Project Portfolio Management Software – Tips For Success
The 5 Secrets Your Project Portfolio Management Software Trainers Should Know
Back when we managed projects with a simple spreadsheet, training was a straightforward affair. The software didn’t do much and the users didn’t need to process project data in multiple different ways, from their tablet or smart phone, in real-time.
Today, project software is different. The current breed of PPM software is fully-featured with lots of flexibility. It’s designed to cope with today’s projects, which are often innovative and non-repetitive – a far cry from the cookie cutter project plans that used to be enough for most projects.
That makes the role of PPM trainer even more essential to the success of your organization. Without effective training, users will struggle to get the best out of their software, and companies will fail to get good returns on their investment in PPM processes. Good PPM training saves money, builds confidence and ensures that your project teams and senior managers have the information they need to make informed decisions about projects.
So what should you look for in a trainer? Here are 5 secrets that your PPM trainers should know.
#1: Interactive doesn’t always mean hands-on
Trainers who work in a classroom always try to make their classes interactive with hands-on sessions where participants can practice using PPM software. But interactive training doesn’t have to be only hands-on sessions. Training courses in classrooms can make use of a lot of group discussion and exercises without having to always be in front of the PC.
Encouraging participants to discuss scenarios together and addressing their concerns about using the software in their company are other ways to get the group to be interactive, but without them getting square eyes in front of the screen. A mix of PC time and discussion time creates a great environment in the classroom.
#2: Training should be consistent as well as relevant
We all know that participants should only attend courses that are relevant to their job role. It’s a waste of time and money to send a project assistant to a PPM course if they won’t be responsible for entering data or using the reports in their current job.
However, training courses should also be consistently presented. That means that material in one course should build on the material in other courses, and that any particular training approach from the organization is reinforced. An organization’s course list should interconnect and present a whole, consistent picture of the software.
The great thing about using certified trainers is that they can ensure all the courses link appropriately together so that your delegates get the best possible outcome from their training.
#3: Participants who join in learn more
Hopefully all the participants enjoy their PPM training, whether they are taking classroom-based modules or online courses. Joining in with group exercises and PPM scenarios using software helps the information ‘stick’. A participant who doesn’t contribute much will get less out of the training and they won’t be able to remember as much when they return to the office.
Joining in is also a way to build links with other delegates, whether they are from your own company or not. It makes the training more enjoyable for everyone, and the more fun the class, the more people will remember when they get back to work. Asking participants to share practical examples of how they will use the software on their projects is a good way of getting them to share anecdotes, which are also remembered more than textbook exercises.
#4: Participants and managers evaluate training differently
A delegate will evaluate the training based on how much they have learned and how it can be applied in the office. Can they produce the PPM reports that the project sponsors want? Can they calculate EVM efficiently? Can they correct problems with timesheets or schedules?
A manager will evaluate the training on whether the employee returns to the team with the information and skills required to work more effectively. Will they be able to deliver project and corporate objectives faster and cheaper to a higher degree of quality now that they have had the training? They take a bigger picture view.
The trainer should try to address both of these during the course by explaining the corporate benefits of PPM software but also ensuring that the end users – the participants – have the confidence to use their new skills. And that they can remember what they need to do when they get back to work!
#5: You don’t have to show them everything!
PPM software like Primavera P6 is very powerful. It has so many features that it can be overwhelming to delegates. If you try to demonstrate enhanced risk management and provide four or five different routes through the process covering all options, you could very easily lose the attention of your audience.
Trainers can demonstrate the flexibility of the software by using different scenarios, instead of trying to cram all the features into one convoluted example. Allowing the participants time at the end to follow up with questions provides the opportunity to demonstrate any additional, powerful features of the software. Many PPM courses build on the knowledge gained from earlier courses, so participants can attend advanced training if they need to understand the additional tools and features.
The success of PPM training, like all training, depends on the skills of the trainer and the materials used during the course. All our PPM trainers are certified with loads of classroom and practical experienced so they can work with your participants to get the full benefit from your PPM software.