Project Management

Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

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Viewing Posts by Abdiel Ledesma

Passive Versus Active Learning

Most project management training is based primarily on passive learning: listening to an instructor, looking at slides or reading, for example. This kind of traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning.
 
Active learning, on the other hand, puts the responsibility on the student. Whether in class discussions or written exercises, they're compelled to read, speak, listen and think.

One of the most powerful active learning models is experiential learning. Participants find meaning in experience -- learning through reflection and doing. As ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius once said: "Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."

Let's say you want to teach the importance of planning before executing, for example. Instead of just explaining it, try this lesson in experiential learning. Give a bag of LEGO parts -- the toy building bricks --  to a group of students and ask them to build a car in five minutes. When the time is up, show a slide with the project phases: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Then ask them to identify which phase applied to which part of building the car.
 
I challenge you to consider experiential learning programs for project managers. They observe and evaluate the effects of a situation as they participate -- and then apply this learning on actual projects.
  
Have you tried experiential learning? What are the pros and cons over passive learning?
 
Posted by Abdiel Ledesma on: February 21, 2011 12:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (17)

Project Management: An Organizational Competency

Competency-based management is a tactic that some organizations are using to recruit, hire, train, develop and manage employees.

Competencies are sorted out in three categories:

Organizational competencies combine the skills, information, performance measures and the corporate culture that an organization uses to achieve its mission. All employees must demonstrate these proficiencies.
 
Job role competencies include the abilities needed to perform a specific role in the organization. A field supervisor, for example, must have similar skills to supervisors in accounting, customer care or sales. Although they are in different department functions, they must exhibit a common set of supervising skills.
 
Position competencies are specific to the position you perform in your organization. An account manager, for example, must demonstrate capabilities that include proficiency in sales. An IT support engineer, for example, must be a master supporting the core systems an organization uses.
 
It's common for organizations to think project management is a skill at the position level and that it is just for project managers.

The reality is that project management is an organizational competency. If organizational strategy drives strategic changes and those changes are executed as projects, project management must be an organizational capability rather than a job skill.
 
If project management is an organizational competency, it's required to define a training program within the organization to develop everyone's project management knowledge and abilities.

I suggest starting with an awareness meeting for all employees. Once that's completed, host specific teaching sessions for executives who will support projects and then for people who participate in projects. Both must deliver non-technical project management knowledge.
 
What do you think? Is project management an organizational competency?
Posted by Abdiel Ledesma on: December 09, 2010 04:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)
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