Limiting training to project management topics. Don’t assume employees only need education in project management. Team members should instead strive to add topics outside the Project Management core to their schedule. Consider supervisory classes for new managers, budget management training for anyone overseeing project dollars, business writing seminars for folks turning out client-facing documentation, and even regulatory compliance project management training when appropriate.
Expecting trainees to be available during class. We’ve all been there—our cell phone goes off in the middle of a seminar and we know we have to answer it. Instead of learning new skills and adding to your team’s power, employees end up spending their training time essentially at work, with the educational benefits (and your Project Team’s training dollars) fizzling away. On training day, daily tasks should be delegated and coworkers notified that the trainee is officially unavailable until they return to the office.
Scheduling classes during particularly stressful periods. The last week of a multi-year project might not be the best time to have a portion of your team in training. Their focus is elsewhere and the team’s need for them is likely to be higher than usual. Look for days that are as “regular” as possible, and remember that travel time also has an impact on a team member’s availability.
Sending everyone to training at once. Unless a class is mandatory under your company’s guidelines and there’s no way to break the group into different sessions, do your best to avoid having the majority of your team in training at the same time. Someone needs to be available to manage daily project management tasks and respond to user or stakeholder inquiries.