciding upon or recommending the new-course development option. A quality three- to five-day course will generally take months to design and develop the concepts and content. Then there is additional time required for testing, post-test revisions, and preparation of any associated handouts and training aids. The costs of such an effort are a distinct budget item.
For the most part, there are many excellent project management curricula in the marketplace today, and the PMO should consider this as a first option if training is not otherwise obtained from internal training resources. Likewise, the PMO has inherent interest in providing training for immediate application in the workplace. Only as-is and minor customization course development options provide timely solutions to pressing project management needs. Major customization and new course development should be a part of longer-term strategic plans for the relevant organization.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.