Adventures in Customized Training

Earlier this month I had a blast in Indianapolis with a great group of a dozen project management professionals as I led a multi-day session titled “Project Management Training – Customized.” Partnering with clients to create the optimum session to reach their specific goals is one of my favorite types of projects.

The client is in the industry energy, and the goal of the session was to quickly build skills for their internal project management team. After discussing their goals, I created a program which combines instructor-led presentations with hands on activities and team exercises. One thing I certainly never want to see is bored faces in the audience! So I work very hard to balance the material for a variety of learning styles, such as videos, telling stories, and lots of interaction. In fact, nobody saw a PPT slide until the last day from the teams.

Day One

The first day we covered project management concepts and got to know one another. We covered a multitude of concepts, from expanding on the scope to developing task estimates to earned value management. Using feedback from the participants, I was able to customize “on the fly” and share anecdotes from past experiences that applied to each situation. The participants were organized into teams to immediately begin working collaboratively.

Day Two

By the second day, we were ready to get out the “toys” and start practicing what we had learned the day before! The participants worked in their established teams and were given a project that they had to take through the phases, from defining to closing, and everything between. The teams had to figure out the best approach, use project management techniques, assign roles, and run the project. Just to keep everybody on their toes, and to be prepared to be flexible once out in their real company roles, I delivered some surprise changes along the way.

Day Three

We closed on day three with the client opening with company-specific applications of what the group had worked on the previous two days. In the afternoon, the students presented their final reports on their projects. We wrapped up with each team presenting their project, their approach, key metrics, and most importantly, lessons learned about the entire process. Sharing feedback was encouraged from every team member and other teams even challenged the team presenting. We ended the day with evaluations and I’m pleased to say that the students were very positive about their overall experience. I got back comments that the students “enjoyed real-world examples and experiences” and that they appreciated the “great interaction with the classroom,” which is gratifying because it means I’ve done my job in connecting with the audience.

Who’s Next?

Does your organization need a refresh on project management concepts? I am able to travel to your location for custom, on-site sessions. Contact me today to discuss!



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