Posts Tagged 'project management training'

Learning Tree Opens 34 NEW AnyWare Learning Centers across North America

We have some exciting news to share! Learning Tree has officially opened 34 new AnyWare Learning Centers across North America. You can eliminate travel costs and commuting time and take our IT and management courses locally at a designated center near you via AnyWare, our web-based attendance platform that allows you to experience the same hands-on, instructor-led classroom training live, online.

To view a complete list of Project Management courses, click here. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a note in the comments or follow us on any of our social media outlets:


Happy Training!

Project Leadership Training is Not a Luxury

I believe that “homegrown” is better when it comes to hiring project leaders.  I do not believe it is effective to hire from “without” when you can hire from “within.”

Over the years, I’ve seen many project leaders hired. They are expected to be a bright shining star from Day One. Guess what? It doesn’t happen!

The hiring people have forgotten the idea that you have to invest a lot of time and energy to develop project leaders who “fit in.” You’ve seen it before–the new project leader possesses all the basics: an MSTM degree, right personality for the company, proven work ethic, and appropriate years of experience in the field.  Here comes the big problem:  you have to train and mentor them with the specific skills required for your company’s and project’s unique and special needs.

During the Global Economic Crisis of 2008-2010, training budgets were either significantly reduced, or done away with altogether. Every organization tightened their belts; staff positions were reduced and the team members who were left behind had to do the work of what previously required two or more team members (doing more with less). Project leaders learned by doing because they had to.

It is time to stop the madness. You are not going to find the perfect project leader from outside your company. It is a falsehood to believe that companies don’t have time to train new project leaders from within. In fact, I believe you don’t have time not to. Time has come today; we can’t put it off any other way.

The quest for the perfect project leader from outside is like battling windmills.  Workloads keep piling up, existing project teams approach burnout, due dates are not met, and customers give up and go elsewhere. Why not pick the best project team member you have and spend the training dollars to get them to be the bight, shining star? If they are at the 85% level now, then why not train them to gain the remaining 15% of the job, while they are contributing NOW, on the job?

Stop looking outside. Companies are being negatively impacted every week that ticks by and that perfect project leader has not been hired.  Bypassing excellent project team members, who have the ability to contribute now, just doesn’t make good economic sense.  Here is the answer:  training.

It is time to bring training back. Send the best and brightest team members to project leadership/project management training–in a classroom, away from work–for at least a week. Successful project leaders are not born–they are made… one training class at a time.

Stop looking for perfection from “without” and find the find the brightest from “within”–and then train them!

James L. Haner

Learning Tree offers a range of project management and leadership courses. Consider starting with Project Management: Skills for Success or Project Team Leadership for a solid foundation in project management.

Five Steps for Lasting Results in Performance Feedback

Are you ready to provide effective performance feedback?

Performance management is the ongoing investment of time characterized by project leaders who regularly provide honest, encouraging feedback. It also takes the form of support, coaching and advice. On some project teams, the act of providing performance feedback is a lost art. Successful project leaders establish a culture of emotional engagement, innovation, self-organization and results-building. They take the time to provide performance feedback for lasting results.

Performance feedback for lasting results relies on relationships, not just rules and structure. Team members are trusted as self-determining professionals who learn to take feedback and integrate their activities by self-organizing the information discussed, generating new ideas for improvement, and lasting results.

In the book “Future Work,” the authors suggest a more productive, people-friendly work style that includes trust in people, rewarding output, and treating everyone as an individual. Performance is determined by results. These work environments exist with team member input and agreement about how work is done, rather than relying on strict rules and procedures for the team.

Performance feedback for lasting results advances this idea by promoting improved relations with team members, increasing team member productivity, improving project leader productivity, focusing on individual and team results, improving motivation, and implementing realistic expectations.

Building on a foundation of clear objectives, trust in people, and the importance of relationships, performance feedback works best when project leaders use the following five skill points:

  1. Ask for the team member’s own view of their performance followed by your evaluation of his/her performance.
  2. Identify what would help maintain or improve the performance.
  3. Ask the team member to identify specific steps or actions to achieve the improvement.
  4. Provide as-needed input and agree on a plan . . . in writing.
  5. Get the team member’s commitment and set up a time for review . . . at least once a quarter.

Performance feedback for lasting results means following these steps and providing feedback regularly. This builds trust that the project leader is truly interested in the team member’s success and results. In addition, feedback should not be given only during times of perceived failure, when team members could view performance feedback as punitive in nature.

The book “Corporate Culture and Performance” makes a case for the kind of culture that promotes performance enhancement and how it can lead to success or failure. The researchers present an 11-year study of 12 companies that had this culture and 20 that didn’t, illustrating the importance of a performance-driven culture. Of the companies with performance-enhancing cultures, the average increase in revenue growth was 682 percent, as opposed to 166 percent that did not have performance-enhancing cultures.

Because performance is such a key to motivating team members, and because motivated team members produce improved results, project leaders need to take a longer view of what this kind of investment can mean to project success.

Performance management includes training project leaders, too. Research indicates that the typical struggles project leaders face in delivering performance feedback can be overcome by training them on the key skills of performance feedback conversations and then teaching them how to structure these conversations so that team members buy-in to their own performance improvement and overall productivity.

For more on successful performance management, check out Learning Tree’s course Management Skills for an IT Environment.

James L. Haner

Project Management and the Value of People

In my last blog I talked about the environment of chaos that many of our projects live within. Today I would like to talk about training and how it impacts your project management community.

Before we can talk about the benefits of training, we need to discuss the impact your organization has on training. Yes, that’s what I said, “the impact your organization has on training.” The typical reaction is that this is impossible, irrelevant and unimportant. I would argue the exact opposite. Your organizations perspective on training and learning is of utmost importance. Allow me to explain.

First of all, the benefits of training are constrained by the perceived values it provides as viewed by the organization and the management therein. Think about how you and your organization perceive training and what benefits you attach to it.

Typically, every organization has its own culture that is unique. This culture consists of values, beliefs and attitudes. Amongst those values, beliefs and attitudes are pre-set notions about the value of training and learning within an organization. Let’s call this your “training value proposition.”

There are four popular “training value propositions:”
1. Training as policing
            a. This involves using training to measure and document development and to justify career movement up, down and in and out of the organization
            b. Legal documents are an ongoing output from the internal performance management program (these documents are used to justify the existence or removal of staff)
2. Training as power
            a. From this perspective, knowledge is seen as power that should be in the hands of a select few
            b. These organizations tend to be structured with top-down authority and clearly defined chains of command (specific knowledge is limited to positions of power)
3. Training as currency
            a. “For profit” organizations tend to see training and learning as a vehicle to ultimate profit
            b. Skills, tools and techniques, certifications and process maturity become a measure for profit
4. Training as personal development
            a. Many organizations that work in “high knowledge” sectors have moved beyond the “training as currency” value proposition due to the complexity of the work being performed
             b. In highly complex environments, staff are required to be creative, risk taking, independent thinking individuals that can make things happen. This tends to require a great deal of individual freedom, autonomy and ongoing training and development

The question is, “which value proposition does your organization embody and how does it impact the ultimate success of your organization?
Whether you realize it or not, these values, beliefs and attitudes have a direct impact on the culture of your organization. This impact’s the way staff view the organization and their role within the organization.

If an organization creates a culture of blame, shame, guilt and fear, this tends to result in productivity problems, disciplinary issues, lack of risk taking and lack of creativity and ingenuity. Ultimately it may lead to high turnover, loss of morale, loss of intellectual capital and the loss of ability to achieve objectives.

An alternative culture would be one of positive reinforcement, a supportive emotional environment that promotes learning, healthy risk taking, autonomy, independent thinking, creativity and ingenuity.

The value proposition that supports this sees training and learning as a component of personal development that helps build people and a strong organization. This type of organization is flexible, quick to change when needed, supportive, mature and willing to take risks to achieve goals and objectives.

Where is your organization on the value proposition spectrum?

Policing? Power? Currency? Personal Development?

I encourage you to support a culture that builds people, rather than focusing primarily on policing, rules, blame, cutting costs and maintaining political power within the silos of your organization.

When you give people freedom, you’ll be amazed what they give back in return.

In my next blog I’ll give examples of the potential benefits of applying this new “training value proposition.”

Larry Barnard

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Project Management Training

Learning Tree offers over 210 IT and Management courses, including Project Management training and Business Analysis training.

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