Maybe you’re wondering about whether or not you need the training to be an excellent project manager. Perhaps experience alone will sharpen you into a tremendous leader, prepared to take on any project that comes your way. Let’s talk about the importance of project management training and bettering yourself as a project manager.
Here at Velociteach, we are firm believers in a balance of experience and education. The training you can receive in project management will turn you into a more confident team leader, give you the skills to motivate your team and keep them on track, and organize your interdepartmental communications in a highly efficient manner.
Project management training will provide you with plenty of tools. All of which would be difficult (not to mention time- and effort-consuming) to learn through experience.
From being a solid leader to having top-tier organizational skills, here are some of the qualities and techniques you can improve in yourself through training.
As a project manager, you are the team leader and the interface between those working on a project and the people expecting results: the customer.
Setting up a well-structured road map for your project is a great way to ensure that you’ll hit your deadlines. Dedicating time to project management training will help build the skills you need to create and execute successful plans.
But sometimes, there’s more to it than that.
Of course, the objective of delivering a successful project on time to your client and senior management is always at the top of your priorities list. But taking care of your team should be just as important.
Protecting your team from burnout might include negotiating with the client and upper management. If their expectations are unrealistic or the project hits unavoidable road bumps, then it’s your job to explain that your team won’t be able to work themselves into the ground to reach prior targets.
This is negotiation, and it takes a lot of experience, communication skills, and management techniques to master.
In tandem with accurately estimating your project’s timelines and objectives, negotiation is a powerful tool for you as a project manager to get your project done on time while also reducing the amount of burnout your team may face.
One of the key principles of the agile methodology is to promote sustainable development. Your team can only handle so much even when working at maximum proficiency. Maintaining a constant pace is more valuable than scratching your way to the finish line.
Kaizen, or Continuous Improvement, is one of the 5 Core Values at Velociteach. Every project team member and leader should embrace the mindset of continuous improvement.
One of the best ways to do this is to have an effective and useful review system for yourself, your team, and your project.
Having a form of daily, weekly, and monthly constructive feedback sessions is one of the marks of a great project team. They regularly pause, reflect on how the work is going, and look for signs of environmental change that could impact their goals. With all this data in mind, healthy teams then look for areas of improvement.
This practice applies to all projects, regardless of the approach, whether predictive or adaptive. The agile manifesto’s 12th principle states that the team should analyze itself and determine whether it can become more effective, and if so, make the proper adjustments.
Many project managers started their careers in technical or unrelated fields and ended up becoming leaders. Perhaps this evolution was due to their natural abilities or because life just pushed them in that direction.
But whether you want to end up in project management or not, having the training to hone your leadership skills will improve your productivity and the relationships you have with your team and clients.
Leadership can be a fairly vague concept. “What is it to be a good leader?” In our opinion, a great leader has to know how to inspire their teams, organize the loose ends, and direct multiple people at once from the start to the end of a successful project.
But it’s also about relating to your team and being someone they can look up to, whether things are going well or stress levels are rising. As author Jim Collins states, the best leaders (what he calls Level-5 Leaders) exhibit a powerful mixture of “personal humility and indomitable will.”
90% of the role of a project manager is communications. If communicating between teams and positions isn’t your strong suit, this is a skill you want to sharpen, or else project management might not be for you.
It’s the project manager’s job to organize and communicate all of this information effectively.
On top of that, the project manager should set proper communication expectations right from the start.
A couple of ways to do that are creating a well-thought project charter for your internal stakeholders and a communication plan with your external stakeholders.
Training helps you learn how to create realistic, achievable project plans, including schedules, budgets, and resource plans.
Beyond the fairly ethereal leadership and project management concepts come the hard skills and results you’ll be expected to produce. Use training to learn how to…
These are all required abilities of a project manager. While you could learn via trial by fire, it might be a little less stressful to pick up these skills through training. Trust me – your team and your customers will appreciate it!
One of the strongest and most important characteristics of a great leader is humility. It’s about taking responsibility when a project fails or even when a bump occurs in the road.
Mistakes are a part of life; sometimes, they’re simply unavoidable. But what separates ordinary leaders from excellent leaders is the ability to accept failure and learn from it.
It’s easy to celebrate those projects that end well… the “wins”. But being able to analyze and learn from your mistakes will make you a much stronger project manager in the future.
By training and improving yourself as a project manager, you bring benefits to yourself, your team, and your whole company.
A company that has professional and educated project managers has an easy time getting everyone on the same page, as they are all speaking the same business language.
Not only that, but as team leaders, project managers can educate others by example. Team members will be able to spot excellence and emulate it within their own position.
Trained project managers bring a focused level of discipline and practice to multiple key areas in the company.
All of this raises the value of the company both internally and externally. Customers can tell when your business has strong leadership in its project management team, and it goes a long way to boost confidence within the client relationship.
One of the best ways to become a trained and confident project manager is to earn your Project Management Professional certification. It’s easier said than done.
The PMP exam is nearly four hours long and has 180 questions that cover a range of topics, from conflict management, to project organizing and preparation, to shareholder communication and negotiation skills, and more.
The PMP is a highly prestigious and globally recognized certification to achieve because only the most diligent and prepared individuals pass this notorious exam.
Don’t be scared away, though. At Velociteach, we’re confident that if you make passing the PMP on your first try your objective, we have the tools and educational resources to help you get there.
Our CEO, Andy Crowe, wrote the book on how to pass the PMP on your first try, and our materials don’t stop there. We offer:
Project management training isn’t just for individuals who are entering the workforce. At all levels, successful project managers should be seeking to expand their existing knowledge. At Velociteach, we offer instructor-led classes for individuals as well as classes for groups covering many “best-practices” topics that are crucial for project managers. In addition, we offer self-paced, online courses for continuing education and exam preparation. We’re here to help you expand your project management knowledge at every step of your journey.
After all, that’s one of the key principles of project management: regular assessment and improvement. At Velociteach, we’re all about Kaizen, so let’s continue to learn, grow, and improve together!