Preparing for a Microsoft Project Course Pays Off!

If you’re planning an on-site Microsoft Project training course for your team, here are a few factors to take into account which will boost your return on investment.

Taking a group of people away from their usual work to attend a training course is expensive – it’s not just the cost of the training itself, but also the cost of having participants away from the work they’d otherwise be doing. And everyone’s busy these days.

With Microsoft Project training, it’s an even greater issue. As the old-model central project office declines and we see the rise of the ad-hoc project manager, everyone in the project management sphere is doing more work than before on a greater number of projects, and usually with no more resources.

So, you’ll want your time spent in MS Project training to directly impact on your productivity in a positive way. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Come to the course with a real-life project in mind

Rather than attend with an intention to gain a generic overview of the software, come with a project in mind in which you’re involved. It might be in the planning phase, or it might already be in progress. The more real-life project scenarios you can tie to the training course, the more likely you’ll be able to apply the training back at your desk. A generic training scenario, where participants learn some generalised skills and then attempt to apply them back at their workspace will be less likely to work with Microsoft Project.

Make sure self-taught Microsoft Project users in your organisation attend

We’ve written in previous blogs that Microsoft Project can be considered less intuitive than other software applications. Whereas a person can learn the principles of, say, Microsoft Excel, and then continue to self-educate, our experience is that the self-taught Microsoft Project user will have many more knowledge gaps than the average self-taught Microsoft Excel user. Make sure they attend – we can guarantee they’ll walk away from the course glad they came.

Keep the group size as small as practical

It’s not uncommon to see Excel training courses with 10 to 15 participants. With Microsoft Project we believe that the smaller the group, the more questions participants will be able to ask. These questions will often tie back to their actual projects. A Microsoft Project class of 3 to 8 participants will see productivity soar after the course. Remember, the smaller the number, the less theoretical the course will be.

Make sure users have brushed up on their basic computer skills before attending

Often this won’t be an issue, as many attendees will already be very competent computer users. Where attendees are less familiar with PCs and the use of a mouse, course productivity and post-course application of the software will be low. A hypothetical example of where this may happen would be in a situation where a team of site managers, with no real PC experience, have been sent to a Microsoft Project course in order to learn how to move their manual project management to a computer-based methodology. Increase their computer skills before attending the course and they’ll triple the value they’ll get from the course.


 

Paul Silverman is a Director of ProjectTMA Pty. Ltd. As well as being a senior Microsoft Project training consultant he works with clients to help them incorporate Microsoft Project into their project management methodology. For more information call 1300 363 822 or email him at paul.silverman@projecttma.com.au.

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