Who should attend project management training?

I must get at least 3 calls per months where the conversation moves from can you run a project management course to the  above issue.

Needs are being identified and courses set up (qualification or non qualification) and people put their names forward (sometimes via their manager) to attend the courses. What could be simpler?

My concern is with this process. It does not take into account organisational needs. Now, I always say and will continue to say individual needs are fine however companies should be targeting those people who are working on key projects.  The training of these people must come first. If and when this training has been completed and there is a budget then let’s take into account people’s personal development needs.

The latest conversation exemplifies this. The potential client wanted to run some one day project management overview courses. They put the course onto their timetable and have been inundated with requests; too many for the budget. They asked me what they should do. I asked a few questions and it became apparent that there was no prioritisation at all. This is what I suggested.

Stage 1: Identify and agree the key projects for the business (creating a project register). In some cases these are easy to identify however in others the sheer morass of projects becomes complex.  If there is no link back to the overall strategy then the project is automatically low priority.

Stage 2: Identify who is the sponsor, project manager who are the project team members for each project. I suggested drawing up a simple grid – see below. This has the benefit of putting names to roles. Please note that I have included project sponsor and project board member training – two areas where development needs are often ignored

By focussing development activity on key projects you can impact the overall strategy in a positive way.

By focussing development activity on key projects you can impact the overall strategy in a positive way.

Stage 3: Focus your training on those involved in the key roles- this will help you to really target delivery of your strategic projects.

In ‘The High Cost of Low Performance’ PMI pointed out high performing organisations are twice as likely to have high alignment of projects to organisational strategy. They also have twice as many successful strategic initiatives.  Thus, by focussing on project management training of those involved in strategic projects, you can impact delivery, in a positive way.

Whether you use some qualification training or not to meet this need is another issue. The described process will help identify development needs (including refresher training), identify priorities and support delivery your key strategies.

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