Training is an ongoing effort in project teams. But while your group may do periodic reviews of the organization’s educational offerings, this is a good time to consider a full refresh of your program.
Several factors have come together to influence the structure of modern training strategies:
- The shift to hybrid work and asynchronous communications
- Explosive growth of collaboration and similar tools to keep distributed teams connected
- Increasing reliance on vast datasets as part of the project management process
By augmenting traditional project training with a suite of newer skills, you can provide team members with greater proficiency in emerging areas and round out your educational strategy to support the workers of tomorrow.
Find your skill gaps
Begin by reviewing your team’s task duration data from previous projects—estimates as well as actual durations—to uncover areas where additional skills would be beneficial. Your training program can empower employees with skills to forecast durations more accurately, execute tasks more efficiently, and streamline task handoffs.
If your group lost team members in the past year, either to other departments or to opportunities outside the organization, look at any niche skills held by those individuals. It may be prudent to add those competencies to your training program so others in the group can build the same valuable skills.
Explore the benefits of developing complementary skills. Your team may hold deep expertise in one area, but what adjacent skills would help broaden their capabilities? Training to develop complementary skills can deliver big payoffs in greater efficiency as well as giving team members a wider mix of interesting tasks.
Evaluate who receives training on each skill. Whether your team is large or small, workers often welcome the opportunity to learn new things and expand their ability to contribute to project success.
Review your portfolio to see what’s on the horizon
What skills will you need to successfully execute projects in the next few years? Your training program allows you to build those skills now so you’re ready to tackle the next stage of your project pipeline.
Consider which skill requirements appear across multiple projects. You may have one or two experts in those areas on staff now, but the right training strategy will enable you to build those capabilities more widely within your team and give you the resources you need to fully support your project portfolio.
Look at what your competitors are doing
It’s possible that others in your industry are tackling types of projects that haven’t crossed your radar yet. Look for opportunities to develop key skills in-house that will position you for success as your business evolves.
If the competition keeps skills on staff that you currently outsource, consider the financial return on training your team members in those capabilities. Your competitors may have already done the math and found that internal resources are more cost effective.
Ask your team what additional skills they’d like to develop
Tapping into the frontline perspective is important. The value of certain skills may not be obvious at the leadership level, but your employees likely recognize how additional education would empower them to be more productive, to take on more complex responsibilities, and to build the team’s core capabilities.
Your team members’ opinions of a particular skill’s value may be different than yours. You don’t want to miss signals around emerging skills, industry- or project-specific capabilities, or even fading skills, such as those where technology or other factors have lessened the need for team members to be experts in an area. Employees’ input and buy-in is vital in shaping an effective and forward-looking training program.