Developing your project skills beyond training courses

I have run many project management training courses and my company Project Agency runs many such events each year. However, does the training itself really develop project management skills?

I spoke recently to a client and said that while project management training will help support delivery of projects the company needs to go beyond a 2 day project management course and support the individual still further. They were intrigued and asked what else could they do? This is what I said:

  1. After the project management course, give them a mentor (preferably someone trained as a mentor) who has expertise in project management and management generally.
  2. Shadowing an experienced project manager with regular reviews pulling out learning for the ‘trainee’ project manager
  3. Coaching – we have coached many people (after they have been on a project management training course) and the end result has been a much stronger development process. This should not simply be a one off but a proper coaching programme based on a real project and developing real skills
  4. Forming a project management community – developing people’s skills can be done on-line through archiving reference materials (completed project management templates for example). I would also suggest developing the community by having speakers that come along on a lunch time and address a group of project managers – video these and place them on the intranet
  5. Appraisal – set stretching performance management targets based on a project. Maybe it is delivery of a stage or a large task. Effective feedback needs to be built into the overall process and should be done on a regular basis (every 2 or 3 months)
  6. Let them have a go! People learn by doing however a mix of 1-4 will really help someone develop project management skills
  7. Reading – a great way to learn however not everyone’s preferred learning style; this can include internal or external case studies blogs etc
  8. E-courses – there are a wide range of learning in the market place – this can support the individual especially with a modular approach

As I said to our client, project management training can help develop skills however it is an incremental process which needs managing and some of the above points will help this.

Those are my ideas. What about yours?

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2 Responses to Developing your project skills beyond training courses

  1. Claudia Villanvoa says:

    Dead on. Training is a good jumping point, but without actually using the information it can become a mute point.

    I agree with educating the client beforehand on what to expect: yes training is a great idea to get your employees on the same level, no it will not necessarily be the only thing required to produce effective project planning.

    Training is a great building block – rather than the end all.

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