Project management training – identify the key players

Who goes on to training courses in your company? Is it those who want to go in order to develop their skills? Is it those who are identified as needing training or is there no overall approach to selecting individuals?

Training is expensive! The payoff from it can be many times the cost however I wonder how many companies take a real look at their project management training courses and the return they are getting.

Who attends your project management training courses?

One of the key aspects is the decision – who goes on project management training courses. Too frequently, on Project Agency courses  we see people who are either not involved in running or working on projects and nor will they be in the foreseeable future.

Project management training needs to be targeted and here is my suggestion how this should be done:

Stage 1: Identify all the key strategic projects – a job for the project office? This will ensure you have one overarching list of projects

Stage 2: Identify who fulfils which roles in the project. Who is the project manager, who is the sponsor etc.

Stage 3: Ensure there are courses in place  for all groups and target them for the training. This targeting should include senior managers and those who sit on project boards

How long do key people need to wait to attend a project management course?

This approach ensures that key company projects are staffed by those who are trained. Too often, we meet people running projects who have had no project training. Some who have attended courses have made comments such as “I have been waiting for 18 months to get onto this course.” Their place has been ‘taken’ by someone who is not involved in projects and is unlikely to be involved.

When training course selection is like this what’s the rate of return on the initial investment?

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7 Responses to Project management training – identify the key players

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Project management training – identify the key players | Project Management Training with Ron Rosenhead --

  2. Sara says:

    Hi Ron,
    I find this article very helpful. Identify the key players is very important and it’s the first step and difficult one.
    My experience shows me that it can be very strategic for projects success. But the second step which is very hard, it’s to convince those key players to accept a course on their job. I mean that some people who are involved in a project think that they don’t need a course.
    Do you have some advices to reduce this difficulty ?

    • Thanks Sara for the response.

      You are right of course. Getting senior managers and some project managers onto a training course is a real challenge. I think the place to start is simply getting a groundswell of opinions that the training delivered is good and it makes a difference. Part of this is to get participants to ask questions; easy questions, tough questions; dumb questions. Any question type will do as long as it engages people more senior to the person!

      This actually happened this week. I ran a course for a client on Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday I received a call saying that people were asking questions which were engaging senior managers. We are running a series of programmes with the client and one of my objectives is to get participants to engage with others in the business. In addition, I use two other elements:

      *a questionnaire that gives feedback about people’s perception of senior managers involvement in projects
      *car park – effectively a flipchart that records what people feel about the introduction of project management across the business

      What usually comes up is the lack of involvement of sponsors and senior managers generally which I feed back into the company and this is raised with senior managers through the appropriate channels.

      It is NOt easy, far from it and I wish I had a magic answer.

      The final thing to add is that if the entry point into a company is high, executive level, getting thier collegues trained does make a difference.

      Hope this helps and thanks.

      Ron Rosenhead

  3. Sara says:

    Hi Ron,
    Thank you for your answer which is very interesting for me. I was facing this problem this year and one of the senior manager didn’t come on the last day because he thought that it’s not good for him. I was really disappointed but at this moment I had no answer like yours so I will try in my future to apply it.

    Have a nice WE


    • Thanks Sarah. This is an aspect that requires a strong project sponsor, something I did not cover in your early comment. What I mean be this is that introducing a project management culture into a company is not straightforward – it is a change management strategy. Clearly I do not know the situation in the company you were working in; however someone senior should be doing what is often called the championing; encouraging people to attend project courses, selling its benefits, visiting those who do not attend and inviting you in to brief them.

      I have also had issues and problems such as the one you describe. It’s not easy but it helps when there is someone senior who is championing project management.

      Thanks again

  4. Hi Ron,

    Maybe one of the staff who does attend training during the year (preferably higher-level staff member) could take a half-day and show the executives what he/she learned during that training. This should be someone who is a good speaker/communicator and someone who knows the interests of senior executives very well, so he/she could communicate to them things of interest that would encourage them to pursue their own training.

    • Great great idea Laura. I have suggested this many times and I do know of people who have gone back and done exactly as you suggest. I also suggest that if each person speaks to at least 2 people about the course and the key aspects that can be used in projects then we are not training say 12 people but 36!

      Appreciate the comments Laura.

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