Formal Project Management Training – how important is it?

 

During my time as a Project Management Consultant, several clients have approached me about the value of doing formal project management training.

Training can be of immense value, but I do ask people to really think about what they are hoping to achieve, to ensure they get the best results for their staff.

For example,  I personally believe that if a company is using a software package such as Microsoft Project to maintain project plans and review key milestones, then training for this kind of software is essential.  I have in my career seen some plans that leave a lot to be desired and can create more work and confusion if not used properly.  So I always recommend some training in project planning software before embarking on any planning activities.  However I recommend that project management training for burgeoning project managers would be of more value once they have started to manage a project or two.. indeed (i) the questions students come up with would be more relevant and (ii) this would enable them to apply any learnings directly to situations that arise during their working day. In fact I have found using an experienced Business Management trainer with a good solid knowledge of project management is a good starting point to introduce people to project management skills and then in a year or so, those students who have really embraced running projects and all the challenges they bring, might be in a position to gain some accreditation by sitting a Prince 2 or PMI examination.

The next point I usually make is that whilst there are some great training packages out there, be mindful of what training they provide. Alot of these training approaches, tell you what to do as a Project Manager, but not how. So for example, Prince 2 will tell you that you need to manage risk, and gives some guidance on how to does this, but doesn’t go into great detail… so other management tools may need to be approached to address this. This is where I have provided support by providing some tools and templates to project team members on, for example,  how to perform a risk analysis for a key project without spending days analysing the results!  And how to best present these data to key stakeholders and senior management.

However for the experienced project manager, passing an exam in formal project management training is a great way to be able to demonstrate their standard of learning and ability,  and certainly now, more and more companies are looking for Project Managers with experience that can be demonstrated by having achieved a Prince 2 or PMI certificate. Customers are also keen that project management services provided by technical service providers (e.g. drug manufacturers) are properly resourced and that project managers are suitably experienced.

So the answer is Yes!  Project Management training is very important!  And my recommendation is that you tailor the training to your employee needs, rather than trying a one size fits all approach.

  

If you need any advice on project management training, please contact Hanna at Dickenson Consulting Ltd.

 

 

 

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By Dr Hanna Dickenson

Managing Director of Dickenson Consulting Ltd.
Biopharmaceutical/Pharmaceutical Project Management & Outsourcing/Contractor Management

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