TIP – 23 MINUTES THOUGHT ON HOW TO CHOOSE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING
Decide whether you would like to get (for you and/or your personnel) an official certification or not.
Obviously, there is a big difference between training aimed at project managers and training aimed at project people (as informed members of the project).
- Official (must be serious!) certification
Forget auto-referential certifications.
Go for acknowledged certifications sponsored by governments and/or official bodies … never forget that they ought to be “real and serious” bodies, not some sort of “firm associations”, or even the product of a single firm; a pompous name is no guarantee.
Even in the case of government and official bodies, be most careful in choosing the training provider, especially when dealing with decentralized providers (the more far… the more difficult to be checked by the central authority).
Forget the fads of the moment: what everyone is speaking of may be … just smoke; don’t get intoxicated.
- You don’t need an official certification
First, a piece of advice: an official certification could be a good idea …; or hiring a certified Project Manager, maybe as a PMO (Project Management Office) official or as a junior PM; another possibility could be to hire (maybe even for a few hours) an independent certified Project Manager and get his/her opinion and advice on overall projects and/or specific matters, e.g., a communication plan.
- You are already taking care in person of your projects
In this case, you need some special training tailored for your specific necessities: if you are not going for an official certification, take the advantages of this choice and get something tailored; besides, you should consider getting some extra coaching after training.
Choose a firm of quality, i.e., that honestly tells you everything about the advantages and disadvantages of your choice (e.g., no official certification); moreover, go for a firm which proposes you a tailored training and … tailored training for project people, too.
Project people are very important: never forget them.
Btw, the choice is easier when it comes to project people: some basic training is sufficient to begin to execute instructions. There could even be huge advantages in getting tailored training instead of “general purpose” training; this may even be a way to avoid personnel leaving after (and thanks to) costly training.
At any rate, we strongly suggest to limit (uncertified) training to project people only: if you are not willing to take an official certification (sometimes managers are very busy), go for an independent (serious!) certified project manager … his/her experience will be invaluable and costs limited – you will not need him/her every hour, probably, and you will spare plenty of your precious time.
- You are going to take care in person of your projects
Basically, all the above considerations apply here, but … in this case you probably have no project management experience.
Go for a certified professional Project Manager; get good training from a serious firm for your project people. The very same firm providing you with the Project Manager, if serious, should be ready to give tailored training to your project people; if these conditions were fulfilled, your project could take off in a matter of days.
In this case, never ever trust firms/organizations which promise you their “wonderful” training/”method” will work miracles on you.
Without experience, you are not going to reach the stars. You could never do that (in a short time) even after getting an official (serious!) Project Management certification: not only would you miss experience … what about project people – and dealing with them?
- Someone else is taking care (or is going to take care) of projects.
Is he/she a Project Manager certified in a serious Project Management methodology?
If yes, you should get tailored training for your project people; after all, would it make sense to have a project manager apply ideas which differ from your project management’s people ones? If someone proposes you some training before ascertaining which ideas your project manager is applying or will apply … contact someone else.
If not, that person is either an employee of yours or an external professional.
- In the case of an already experienced employee of yours, take into account the possibility of him/her getting an official qualification; if that is not the case, take the advice we have already given, i.e., go for a certified professional Project Manager and get good training from a serious firm for your project people.
- In the case of an external professional … why paying for a professional who has got no (serious!) Project Management certification?
Again … go for a certified professional Project Manager and get good training from a serious firm for your project people.
Never forget: if you go for a certified professional Project Manager … you are not going to see an employee leaving after having got his/her costly certification as soon as he/she has got some experience; you just pay a professional for sound work.
As we have seen, training without an official certification can have some sound advantages for project people (as informed members of the project), namely specific and tailored practical training which an official certification could never give; on the other hand, we strongly believe in the necessity of an officially certified Project Manager … certified in serious and acknowledged Project Management methodologies sponsored by governments and/or official bodies.
Never forget: training for project people (as informed members of the project) does not require weeks to begin operating; if someone proposed you long and costly courses, you should take other training firms into consideration.
Let’s say three days at most could be ok for a vast majority of situations, but if the training firm is ready to provide good study documentation and pay attention to your personnel’s necessities after basic training … two or even (with some serious self-study) one days’ training could be enough to begin operating.
If the Project Manager is provided by the training firm (i.e., he/she would probably be both project manager and trainer), the project people’s basic training could be keened on the job; what an advantage for both costs and tailored efficiency! But … never forget in this case the Project Manager must be a Project Manager capable of delivering training, not a trainer doubling as a project manager, i.e., he/she should never be a person who has dedicated his/her career almost exclusively to theoretical training or working for a firm specialized only in training.
There exists a huge difference between a training provider-turned-consultancy (as a by-product) and a consultancy firm which provides Project Managers and delivers practical training.
Usually, the former employs certified trainers who are used to theoretical teaching, the latter employs Project Managers with practical experience, some of whom are also good trainers.
Besides, a training provider-turned-consultancy probably does not have the right culture and practical experience.
If you need an official certification, go for a (serious!) pure-training provider.
If you need practical tailored training for project people as informed members of the project, go for a (serious!) project management firm providing you with the Project Manager for your projects and … practical tailored training for your project people.
Investigate the firms you are going to deal with: decide what you need and choose accordingly.
The fellow who, till some time ago, was producing only beer barrels and who is now proposing you to buy his own beer, maybe because the barrels’ market is in a downturn … you may know him because of his barrels, but what about his beer?