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Three ways to enhance the value of project management training

Training in the fundamentals and practice of project management, whether it is based on PRINCE2®, Agile, or the professional ‘Bodies of Knowledge’, is a proven step towards building effective project delivery capabilities. However, as training is also a serious investment, it makes sense to consider ways to enhance its impact. Here are three tried and tested training add-ons that may help to add value:

Align the language

Every variant of project management method has its own unique vocabulary. In the same respect, every organisation also has its own unique set of management and operating terms. As no standard method will ever fully align with the terms already used in an organisation, the potential for confusion is high, which may lead to expensive misunderstandings.

Many of these problems can be avoided by mapping a method’s terms against the organisation’s day-to-day terminology, before training begins. Doing so gives the trainer the ability to explain each new concept along with any ‘local’ terms that could aid understanding. It also provides a basis for creating new processes and procedures that will ultimately integrate project management methods into the organisation.

Post-exam scenario day

Post-training reviews often highlight a perceived ‘gap’ between gaining knowledge and applying it in practice. As most project management professional courses involve a few days of intensive learning, leading up to an externally set and administered exam, there is often little room for discussing and understanding the real-world application of what is being discussed.

The answer for many organisations has been to add a ‘scenario day’ after the exams are complete, but before the team departs. A scenario day is a facilitated workshop based on a simple real-world scenario that everyone in the room can understand and relate to.  It enables a team of trainees to discuss and apply their new knowledge in a project based context, introducing any processes, procedures, and tools that the organisation has already put in place.

Measure training impact

Training is an investment, and like all investments there will be an expectation from senior management to show a return. Although demonstrating a return on training may not be as straightforward as other forms of investment appraisal, its impact can be analysed and understood by assessing the perceived competence of trained individuals before and after a training event.

The simplest way to do this is by using a competence assessment tool to understand each candidate’s competence improvement, through self-assessment, or additional expert analysis.

All three of these elements can help you to enhance the value of your project management training.