Now THIS Is What I Mean By “Advanced” Training

We’ve had a ton of discussions with clients after¬†the Project Management Institute (PMI)announcement that it would soon demand business and leadership training from its certification holders. Some organizations wanted just the facts ‚Äď who, what, where, when, why, and how — then were on their way. A few weren‚Äôt interested for personal reasons: their organizations don’t require or reward PMI certification.

The most interesting talks, however, were with customers who didn’t really focus on the requirements at all. The original blog post or email had merely crystallized needs that they already had. We heard it again and again: “We’ve already had the basics, we’ve already put everyone through the curriculum. How do we get better, how do we advance?”

These kinds of conversations are music to my ears, because it means that we’re going to talk about building new and differentiated capabilities. In other words, these clients aren’t just thinking about industry standards and compliance. They now think strategically about how their staff’s strengths and weaknesses match up to their organization’s opportunities and threats.

So how does this play out in practice? Each firm or agency is different, but we believe there a few useful questions that help focus on the learning that your organization needs to advance.

  1. Knowledge and Skill Gaps: These are items that were simply missed in previous training or need formal reinforcement. Example course topics that address gaps:  How to Lead a Team;  How to Model, Analyze, and Improve Business Processes.
  2. Knowledge and Skill Mastery: Here’s where one truly goes beyond the basics and gets command of a subject. Courses like Project Cost & Schedule Management; Project Risk Management; Strategies for Effective Stakeholder Engagement; and ¬†Vendor Relationship Management¬†take one to the next level.
  3. Behavior Change: Here’s the real opportunity to breakthrough performance: ensuring that skills manifest themselves in behavior. Our simulations — for example, Managing by Project; Managing by Project: Construction; and Leadership in High-Performance Teams¬†— move participants from mere understanding of¬†skills to application of these skills back in the working world.

As always, if your organization would like discuss these ideas and how it will impact your project management training curriculum, please use the contact form below. We are happy to review your current curriculum, your upcoming learning plans, and make recommendations.

PMI Requires Business and Leadership Training

NOTE: My colleagues at PM College passed along the news that PMI is changing its PDU requirements. This post is adapted from our email to our customers.

Well, it’s now official: the Project Management Institute (PMI) demands strategy, business, and leadership skills from its certification holders. Its change to Professional Development Unit (PDU) requirements formalizes the shift away from the “project managers just need to know project management” mentality that used to pervade the profession. As we’ve noted: people skills and domain knowledge are essential to initiatives’ success.

If you or your staff are pursuing or renewing your PMP ‚Äď or your organization wants to develop well-rounded, competent project talent — you will need to understand how these changes affect you.¬† Why?

As the global business environment and project management profession evolves, the [certification] program must adapt to provide development of new employer-desired skills‚Ķ. The ideal skill set ‚ÄĒ the PMI Talent Triangle ‚ÄĒ is a combination of technical, leadership, and strategic and business management expertise. (PMI 2015 Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program Updates)

Feedback from high-performing organizations drove three changes to certification requirements that PMO, learning, and talent leaders should be aware of:

The technical, business, and leadership juggler.

The original technical, business, and leadership juggler.

  1. The education professional development unit (PDU) requirement has changed. 60% of the PDUs must come from education (e.g., PMPs must have 35 of their 60 PDUs come from education )
  2. A new requirement is that certification holders must get education in all three skill areas:  Technical Project Management, Leadership, Strategic and Business Management.
  3. Additionally, a minimum of eight (8) PDU’s must be earned in each of the three skill areas; the remaining eleven (11) can come from any area.

PM College proactively recognized this need, and designed its course offerings to align to the three skill areas, so you and your staff can earn the PDUs required in each skill area. For example, among our most popular offerings:

If your organization would like to schedule time to discuss these changes and how it will impact your project management training curriculum, please use the contact form below. We are happy to review your current curriculum, your upcoming learning plans, and make recommendations.

 

PM Quote of the Day — Anonymous

If one person tells you that you have a tail you can ignore it; if two people tell you, turn around and take a look. 

PM Quote of the Day — Harold Geneen

It is much more difficult to measure nonperformance than performance. 

Hat tip: Jonathan Becher at Manage By Walking Around.

Project Management as “table stakes”

Regular readers know that I’ve been harping on the increasing importance of program management, especially when it comes to realizing the benefits or value of projects.¬† Project managers who simply run projects without reference to the larger business environment are becoming a commodity.¬†

During the recent Global Corporate Council forum, I heard two thoughts that illustrated the challenge for PMs:

  • Greg Balestrero, the CEO of the Project Management Institute (Greg’s blog is here), calls project management “table stakes”.¬† In other words, PM has become so widespread that it is no longer differentiating for an organization or person to be¬†good at PM.¬† In Greg’s opinion, PM-only lets/keeps you in the game…no more.
  • One council member quanitified the value of the PMP in terms of experience.¬† He had to counsel a project manager who was very itchy to advance but was perplexed that his PMP hadn’t taken him further.¬† The council member put it to him bluntly: “A PMP is worth about two years of experience in our organization, which is something…¬† But it isn’t equivalent to leading and delivering a multi-year project or program.”

WSJ Interview on “The Experience Trap”

FYI, a Wall Street Journal article (“Dangers of Clinging to Solutions of the Past”) based in part on interviews w/ yours truly came out today (link here, page B4 in the paper).¬† Thanks to Kishore Sengupta of INSEAD for pointing the WSJ my way and to Phred Dvorak of the WSJ for conveying¬†the perils of experience so well and so succinctly.¬†

As I’ve noted to a couple of colleagues, it is hard to believe that only 250 words of copy came out of two hours of interview time.¬† Insert your own joke re: my verbosity here…

Surviving PMO Success — The Process Maturity Trap

One of the unexpected challenges in our PMO journey has been that success can make an enterprise-level PMO appear less relevant.¬† A PMO must¬†transform its approach to stakeholders or it won’t take full advantage of the improvements it fostered.¬† One manifestation of the problem unfolds thusly:

  1. An enterprise PMO composed of PM thought leaders executes a PM improvement program that delivers methodology, training, tools, and change management initiatives to its stakeholders (e.g., regional, local, unit PMOs).
  2. Those stakeholders [largely] adopt those initiatives and transform their project operations in significant and measurable ways.
  3. This transformation creates a new set of PM thought leaders, who often surpass the knowledge and hands-on experience of the original enterprise PMO.

The business problem has reversed; the enterprise PMO now becomes the organization that needs to change to reflect the new reality.  Deliverables that were relevant in moving from low maturity processes no longer work with a more sophisticated audience.  This issue is compounded by the difficulty in recognizing the changed environment.  Who wants to admit that he/she is no longer automatically at the vanguard of knowledge? 

In other words, the challenge for a successful enterprise PMO is: “Who¬†will change the change agents?”

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