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How to Drive your Project Organisation’s Professional Development Plan

Project Team TrainingBusinesses wanting to move forward in order to keep up with market forces need to successfully deliver projects put in place for their strategic value.

The increased importance this places on the value of projects, project managers and project leaders means there has never been a greater need for talent development and performance improvement.

Successful execution of strategic projects is dependent on the right skills and competencies within the project teams. However, identifying the right training and educational support for your team needs can be a daunting exercise – particularly when there are resources constraints, convoluted processes already in place or if other stakeholders have influence over decisions.

State your case

Project TrainingPreparing a business case outlining how project work could be done more efficiently and effectively – as well as stating the facts and resources already available – will allow you to determine the goals you are trying to achieve and the training you need to get you there.

When doing this, the following questions should be asked of the training:

  • Will it answer a specific need for an individual or small group?
  • Will it have a broad scope and necessitate sustained investment?
  • Will it be cascaded into your annual workforce plan and operating growth?
  • Will it be all, or a combination of, the above?

The business case can then be framed on the following four pillars:

1. Why are we developing our people?

Draft primary learning objectives for individuals and the wider team that address perceived skill and competency gaps, meet opportunities, enhance employee engagement, talent-retention and career advancement.

2. Where are we?

Outline current skills and competencies, denote existing skills gaps and consider what next-level skills and competencies will be desirable given the business’ strategic direction.

3. Who needs to be trained?

Strategically determine who should be trained and developed. Create a matrix listing team members with notes on their high-to-low potential. Address how training will help in their day-to-day responsibilities and how it will help to drive performance and spur organisational success. Decisions can then be made on training styles and modalities that best suit the individuals and fit into the fabric of the larger talent development strategy.

4. When does this need to happen?

Decide whether you are looking for a short-term gain or a long-term approach, focused on skills that you want to standardise and perpetuate as part of the larger talent development strategy. Factor in criteria regarding learner availability, business cycles, competing priorities, industry and economic trends when outlining realistic goals against the calendar.

Engaged and encouraged

Engaging Learning and Development (L&D), Human Resources (HR) and other organisational and external resources can help you to incorporate key considerations into the plan, as well as facilitate the subsequent requirements gathering to help turn it into a reality.

Experts can also be great allies when it comes to incorporating critical considerations, vetting recommendations and identifying learning partners that best meet the outlined needs.

The following considerations should be taken into account in order to encourage successful partnerships:

  • Does your plan identify and address the root cause or seek a quick fix?
  • How will it be funded?
  • What are your unique training requirements?
  • What training modalities best fit your needs?

Training and development should never be a one-off transaction. The following suggestions can be used to track and share evidence of your short and long-term gains, in order to make it an investment.

  • Gather quantitative and qualitative evaluations and other feedback from learners, not just immediately but over time. There are generic tools for this which can be adapted to your business situation and your learners in order to glean better data and see how the training and development is making a difference.
  • Obtain a comprehensive report from your training programme provider, including an executive summary to share. Conduct a collaborative debrief and ongoing reviews with in-house and external coaches and consultants to extract the most value from your investment.
  • Answer the question: Did we achieve our goals for performance improvement?
  • Assemble a summary report and programme assessment for HR, L&D, your boss or other executive’s sponsors and interested peers and colleagues.
  • Highlight the immediate and expected long-term Return on Investment (ROI). Track those returns against the metrics you established for how project management training would positively impact business performance.

These before and after views of the overall business results should be evident and widely shared. So also should the indirect benefits such as heightened energy, increased employee engagement, enhanced morale and improved retention – all of which play a role in positive business outcomes.

Every company handles professional development processes and decisions differently based on its size, culture, budget, structure and professional development maturity.

Project Organisation's Professional Development Plan

What doesn’t change is the importance of getting the right people in the room to begin the conversation to identify a long-term development strategy with clear short and long-term learning objectives.

As organisational complexity grows and everyday performance pressure rises, it’s more challenging than ever to make the time to strategically assess your project management training and development needs and implement that training within the larger organisation.

It’s also more important than ever to derive the resulting business performance improvements that will allow your new initiatives to come to fruition and your business to soar.

Project Team TrainingTo leverage the expertise and perspectives of internal experts, stakeholders and decision-makers plus ensure that you are aligned throughout the process, read the full guide on: Getting the Training Your Team Needs Now for Success.


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About Rebecca Leitch

Rebecca Leitch
Rebecca Leitch is a marketeer at TwentyEighty Strategy Execution - focused on bringing new project management content for the PM community.

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