pProject management training doesn’t have to be boring. Budgets, timelines and the dreaded scope creep are certainly very weighty
matters worthy of study, but sometimes it helps to look at things
through a different lens. Instead of
heading off to a day-long lecture,
project managers may want to mix
things up a bit.
Gerald Haman uses everything from
karaoke to an oxygen machine in his
workshops. Yet he still manages to take
his job seriously.
“Everything we do is focused on real
business issues,” says Mr. Haman, president of SolutionPeople Innovation, a
coaching and training company in
Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Project managers come to his sessions armed with questions about the
projects they’re working on and,
hopefully, leave with new strategies
Applying a method based on the four
quadrants of the brain, for instance, Mr.
Haman has participants use flip cards to
guide them as they transition from analyzing project needs to activating project
plans. To complement this exercise,
computer-simulated mind mapping
helps people visualize a project from
start to finish.
In other cases, a team might be
tasked with rewriting the lyrics to a
pop song so it’s relevant to project
It may not be as crazy as it sounds.
And it actually may do the trick for
Unlike other corporate players, project
managers require a different approach,
says John Storm, president of
BrainStorm Network LLC, Norman,
“Sometimes they get so deep in the
details, they don’t have the tools to
see what they could have done better,”
THE HUMAN ELEMENT
One look at the plethora of educational providers available for project managers is enough to prove that there’s no
shortage of training options out there.
Still, there’s a reason some trainers
are turning away from the usual
PowerPoint presentations to throw
project managers as far outside their
comfort zones as possible. The profession’s heavy focus on planning, scheduling and other details may actually
stifle the very communication skills
that enable teams to function effectively
in the first place.
“We tend to find the project management role forces you down the route
of being a planner, a scheduler, where
you’re time-lining everything. That
means you become quite a linear
thinker,” says Melanie Franklin, CEO
of Maven Training Ltd., London,
Although some people enter the profession with strong communication
skills, they often end up overriding their
“The biggest weapon project managers have is their interpersonal skills,”
she says. “The human element is where
their edge with
by Clare Curley