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Project Management Programme….help!


My company undertakes a lot of projects and so we are implemeting a project managment process so that everyone follows the same process.

To embed this we have been asked to design and pliot a 2 day training course for potential project managers to cover of the methodoloy on the first day and then impliment this into a practical exercise on the second day.

Does anyone have any material or suggestions as to how I can add the "wow" factor to a relativly dull subject (well for me anyway!)
Scott Cullen

5 Responses

  1. take a blended approach
    Hi Scott
    I’ve done this with a number of clients where the potential project managers aren’t IT specialists on 9 year, 7 £billion projects, but folk who have day jobs and so find the actual project management stuff a bit out-of-area; the key has been to take a blended approach;
    1. Turn your current documentation into a Project Management Handbook that is either on-screen or pocket sized (depending on your budget and time frames), make this as user friendly and dip-able as you can (the subject isn’t dry if you can fill it with anecdotal evidence for doing or not doing things, eg examples of what has gone wrong when no risk assessment was done, or examples of what goes wrong if you don’t have a formal change process, the horrors of scope creep, what a sponsor can do for a project and so on)
    2. Get delegates to complete a pre course think-list with reference to the Handbook (questions such as “Give an example of an OSINTOT from your work experience…..” or “What people problems have you witnessed as a result of a failure to have a communication plan in place?”)

    3. Have your training course as a facilitated share and discuss event rather than a chalk and talk event, this way everyone will have digested the content in advance and the training days can be spent in clarifying the “what ifs” and practicing the tools. As regards the latter I have found great benefit in using a cookbook to get the delegates to actually create a task list and a gantt chart for the “project”. This way they all have a common knowledge to start with and it illustrates the points without getting blinded by science.

    Finally, if YOU think it is a dull subject, for heavens sake get someone else to deliver it! 😉

    I hope this helps, feel free to get in touch if you want to talk more

  2. Stop & Get Help
    Sorry to be harsh, but you made two very questionable assumptions

    1 – you should teach the methodology on day 1 and have an exercise on day 2

    2 – project management is a dull subject.

    I’ve been designing project management courses for nearly 9 years and would not agree with either of your assumptions.

    You should commission a professional in course development to avoid the upcoming train wreck that will occur if you proceed in your current direction.

    One of the project management bodies would be a good place to start seeking such a person.

  3. Project Management Training Materials
    Hi Scott

    You can try to mix the subjects on tools used for project management with other necessary skills such as emotional intelligence. There are many lively exercise that can then be mixed with the course which keeps the delegates entertained but also informed and educated.

    We have used similar approaches in our project management courses before. You can obtain project management training materials and use them in the context of your own training intervention.

    I hope this helps.

  4. Focus on Skills
    You need to review the new project management process document, and identify the skills/behaviours called for on the part of project managers. Use the formula: ‘Must be able to …’ in compiling your list of skills/behaviours.

    For Day 1, use the time to review with participants what skills/behaviours will be required in future, and design an activity around each major skill or group of skills. E.g. you might have an activity around setting project standards using the SMART model*. You might have an activity around how to implement those standards as the project progresses, using a standards checklist. And so on.


    For Day 2, bring all of that together in a simulation exercise. Set up one or more ‘live’ projects using a minimum size group of (say) 10 participants per project, and let each project compete with the others to produce the best solution. Make it fun, and make it exciting. And above all, make it relevant to the skills you reviewed on Day 1.

    One suggestion that could form the basis for the Day 2 ‘live’ projects might be to use real money, and get them to make a real profit. Try the Dragon’s Den idea of asking each project group to make as much as they can from £10. Or try getting them to plan and organise a boot sale, using items they have brought to the course. Then build this into an inter-group competition.

    Project management is fun, challenging and exciting, and its skills need to be taught in a fun, challenging and exciting way. So use your imagination, just as a good project manager would have to do.

    Good Luck!

  5. Firstly apologies for any offence taken regarding my “tongue-in-cheek” comments concerning this topic.

    Rus, Ehsan, Robin – thanks for your comments and workable pointers and suggestions – will take them all onboard and discuss with the rest of the team.

    James – I am not too clear on your point concerning the two day approach that we have been asked to provide. Are you suggesting that this is not enough time to cover the proposed content? If you wouldn’t mind emailing me [email protected] with your thoughts regarding this point. Unfortunately we are not in a position to commission out this work.

    On a further point I think James’s comments raises a valid point, of how do we deal with requests from our business to create material where we are not the subject matter expect and cannot out source this to them – do we research material and put together a course or push back? – comments welcome


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