3 Great Ways to Learn New PPM Skills
Great PMO leaders aren’t born; they learn along the way. While experience counts for a lot, training helps consolidate learning and move your project delivery teams forward at a much faster pace. When you want to upskill your team (or yourself), training really is the best option.
But with so many different ways to learn new skills, what’s the best choice?
There are three main ways to learn from experienced professionals in a structured class setting. Let’s look at each of those so you can decide what would be the most appropriate way to build the capability and skills of your team.
1. Remote Online Training
Best for: Continuing professional development when you can’t spare time away from the day job or are unable to get to a training center.
Online learning is growing in popularity, and there are a variety of ways this can be delivered.
You can take a self-paced course where you work through pre-recorded lessons in your own time. These courses are perfect if you want to go back over the material several times to ensure you’ve fully understood it. They are also very flexible. You can start and stop lessons whenever you want, and even study in the middle of the night if that suits your schedule.
Alternatively, many companies – including ourselves – offer instructor-led remote courses. When you can’t get to a training venue, or you can’t justify the cost of staying away, online classes are the answer.
You can work online with an instructor as part of a small class group or even one-on-one. There are loads of advantages to personalized online learning including:
- There’s no need to travel or stay away from home
- You can work with the tutor on topics that are particularly relevant to your situation, and influence the course content
- You can get through more content than in a large group because there are fewer distractions from other students
- You can agree class times with your tutor and meet flexibly around your schedule.
If you’re learning a topic where it’s helpful to have a lot of discussion – for example earned value management system training – then meeting with a ‘real’ tutor is beneficial.
Other topics lend themselves to a self-paced, video course, like our Primavera P6 Fundamentals class.
2. Onsite Training
Best for: Training large groups of employees to ensure everyone gets the same knowledge and experience in a class that is tailored to your own processes.
When you want to train everyone in the PMO, it’s often more cost-effective to bring the trainer to you. Even if the time isn’t right to do this in your organization right now, it’s worth thinking ahead for when you might want to bring a trainer into your business to support the growth and maturity of the PMO.
The class can be tailored to your organization, using your terminology and projects as illustrative examples during the lessons. It’s easier to get the learning to ‘stick’ when delegates are familiar with the processes, procedures and methodologies discussed because they use them every day. Using your own practices as a framework for the course also makes it easier to see how new techniques can be adopted and integrated into existing ways of working.
With the trainer onsite, you can talk to them directly about the templates, software or processes in use within the organization and get a properly personalized experience.
Both remote and onsite training courses can be tailored for your needs – make sure you chat to the training vendor about this to get the most out of the course. The best courses use real-life examples and talk about why you are doing something and when it should be done – not just what to do.
Whether you are remote or onsite, you should have the opportunity for hands-on experience using software tools so you gain confidence in a supportive environment. The trainer should supply detailed training guides and notes for any exercises or software so you’ve got those as a reference guide for the future. Looking back over the notes you made in the margin of the course manual is a great way to remember the discussion and work out your next steps!
3. Open Training Classes
Best for: Training one or two employees.
Open training classes are courses scheduled to run where anyone can book a place. They often take place in training venues or hotel conference facilities, so you have access to modern classrooms in great locations.
We often run open training courses in fantastic hotel facilities on the Boardwalk at Virginia Beach, VA – the longest pleasure beach in the world! It’s perfect for delegates who want a bit of fresh air during the lunch break.
These courses won’t be tailored to your own organization, but sometimes that’s what you want. Open courses attract delegates from a wide range of businesses and it can be helpful to chat and network with others to see how they deal with similar challenges. Some of the best learning moments in a classroom course can come from sharing experiences with fellow delegates!
Each type of skills training has advantages, so think about what you are trying to achieve with your learning plan and what method would suit you or your team best. Ultimately, you might decide that a blend of all approaches will give you the rounded experience of developing new skills.
We hope to see you in one of our classes soon!