No, I am not surprised that it works but I want to shout it long and loud.
I have been running practical tried and tested project management training courses for many many years. These range from half day overview sessions to much longer events. Some are based on the client’s in-house project management system, others our own methodology which works very well.
Recently, I ran what I call a split course. This was a two day course split with day two being held two weeks after day one. To create a link between day one and day two I asked participants to apply some of the learning from the course to actual projects. The results were really positive;
- many tried writing a project initiation document (PID) They found it difficult but also realised that without having such a document the project became questionable
- one person needed to get some clarity over project roles. He was not sure what roles he and others played in the project. He and his immediate manager identified who fits which roles and he as project manager worked with the rest of the team and sponsor ensuring the roles were actually carried out
- two people developed a stakeholder map for their project. One person identified a clear problem with a small group of staff possibly blocking project progress. She developed a communications and influencing approach to bring them ‘on board’
- one person worked on developing a business case for their project. They realised just how difficulty it was but also just how important it is for the project. They wrote it, rewrote it and it is waiting submission. One person did point out that from her experience to get sign off you would often need to go through several iterations of the business case (or any other project management template)
The course participants felt much more confident at dealing with real project issues via the practical split course approach.
What was very interesting was that quite independently I have had feedback from a couple of people who have been on certificated project management training courses. They commented that the practical nature of our training made it much easier to not only understand but apply. I have received this feedback before and when I questioned those who gave it, they said that the certificated events were too book based and focussed on passing exams! They felt that they could not use much of the certificated course because it was so impractical. I have spoken with many people on the telephone who support this last statement.
I am not suggesting that certificated events are no good, far from it. However, feedback suggests that people prefer practical project management events and the two day approach fits that bill.
So the moral of this tale; get yourself onto practical event and help deliver those strategic projects.