Project Management Training for Non Project Managers

Project Management Training Isn’t Just for Project Managers!

As a corporate trainer and keynote speaker, I’m amazed by how often I’m asked to provide project management training or present project management focused talks for non project management audiences.  I really shouldn’t be though because my decades of experience as a project management practitioner and instructor has certainly taught me that EVERYONE needs project management skills because virtually everyone is a project manager.  No, you may not have ever held the title, but you’ve certainly managed many projects in your personal and processional life.  If you’ve planned a kid’s birthday party or a family event, you’ve managed a project!

So here are a few of my favorite project management skills/tips that virtually everyone can use to enhance their effectiveness.

  • Conduct kickoff meetings to start new projects.  Although it doesn’t have to be terribly formal, it’s so helpful to begin new projects by bringing key participants together to discuss key elements, define goals and scope, and clarify any areas of confusion.  This video provides tips for designing an effective project kickoff meeting.
  • Manage the project with a project schedule.  Again, it doesn’t have to be the most sophisticated MS Office Gantt Chart.  I managed complex projected using a spreadsheet just fine so the tool isn’t what’s important.  Instead, the focus should be on identifying chronological phases, key tasks, milestones, time estimates and owners.  Once those are documented, use that single document to serve as a focal point to help manage subsequent project related meetings and discussions.  Track actual timing against estimates to keep track of whether you project is behind/on/ahead of schedule.
  • Periodically check in with the team to debrief what’s working/what’s not.  Don’t make the classic mistake of waiting until the project is over and conducting a 5 minute drive by debrief.  Take the time periodically to check in to ask key questions:
    • What’s working?
    • What should we do differently?
    • Are we behind/ahead of schedule? Why?
    • Are we having any resource issues?
    • Are our meetings effective?  If not, what do we need to change?
    • Are any processes broken? What can we do to fix them?

More important than asking the questions is taking action to continuously improve the project.

For more information watch 5 Common Project Management Mistakes…