The definitive guide of who should go on a project management course

Project Agency runs project management courses for many different organisations and it never ceases to amaze me that people who come along to one of our courses do not know why they are on the course or they are wondering when they will pick up their first project.

Are these people on the right course?

Recently, I had two people on the course who asked me at the morning coffee break whether they could go from the course. I was surprised and discussed it with them. It turns out they are on the periphery of project management. One has been involved in project management some months ago however her boss had moved on and she was no longer involved. The other was not at all clear why she was with us. However, several of the people who were on the course clearly needed it, had been waiting quite a number of months and they had to wait for several courses before they could attend – course blockers? (See below)

Training is expensive so companies need to maximise training spend. There needs to be a real return on the (training) investment for the company so the right people need to be sent on the right course. So, here’s the definitive guide to help you, your colleagues and your company decide who should attend project management courses. Let me know of any I have missed off!

  1. Make a list of all the projects underway identifying the project sponsor and the project manager alongside the project team. These are high priority people for project management training. Why not target them as the priority ensuring there are no course blockers (see above)
  2. Those who will soon be project sponsors or project managers – these are people who you or the company have identified need some training to take on board a new project
  3. Those identified via the company appraisal scheme – but please ensure that this is a must have piece of training rather than a nice to have. In other words, will the person who has been nominated for the training be involved in the delivery of a project? If yes great. If no, low priority (See next point)
  4. I have been told by many people who come onto project management courses (and recruiters) that attending a project management course can help your career – it’s good on the CV. I have had many people on the course who see the course as a possible passport to the next job – usually out of the company! Are these people who should come along to a course? Possibly, but not at the expense of those in groups 1-2. I am in favour of personal development but priorities need to be set.

Some interesting points come out from this:

  • course blockers – someone in the company needs to take a corporate look at who is coming onto the course and ensure priority targets are trained first
  • training does not just take place in the training room. There needs to be a thorough briefing pre course with a post course meeting to identify what can be applied when the person returns to work
  • ROI (return on investment) – does anyone measure the ROI for people attending training? If people are attending for personal development reasons this becomes more difficult to measure. However, be aware that some of those attending our courses measure ROI as being out of the company in 6 months!

Training is expensive so we need to ensure that companies make the most of their investment. My personal view is that training could be more targeted and the ROI would be much greater.

Targeted training = focussing on real business needs = less courses = less expense = the right people trained = better ROI