On-site technical training and workshops by New Instruction, LLC

Project Management
Live Instructor-Led Classroom Training

A project is truly successful only when you are meeting the need for which it was created. Our project management training courses cover the nine bodies of knowledge outlined in the PMBOKĀ® Guide. Our workshops cover: project scope and gathering requirements; creating a project plan; assessing project risk; managing multiple projects; managing enterprise-wide initiatives; scheduling, controlling and managing contracts and implementing project management offices for repeatable success throughout the organization.

Our courses are designed, developed, and delivered by pioneers in project management, and our instructors are consistently praised for their practical knowledge, tactful delivery of content, and thorough understanding of the subjects. Our project management training brings value by improving the execution of strategy, through repeatable, reliable performance and standardization; the integration within the organization, through elimination of "silos" and better communication and collaboration. We show you how to break down the chaos of an overwhelming workload into manageable elements - scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communication, risk, procurement, and integration.

Our fictional case study allows participants to immediately practice the concepts in group exercises. Participants will create key project documents, such as business case, charter, product requirements, project plan, status reports and lessons learned.

Valuable Lessons from Project Managers:

Leadership

  1. Keep your approach friendly: People are not looking to make friends at work, but refraining from an aggressive approach towards your employees is a good idea. Be diplomatic and assertive, instead.
  2. When taking on a new project/responsibility at work, convey to your management the extent of authority you need in order to effectively execute your project. Ensure that you have the authority that you need before you start work on your project.
  3. Being people-oriented does not mean that you cannot be task-oriented (and vice-versa).
  4. One-to-one: Meet regularly with your team members on a one-on-one basis. When you apply this principle to your kids, it makes each of them feel special.
  5. Nobody appreciates a micro-manager: Don't sit on the heads of your team members.
  6. Giving autonomy does not mean not keeping track of progress.
  7. Learn how to manage people and the rest of your job will that much easier to execute.
  8. As a leader, you should have the ability to bind the team together and give them a sense of "we're in this together." For instance, as the head of your family, you can promote bonding by setting aside time for family board games, story-telling sessions, family outings and the like.
  9. Stay visible - As a leader, you need to be visible in good times, as well as when there are problems to address.
  10. Your reputation depends on your perceived credibility and integrity: A very basic item for leaders is to ensure that promises made are promises kept. If action is committed, it must be performed.
  11. Personality: As a leader, does your personality influence and inspire your team?
  12. Leadership CAN be learned. Focus on these areas to improve your leadership skills:
    • Initiative
    • Leverage your charisma to influence others
    • Lead purposefully and with commitment
    • Develop a result-oriented approach
    • Cultivate an attitude of optimism
    • Work on your self-confidence - especially for weakness areas (for instance, if you are particularly nervous around people with an intimidating body language, create a plan to tackle that, and come across as confident and in-control in their presence.)
    • Cultivate empathy so that you can encourage and nurture your team
    • Learn to identify winners - and nurture them
    • Learn to read between the lines to understand the underlying concern that prompted the dialogue
    • The ability to motivate people so that they stretch out of their "comfort zones"
    • Improve your decision-making abilities by learning from past decisions
    • Learn to see the big picture
    • Polish your Goal Setting skills
    • Develop Personal Goals and examine them at regular intervals
    • Effective Time Management
  13. Flexibility: While it is a good thing to be firm and stand by your decisions, It is important that you are flexible enough to realize when plans need to change. View planning as an ongoing process. That way, you can change course midway without too much damage, if the original plan is not working. Are you open to continuous planning and updating of the plan?

Effective personnel management (Managing your team)

  1. Stand up for your team. When your employees are in the right, have the guts to take up their case.
  2. Don't let team members intimidate you with technical mumbo-jumbo. Don't feel stupid when you ask them to explain what they are saying in layperson's language.
  3. Match assignments with skill sets: Is every team member equipped to handle his/her part of the assignment?
  4. Creative Solutions: A Japanese story - when a little girl kept wearing the wrong shoe on the wrong foot, her parents found a solution. There was half a smiley face on either shoe. The smiley face was complete only when she wore her shoes the correct way. Problem solved. It can be as simple as that if we use our creativity.
  5. When you pressure your team to deliver faster than is humanly possible, don't be surprised to see a poor quality, bug-laden product.
  6. Agree on rules: In project management, once the design has been completed, the design and production staff create a style guide for future reference. Make the rules of the game clear to all players involved, and to any players who join in later on.
  7. Building Trust: Build trust within the team by demonstrating to each team member that everyone is important and creating a sense of personal value and contribution.
  8. According to the book "Retaining Your Best People" (Harvard Business School Press), retention should become a core strategy. A very significant and important piece of advice from the book and something that all leaders should do on a regular basis is to "let your best people know you treasure them, count on them, and want to reward them in as many ways as possible."
  9. Look beyond money: There should be an effort by the manager, project manager, or business executive to determine what the non-monetary interests of the key players are - your attention and interest, for instance.
  10. Say thanks, offer words of support, and show appreciation for good work.
  11. Reward your key players as often as possible. People generally won't work for people who just don't care for them.
  12. Provide Challenges - Encourage your team to stretch beyond their comfort zone. This will help them see just how far they can go.

Recognition - Accountability - Ownership

  1. Rewarding works better than nagging: A reward can be something as simple as a note of appreciation - as long as your employees perceive it as a symbol of recognition, it works.
  2. The buck stops here: You are accountable for your task / project. However, this does not mean that you do not delegate. Delegate work to your team members, let them know that they are accountable for their assignment/s, and ensure that they have the resources so that they can deliver successfully. Decide the plan of action beforehand, and decide how follow-ups will happen.
  3. Ownership: Have an attitude of owning your work.
  4. Minimize your supervision - Provide a sense of autonomy. Freedom is a major motivator and builds trust on both sides.
  5. To motivate, you have to empower. Motivation involves not only being enthusiastic and pumped up about approaching the task, but also involves being equipped with the tools and the ability to complete the assignment. When you delegate an assignment, convey to the team member that it is now THEIR exclusive responsibility that the job gets done. If it doesn't, they will be held accountable.
  6. Accountability of Self: Take a couple of co-workers into confidence about your expectations from yourself. Besides making your goals clearer to yourself, this helps others keep track of your progress.

Communication

  1. Clear, open communication is a prerequisite for a healthy, result-oriented work environment.
  2. Keep them posted: A lack of information is a fertile ground for rumor, gossip and insecurity. Keep the team in the loop about information concerning and affecting them.
  3. When in doubt, ask: Don't refrain from asking "stupid" questions - they may save miscommunication and misunderstandings, resulting in saved time and money!
  4. It is bad policy to wait till your team members find out important information concerning them from other sources. That information should come from you.
  5. Ask questions and listen to suggestions.
  6. Feedback: Provide it often and ask for it. Keep an open mind.
  7. Listen: It's always important to listen, but even more so in tough times. Listen for undertones.
  8. Be Open: While you should not be a dumping ground for grievances, you SHOULD be accessible enough for team members to openly discuss concerns or delays. (Tip: If you are not open, you'll find out about the concern or delay later in the game when there is less time to fix it.)
  9. Touch Base: One-on-one and in meetings, meet up with your team members.

Planning

  1. Plan ahead: Before you plunge headlong into work, spend some time planning your project.
  2. Break down work into tasks: Breaking down the project into smaller tasks (and mini-tasks if required) ensures that you have a systematic approach.
  3. Keep it visible and visual: Plotting a chart or graph about work progress and tacking it in a prominent place on your soft board (or keeping the softcopy on your desktop) ensures that your progress is visible to you.
  4. Infrastructure: A reliable server lays the foundation for efficient work. Good infrastructure and equipment translate to smooth functioning for any task.
  5. A step-by-step plan is the best way to ensure you know where you are going.
  6. In project management, the bulk of the work happens after the planning phase. How well this implementation of the plan happens depends on how thorough and specific the planning and documentation was. Bad planning translates to bad implementation.
  7. Good planning alone does not ensure good implementation. Follow-through becomes vital here. As the leader, the project manager ensures that the team sticks to the plan.
  8. As a project manager, you need to check that everyone is following the functional spec and style guide, that they are using the proper naming conventions and version controls, and that backup files are being saved on the server. Rules are useful only insofar as they are implemented and followed.
  9. Be prepared: Know your stuff front-wards, back-wards, and every way in between. This does not mean that you need to say everything you know. Being prepared helps you to quickly answer questions and convey that you know what you are talking about.
  10. Understanding the goals: A project is truly successful only when you are meeting the need for which it was created. Identifying the scope and requirements at the outset and also acknowledging that in the real world, these can change is a good starting point.
  11. Getting it right from the outset: The most important part of a project's life cycle is the identification of its requirements.