Issues that are of immediate importance consume much of a PM’s time. This is especially true when the schedule is busy with active projects and additional initiatives are waiting in the wings to launch. Near-term problems such as schedule delays and funding concerns are just a few of the items vying for attention.
As a PM, it’s difficult to pull your focus away from the urgent matters of the day to think about the future benefits of a good PM training program. But instruction and guidance—for individuals as well as your entire team—are vital to project success.
If you’re finding challenges in unexpected places, or if your projects continue to drop into the same pitfalls over and over, it may be time for some additional education. Depending on how much your organization has grown and how often you engage new stakeholders in your projects, a refresher on the fundamentals may also be in order.
Consider some of these red-flag issues that signal your project team could use some updated PM training.
1 – Incoming status reports are a jumbled mix of information
Routine progress updates provided by team members are an important component in making sure your project is on track. When that data isn’t consistent from one functional area to the next, it can cause big problems. Metrics may be missing, information might be submitted in different formats or using different measures—one group identifies remaining tasks as percentages while another offers estimated completion dates, for example. To avoid the ongoing risk of misinterpreting or misrepresenting the incoming information, design your PM training program to help team members better understand how your organization’s reporting methodology is structured and what type of standards they should use.
2 – Stakeholders are confused about the project’s goals
As a project moves through the planning phase, its achievables may evolve. And though this process should be wrapped up by the time the project is officially launched, final information about goals and expectations isn’t always relayed clearly across the stakeholder base. Some of your team members may not know they’re using obsolete or incomplete data to assign priorities and assess risks. It all comes back to good communication skills, but those aren’t acquired by accident. A strong training program is essential in ensuring that everyone on the project team knows the best techniques to build and maintain healthy information flows.
3 – Team members aren’t accountable for their activities or timelines
Though this seems like a straightforward accountability issue, it may be rooted in a lack of training. In many cases, stakeholders don’t fully participate in the development of the project plan. As a result, they don’t have a high level of individual commitment and there’s nothing to drive their personal accountability. Good PM training emphasizes the importa ce of team participation in developing and managing project plans. It also helps to pull the team together around a shared set of goals and a desire to move the initiative to a successful completion. This makes accountability a much higher priority for everyone.
4 – Risk assessment efforts are hit or miss
When risk assessments aren’t executed consistently, your initiatives are more likely to experience some unpleasant surprises. Lack of resource availability, budget overages, and schedule delays are just the beginning. Though risk management has its own training niche, additional instruction on good project management techniques will help your team members recognize where risk areas may lurk within large, complex, high-impact, or long-duration projects. The right instruction will also arm them with the tools and techniques to properly assess potential risks and develop effective strategies to address or mitigate them.