When traditional training channels inside your organization are strained, but you find you need training, it is time to get creative.
First, make sure you have a clear understanding of your training needs. Project Managers are in affect “Mini CEO’s” for their projects. The skill requirements are broad — from core business skills to finance, management, leadership, communication, and more. While it is important to have a focused competence in project management, don’t forget that the best project managers — like the best in most fields — are the most well-rounded in their search for life-long learning.
Cadence has worked closely with the Project Management Institute’s Career Framework initiative. Members and credential holders have free access to this valuable tool: a diagnostic tool that assesses your skill level across over 100 discrete characteristics. From project and portfolio management to budgeting and so much more, you will have a roadmap that not only defines your level of proficiency in each field, but highlights the holes in your background for future development.
Once you have your skill audit, put your plan together. Which skills would you like to hone and craft in the next year? Next six months? Next quarter? When building your plan, like any good project plan, it is critical that you assign a date to your own skill development activities. With dates in mind, you will be prepared to look for resources to meet your personal skill development needs.
Where to look? Volunteer! First, contact your local PMI chapter. You can find a list of local chapters through PMI.org. Chapters are constantly looking for energetic and enthusiastic partners to help develop local membership. Do you need to polish your financial skills? Volunteer to take on budget and finance. Any of a number of roles and committees exist within your local chapter, and as a result of your volunteerism, you gain access to a library of resources and training opportunities, in some cases at reduced, or no cost at all.
Training firms like Cadence are an excellent source of additional bite-sized training opportunities. We provide a number of free resources, webinars, ebooks for our partners. Consider a lunch-and-learn session, for example; a more interactive environment for knowledge sharing and continued team development which often inspires team members to push for additional skill development themselves. We do our best to pack nuggets of gold into every podcast and newsletter, and can inspire even more opportunity to learn, and to connect with the companies that are driving the industry forward.
Finally, remember to think broadly. The management and leadership spectrum, even within the field of project management, is vast in scope. Remember that the goal of your training and development efforts is not to earn another certificate, but to add skills and tools to your personal catalog, and to deliver results today.