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What Can Be Learned from Project Management Training That’s Applicable at Work

By Guest Author, Zoe Price:

Project management is not well understood by people who haven’t taken a course on the topic or studied it as part of a standalone business course. However, for teams that are dealing with complex projects with many moving parts and varying timelines and deliverables, keeping up with an entire project quickly becomes impossible to do without getting help.

Certainly, when trying to manage a marketing project, there are so many moving parts that it can overwhelm even the most organized person. Who needs to be contacted? How long to wait until re-contacting them? What marketing strategies will be used and over what timeframe will be they attempted? It takes a master project manager to get stuck in and manage all the elements successfully to keep the department on track.

Setting the Scope of the Project

With proper project planning, important work projects can be set up well from the get-go. Defining the scope of what’s to come is important here. Scope creep is a major problem when plans are left open-ended. To avoid this, making limits and constraints with a solid plan from the start sets the parameters, goals and objectives.

Struggling to complete projects with several moving parts? @RedBranch shows you how #ProjectManagers get it done. Click To Tweet

When there are certain assumptions being made that the project planning is based upon, these should be documented. Any known risks to a plan which could cause it either to fail outright, increase costs or add time to the project to complete it successfully can also be added. This is useful for considering contingencies to put in place, but it also has a healthy “cover yourself” component for people who work in companies where blaming is the leadership method of choice.

It’s also important that the leaders on the project, those that are participating in its completion and their respective roles, as well as any other relevant people, are documented too. This is a good time to see if anyone has any connections to third-parties involved with the project that can be leveraged.

Getting the Planning Right

At the planning stage, the project is broken down into its component parts. The timeline is set out based on the expected completion date. Tasks are added with their start and completed dates. The person responsible for each task is assigned at that stage.

Any dependencies where one task is waiting on the completion of another task or an information request to be satisfied is also noted at this point. These are potential bottlenecks which, when preventing someone from performing their task, could hold up the completion of subsequent tasks, and ultimately, the successful completion of the project.

As you can see, project planning is very organized, planned, and structured. It tends to suit a person who is naturally organized and perhaps a logical thinker too. To help get into the right frame of mind to be a project manager, there are project management training programs available which usually teach the basic principles and then go into further detail. Anyone in a management position who feels they could benefit from a hands-on training should look up them up on findcourses.com. Their search tool shows you what’s available from over 100 suppliers.

Handling Uncertainty & Risk Mitigation

Thinking about what might happen and planning for knowable and unknowable risks isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. This is why some training is helpful to broaden the mind about ways to approach risk on projects, how to plan for it and what to do if something bad happens.

Creating contingency plans for the most likely risks to a project’s successful completion is never a bad idea. There’s always the question of how far to take that, but some degree of planning for negative outcomes is certainly useful.

Getting the Execution Right

Learning how to execute a project plan and follow up with key members of the team when they drop the ball is all part of the job. Where processes are required to structure how tasks should be completed, the project manager follows each stage to its natural conclusion.

Being effective at liaising with each team member to stay current with their progress without creating the feeling that they’re being micromanaged is all part of the difficulty in the job of a project manager.

Control and Reporting

The last aspect that a good training course will cover is how to monitor a project properly and report on progress to upper management. Any revisions to the plan, along with budgetary adjustments and a post-completion review is all part of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. This stage is all about tying everything together and seeing if there are any lessons to be learned. Any lessons can be used to help make the next project run smoother.

Project management is essential when the scope of a single project gets to be too much to handle. At that point, it requires a pair of skilled hands to take the reins and steer the project to a successful conclusion.