October 17, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Growth Program for New Project Managers to Help Close the Talent Gap

By Linky van der Merwe

Growth Program for new Project ManagersImagine living in a world where there are 66 million jobs with a growing demand of 2.2 million per year that have to be filled? These jobs require people to implement strategic initiatives, drive change and deliver innovation. Unfortunately, there’s a huge shortage, or talent gap as it’s called, to fill these roles which could result in in a potential loss of some US $207.9 billion in GDP through 2027 for 11 countries that were analyzed.

This is according to the “Job growth and talent gap 2017 – 2027” Report from the Project Management Institute (PMI) published in 2017, based on an assessment of project management employment and industry activity by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG).

Basically it states that there’s a widening gap between employers’ need for skilled project management workers and the availability of professionals to fill those roles.

Talent Gap

These are huge numbers caused by different factors like:

  • A dramatic increase in the number of jobs requiring project-oriented skills.
  • Attrition rates, including professionals retiring from the workforce.
  • A significant uptick in demand for project talent, especially in rapidly developing economies such as China and India.

This has resulted in an imperative to encourage more talent to enter the profession and narrow the talent gap.

With this motivation in mind, I want to introduce you to the Fast-track Growth Program for new Project Managers. It’s an online training program that will help transform an inexperienced project manager who really wants to do well on projects or your typical “Accidental Project Manager”, into a competent, confident and credible Project Manager.

We all know that project managers will face many challenges. That includes handling difficult team members, satisfying demanding customers and working towards impossible deadlines. We want more project managers to succeed and fewer projects to fail. To address the huge demand for skilled talent, we need motivated, independent and professional project managers who are willing to make mistakes, learn from them and still continue to deliver successful projects to the best of their abilities.

To assist new project managers on their journey, the Growth Program will fast-track and ease that transition into project management.

Here’s feedback from a few students who have completed the Growth Program.

Case Study 1

Mark works in the Retail Sector and was assigned to me for mentoring. After years of working as a Systems Manager, he was asked to manage a big project due to his experience and background knowledge of the product. The only problem was that he lacked project management experience and he had no prior training.

He was very motivated to learn fast and I invited him to join the Growth Program for new project managers. This was his feedback:

The Growth Program taught me about soft skills and what my individual strengths are. The biggest benefit for me was that the Program really embodies the framework of project management and gave me valuable insight and a plan for future growth as a professional PM”

Since completing the Growth Program, he has become clear about the responsibilities of his new role, he knows where to start, what his next steps are, what additional training he requires and most importantly, how to plan his PM career. He gained much confidence and like other new PM’s I mentored, he has become very independent and mature in managing projects.

Case Study 2

Harshiela comes from a Change Management background and having worked on many projects before, she wanted to transition into the project management role.

She completed the Growth Program and had the following results.

“The Growth Program gave me confidence that I have the core knowledge and skills and ways of working that is required in a PM role. The training program highlighted my technical gaps which are development areas that I can fast track while making the transition from a Change Manager to a Project Manager.

I recommend the Growth Program based on the holistic approach looking at the technical skills, soft skills and competencies required. It also provided me with further learning and career options – it really gives the whole picture for someone starting out in the PM profession.”

Case Study 3

Roelof, a senior professional with a MBA degree, was new to project management and needed coaching. He worked through the Growth Program Training Modules and asked me questions during coaching calls.

It taught him the essential technical project management skills needed, the soft skills required, the importance of Governance to be an effective project manager, as well as the main pitfalls to avoid as a new PM. He walked away with a customised Personal Growth and Development Plan that he could execute in his own time with the confidence of having a clear direction and enough reference material to use daily in his role as a PM or Programme Manager.

Virtual Project Consulting

As the founder of Virtual Project Consulting, it has always been part of my mission to help aspiring and existing project managers. One of the responsibilities I was given in a new Programme Manager role in 2014, was to mentor and coach the organisation’s new project managers.

Fast-track growth programFrom working with many new and accidental project managers, I understand their needs, the challenges they face and their desire to become effective in their new roles quickly. Hence the birth of the “Fast-track Growth Program for New Project Managers.

It’s a self-paced online training program, or with the option of Small Group Coaching Support that will help students grow critical project management competencies, teach them how to overcome their biggest challenges on projects and increase their confidence and impact in the workplace.

If you fall into the category of an ‘Accidental Project Manager’ or you know some-one who does, please refer them and enroll today as the next Growth Program with Group Support will start in October 2017!

Discover the Basic Principles of Project Management Training

PM training principlesBy Knowledge Hut

In the complex world we live in today, project management training needs to teach the discipline of planning, organising, managing, securing and controlling of resources in order to lead them to achieve strategic organisational goals.

There are certain definitive processes taught in project management training covering how to:

  • Define the project
  • Plan the project
  • Monitor and control the execution of the project
  • Complete and close the project

What are the objectives of project management training?

Project management training focuses on the implementation of management methods and tools that have realistically been in action in several industries for ages. The objective of any project management course should be to teach how to achieve project goals within the constraints of time, budget, quality, benefit realization, customer satisfaction and more. Other objectives are:

  • To work with the team members, customers, management and project sponsors to deliver according to the agreed project plan
  • How to apply the normal project standards
  • How to use project management to increase productivity, cut development costs and improve communications.
  • To differentiate and understand the art and science of project management skills including technical skills (e.g. scope, quality and communications management) as well as soft skills like leadership.

Basic principles of project management training

For the proper completion of any project, there is a set of basic principles to follow which should be covered in any good project management training. This will include:

  • A clear definition of the undertaken project

The definition phase is the stage where proper engagement needs to take place with identified stakeholders. This will set the stage for the entire scope of the project.

  • Maintain the structure of the project

Project management foundation training disciplines students on three basic parameters: quality, time and resources. The structure of any project should abide by these three parameters to derive optimum results in minimum time.

The structure should consist of the necessary project goals, milestones and work packages with assigned resources. Project milestones are crucial as they help to monitor progress and costs. Milestones are defined as a certain point in time, for example the end of a phase of the project. Often payments are attached to milestones achieved.

  • Maintaining project status transparency

Project status will include feedback on milestones, progress against the timeline and deliverables, risks and the health of a project. it is recommended for project manages to make the project status transparent to management, by updating them on all the overall health, risks, issues and task progress as well as decisions required.

  • Identify and evaluate potential risks

When you plan a project, it’s important to identify and evaluate potential risks and threats that could impact the project if not mitigated and responded to appropriately. In project management training, students learn to recognise the risks developing from the constraints of costs, project resources, and timeline, and how to prioritise them.

All the principles and objectives above are taught in a project management training environment to setup students for project success. The project success criteria are generally defined prior to the initiation of the work. In addition to the listed principles, the training requires candidates to recognise and adopt the leadership roles and responsibilities which are mandatory for a successful project manager.

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KnowledgeHut offers over 120+ professional certification courses across industries to helps professionals get an competitive edge and boost productivity. KnowledgeHut is an industry-leading knowledge training company for individuals and corporate offices, operating across 70 countries and 6 continents.

Click here for what is on offer for project management training. 

Looking for a Project Management Training Service Provider?

Review Article

Training with KnowledgeHut

In the dynamic world we live in today, learning policies within organisations are evolving at rapid speed in response to emerging technologies. Traditional, formal and scheduled training methods have given way to more informal and on-demand forms of learning, with an increasing accent on blended and e-learning delivery modes. Continuous training and collaboration helps organizations stay at the cutting-edge of change.

Global Training Provider

KnowledgeHut is a Global leader in online and classroom training for on-demand certifications like PMP, PMI-ACP, MS Project, PRINCE2 and more. As an industry-leading training company operating across 70 countries and 6 continents, their courses are aimed at delivering measurable improvements in business performance and productivity. Training is delivered across the US, Canada , Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, APAC and SE Asia.

Training with KnowledgeHut

Agile and Scrum training in Sydney on 1st February’17

Professionals who have completed their courses are equipped with state-of-the-art knowledge and technical skills that enable them to stay at the forefront of their careers.

KnowledgeHut works with the Global Blended Model of Approach (GBMA), an effective method that makes training and learning easier for individuals and organizations in the industry. This methodology works through a blend of extensive online training in tandem with traditional classroom based learning. Participants have consistently achieved positive training results, with a shorter learning curve and significantly higher retention of the subject matter.

Specialties

KnowledgeHut is a registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance, PMI and IIBA. It’s also an ATP of EC-Council, CompTIA, APMG for PRINCE2 training, as well as a certified partner of AXELOS and the disciplined Agile consortium and Scaled Agile Inc.

KnowledgeHut offers an extensive selection of vendor-authorized training and certifications for PMI, Microsoft, APMG, CompTIA, and Scrum Alliance among many others.

Close the skills gap

They specialize in training, consulting, Scrum Master Training, Certification courses as well as e-Learning. Have a look at their Infographic on the Future of IT.

If you want to train with a company whose mission it is to empower human capital through industry accredited, nationally and internationally recognized courses to close the skill gap, visit KnowledgeHut and find the course that will make you more successful in 2017 and beyond.

Training Service Provider: GreyCampus – Training Project Professionals, Enhancing Careers

Certification training to develop new skills is an important aspect of career advancement. It not only recognizes your skills, but helps you get hired in a dream job. A 2012 Microsoft study highlights certification as an important hiring criteria. For hiring managers, a certification represents high skillsets for a candidate.

In a recent IT professionals survey, more than half of respondents stated that they landed new jobs due to a certification. It is part of important criteria for selection in project management jobs. If you plan to become certified in 2017 and you are looking for training, consider GreyCampus as the one-stop destination for all your training needs.

Introduction to GreyCampus

GreyCampus is a private education management company. Founded in 2014, it has its head office at Dallas, Texas in the United States. It is a leading training provider and has helped train more than 10,000 professionals worldwide. It provides training to professionals in the areas of project management and quality management. It is a registered education provider (REP) for many professional training courses. GreyCampus has also partnered with institutes like PMI, Axelos, PeopleCert, PRINCE2 and more.

Training methods

GreyCampus conducts training through the following methods:

  • Instructor-led online classes
  • Instructor-led traditional classroom courses
  • Self-learning online courses.

Project Management Training

PMP exam preparation courseThe project management courses at GreyCampus are available in the following modes:

  • Instructor-led
  • Online self-learning

The course provides learners with the essential tools needed to pass the exam. It is aligned as per the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) Guide, Fifth edition. It is also competitively priced to make learning affordable.

The instructor-led classes, both online and classroom are priced at $999. The online self-learning course is priced at $400.

GreyCampus also offers courses on CAPM and PMI-ACP certifications in different learning modes.

PRINCE2 Training

PRINCE2 FOUNDATIONGreyCampus offers the following courses around PRINCE2:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation Training and Certification course. It is available in both instructor-led and self-learning modes.
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner Training and Certification course. It is available in both instructor-led and self-learning modes.
  • There is also a 3-day instructor-led only PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Combo course.

Project Professionals

GreyCampus training offers short courses to help project professionals earn Category A Professional Development Units (PDU). These PDUs help them keep their PMI certification, to develop themselves and to be up to date in the job market.

For example, the Microsoft Project Fundamentals priced at $5 will earn the student 5 PDUs. The Project Schedule Management Basics priced at $10 will gain the student 10 PDUs.

The other project applicable courses available are Project Collaboration and Management, MiniTab Online Training, Slack Introduction and many more.

Special offer

Project managers who are looking for training in 2017 can check the details of the project management courses on the GreyCampus website. You can check the course schedule, eligibility and location and make your choice as per your needs.

In partnership with Virtual Project Consulting, GreyCampus offers a special discount of 50% if you sign up from here. Just use coupon code PROJCOL.

***Some links are affiliate links.

New Project Manager – How to start projects successfully

By Linky van der Merwe

athlete startMost people know that a race is half won when the athlete has a good start!  For project managers, a good start is just as important to win the project ‘race’. You will be a successful project manager if you learn to define the project clearly from the outset.

 

Where to start

The following basic questions need to be answered when starting any project:

  • Why is the project being initiated?
  • Who is this work being done for?
  • Who are the project sponsor(s) and the key project stakeholders that might use the final product, service, or results?
  • How are we going to achieve the project’s goal and objectives?
  • What are we going to deliver? What work do we need to complete; what resources and funds do we need to produce these deliverables?
  • When will we produce the deliverables?
  • When will the project stakeholders review them?
  • When will the project sponsor approve and accept the final project outcome?
  • Where will the deliverables be used?
  • How will success be measured?

Solid foundation

A project manager needs to lay a solid foundation to start a project successfully. This would include the following:

  • Define and control the scope
  • Understand the client’s business drivers
  • Build strong relationships of trust
  • Support delivery on the project with appropriate tools, techniques and processes, but tailored to suit the size, culture and context of the organisation

Let’s take a closer look at the building blocks of a good foundation.

Project Definition

When you define the project, you need to begin with the end in mind. This means that you want to know the project vision, objective, high-level requirements, high-level risks and milestones. This is normally documented in the Project Charter.

Based on your understanding of what the project is set out to achieve, you will select the best execution approach.

Scope agreement

Define and agree what is in and out of scope. The components of a scope statement include:

  • Project justification
  • Product description
  • Project objectives
  • Project deliverables

It is a good practice to document the project scope in a document that is generically known as a Scope Statement. The document has different names depending on which methodology is used. This is to explain what is in and out of scope, a step-by-step process for managing changes in project scope, project deliverables, constraints and assumptions.

Work Breakdown Structure

Work breakdown structureBased on the agreed project scope, you can continue to create a work breakdown structure, known as the WBS. The WBS is a decomposition of the total scope of the work. A work package is work defined at the lowest level of the work breakdown structure for which cost and duration can be estimated and managed. For more about the WBS, read Project Planning – Work Breakdown Structure.

When you’re new to project management, you may need clarification on project deliverables and milestones.  We differentiate between them as follows.

A project milestone is referring to a significant point in time when something is complete.  For example, the end of the planning phase could be a milestone. If you use MS Project as a scheduling tool, a milestone will have a zero duration.

A project deliverable is a tangible output of the project, for example, a completed document, a piece of code, or a documented list of requirements or product specifications.

Understand business requirements

Next, you will follow a process of collecting and analysing requirements. It is very important to understand the requirements by answering the questions above. You need to be clear on how you will measure each benefit that is realised.

Build strong relationships of trust

You will have to identify all stakeholders to the project. You also need to plan how you will effectively engage stakeholders throughout the project life cycle.

Support delivery

By now you should have a good understanding of the size, culture and context of the organisation in which project execution will take place.

If your organisation has a Project Management Office, you will have a standard project management methodology that is customised to the needs of the organisation. That will give you access to tools and processes that can be used to support the delivery of your project.

If not, you will need to select appropriate tools, techniques and processes, which will help you to execute your project. Consider using a standardised project management templates from Method 123 that will guide you through the project processes of Initiation, Planning, Execution and Closure.

After having a great start, it’s time for Planning! Read the short article on Time Management and Gantt Charts as a planning tool.

If you’re new to project management and would like to grow critical project management competencies fast, check this self-paced online training, called the Growth Program today.

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Attention Aspiring Project Management Professionals

Important announcement for project managers who plan to do the PMP exam in 2016.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has changed the PMP Exam on January 11th. Cornelius Fichtner has published information in this regard on his PM Prepcast website and explains what it means for you.  This is to share it with you and to help answer any questions you may have while preparing for this important exam.

Click here to read more

Remember that there’s a 10% discount on the PM Prepcast in January, which means $18 off if you use coupon code Jan16

Reflections on 2015

2015Another year is coming to an end which calls for a personal reflection on the year of 2015. What a wonderful journey it has been with numerous highs and very few low points.

 

Memorable moments

There were plenty of highlights in 2015. At work we concluded a 14-month long Programme successfully. I facilitated a number of closing workshops and project reviews on lessons learnt. Many new relationships were developed with a few growing into friendships that will outlast the projects. What will make this Programme very memorable, is the honour of receiving a CIO award for Delivery Excellence at the end.

As one Programme came to an end, I moved on to the next Programme with its own challenges, complexities and relationships to be formed with new team members. And in that lies the pleasure and fulfilment of being a professional project manager. There is never a dull moment and what an interesting journey to get to know new processes, systems and new people. To work with and appreciate all the talented individuals who are chosen to work on big corporate Programmes.

Virtual Project Consulting

As far as Online activities are concerned, our presence through Virtual Project Consulting, continued to grow as a website with the most comprehensive recommended resources about project management software, training, products, books and events.

In the blog section appeared several articles covering leadership, change management, project methodology, project success stories from experienced project managers, guest posts, reviews of different project software, how to compare online project management software, Agile project management and emotional intelligence among others. Podcasts of our Best Practice articles, as well as the Success Stories have been published.

Contributing Author

This year a Book opportunity presented itself to me through an invitation to contribute a Chapter to a book about the Strategic Integration of Social Media into Project Management Practice, due for publishing in 2016. This came about as a result of the extensive research I have conducted in prior years around the use of social media for small business marketing, and more specifically in the project management context. See more in Social Media for Project Managers.

 

AnniversaryAnniversary

On the personal front, I am privileged to share that 18 December 2015 is my 22 year wedding anniversary, and I consider it a blessing to be happily married with three children as a reminder of our faithful commitment to each other.

Game Changers

There were a few events that shifted my priorities this year. I worked with a coach who really helped to broaden my perspective, but at the same time, who guided me to focus on getting specific things done that will contribute greatly to growing my online business in future. Some strategic partnerships were also formed which could lead to interesting new opportunities in the new year.

Growth Program for New Project ManagersI had my first experience of running my own webinars, of doing a Pilot training program and eventually developing a fully online, self-paced Growth Program for New Project Managers aimed especially at the many Accidental Project Managers in every organisation.

This makes me look forward to making more contributions to the project management field in future. Like a quote from Audrey Hepburn saying: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible”.

I will continue to live and work my passions and to always be grateful. I wish you a happy and fulfilling time with your loved ones over Christmas and a Prosperous New Year in 2016!

Virtual Project ConsultingIf it’s your first time visiting, please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting not to miss future future articles, tips and success stories!

 

 

Virtual Project Management Conference on-demand from IIL

This is a reminder that it’s the last week to watch the free presentations from the Virtual Project Management Conference hosted by International Institute for Learning (IIL) on International Project Management Day: Power of the Profession 2014 on 6 November.

The speakers cover topics like Leadership, PMO, Productivity, complex project management, Portfolio Management and many more.

It is highly recommended and existing PMP’s can use the opportunity to claim PDU’s.

Register and attend the on-demand sessions until 30 November 2014.

The on-demand period ends November 30. Pre-order the IPMDAY 2014 DVD for permanent access to standout presentations long after the event has closed.

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