Why Project Management Training is Hard (and Important)
It has been said that the day you stop learning is the day you start dying. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen. But, one thing you can be sure of is the day you stop learning as a project manager is the day your project management career begins to feel a little sick. A little time passes and the days of not learning turn into weeks, and those weeks then turn into years. Your project management career no longer has just a low grade fever but is now grasping for its last breath. Your project management career is near death.
Why? Because you stopped learning new things that would keep your career moving forward. There used to be a time many years ago when you could do something the same way for a decade or more before you noticed that things changed. That is no longer the case. In today’s fast paced environment technology, processes, equipment, and even people are in a steady state of churn. It seems that every 6-9 months there is a noticeable and material change in the way business is conducted.
Why Project Management Training is Hard
“…project management training is hard…” you may say. True. It’s hard for a number of reasons:
- It Takes Time – You are already strapped as a project manager. You have a full schedule that starts first thing in the morning and sometimes goes late into the night. You may find yourself traveling on a regular basis. You have family, friends, and other responsibilities outside of work. Now you are expected to find the time to keep up with project management training? That’s right. It does take time and you are already busy as a project manager. But, it’s up to you to prioritize and move things around so you don’t lose out on this most important aspect of your professional development.
- It Requires Change– What do you do after you’ve taken some great project management training courses? Do you go back and continue to do things the same way? No way! Hopefully have gleaned one or two things out of this training that you want to apply at your company. You go back and talk to others about the change you want to make and you may be met with some resistance. “But, we’ve always done it this way and it works just fine…” they may protest.
Or, you may find yourself with too much on your plate already to deal with the short-term upheaval that occurs when change is implemented. You’ll need to overcome both hurdles in order to really make a difference in your company with your new found knowledge.
- It Costs Money – a project management training class can cost next to nothing up to thousands of dollars depending upon which path you choose. It can be as inexpensive as learning on the job, attending project management association events, or reading some books about project management (HINT: If you are a PMI-certified project manager you can receive Category C PDU credits by reading and reporting on project management related books). The other side of the spectrum is full-day or even week long courses offered by professional training companies. The middle of the road is courses you can take at anytime and anywhere by listening to them.Using the time you commute from one place to another is a great way to maximize this low-cost option for receiving project management training. Something else to keep in mind when it comes to cost…always ask your company to pay for this training.
It’s easy to make the case that you will go out and get this project management training and then bring back what you learned to share with everyone else. This could be in the form of 1-on-1 meetings or perhaps a mini-conference that you conduct based upon what you just learned. All they can say is No and they are more likely to say Yes once they see how passionate you are about learning and how this will benefit the company as a whole.
Why Project Management Training is Important
Project management training is important because it allows you build upon your project management skills and keep up with the changes in technology, equipment, processes, and even people. The following are additional reasons why project management training is something that should be on the top of your list:
- There are New People Joining the Company– People come and go in companies. The days of 30 year careers in one place are long gone. The average duration of someone at a company these days is 5-7 years with many staying just a few years at a time and then moving on to their next employment opportunity.This means there are people coming and going in your company as well. These new people come in with their ways of doing things and want to influence how the company does business, manages projects, and gets work out the door. If you have not availed yourself to project management training opportunities then you will be standing there like a bump on the log while changes occur around, and sometimes, in spite of you! Keep yourself constantly invigorated and energized by taking advantage of as many project management training opportunities that you can.
- There are Existing People Learning New Things – The second reason why project management trainingis important is because there are existing people that are learning new things. These are the people at your company who may have been there for some time but have chosen to reinvent themselves over and over again. They may have started as a project coordinator and worked their way up to Program Manager or PMO Director by constantly learning and applying new things. You will quickly find yourself outpaced by these people that have a thirst for knowledge and know how this can be implemented to bring greater value to the company.
- It Keeps you Effective – Could you imagine choosing not to learn how to use e-mail when it came out many years ago? “No thanks…I’ll stick with the post office and this fancy fax machine I have on my desk. It’s all I need”….you may have reasoned. Ludicrous! The benefits of using this new technology have been exponential and changed the way business is done and projects are managed. The same principle applies when it comes to project management training and learning new things that can make you more effective in your job as a project manager. Don’t turn your back on project management training opportunities that will allow you to implement a new technology or streamline a process. It is these types of things that will keep you effective and up to par, if not ahead, of the new person coming in or the existing person learning new things.
Is project management training hard? Absolutely! It takes time, requires change, and costs money. Is it worth it? No doubt! If you find yourself standing still on the tracks of your project management career you will unfortunately find yourself run over and left behind by the progress everyone else is making.
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