Course Outcomes

This introductory project management course will:

  • Provide an overview of the project management process.
  • Introduce a range of project documents and templates.
  • Suggest tactics for dealing with scope creep.
  • Prepare participants to manage common issues that most project teams encounter at some point.

Course Overview

Since the beginning of time, project management has existed in some form or another. Think about it; the ancient ziggurats didn’t materialize overnight. They required thousands of man-hours to construct, and you can bet there was a project manager of some sort at the helm of the operation. No matter the era, moving activities from point “A” to point “Z,” or for that matter point “B,” requires discipline and a plan. This interactive workshop focuses on the basic components of project management and skills people need to drive work forward.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the importance of clearly defining a project, identifying sponsors, and generating buy-in.
  • Gather project requirements.
  • Craft a project charter.
  • Articulate assumptions, risks, milestones, and other elements associated with a project.
  • Create a work breakdown structure.
  • Apply techniques for dealing with scope creep and changing priorities.
  • Employ a range of interpersonal skills to further a project’s goals.
  • Develop an action plan to address project shortcomings.
  • Close out a project.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Defining a Project: Examining the Essentials

This workshop begins with a discussion about what participants already know about project management: the elements most projects contain, the roadblocks that often appear, signs that a project is going well, and indications that there are problems on the horizon. Following that introductory activity, we will review the difference between a project and a program or process. Then, we will talk about the project management lifecycle and the role of a project manager.

Pre-Flight Preparation: Before a Project Takes Off

Failing to ask enough questions upfront is one of the biggest traps into which project managers fall. This course component looks at the essential inquiries a project team should make before jumping into the work. Using a case study around employee wellness, participants will work in groups to determine the questions that should be answered before resources are put into the endeavor. Following that exercise, we will consider 20 questions managers should ask before their projects get off the ground.

Cats and Dogs: The Importance of Clear Communication

This part of the course explores communication between project managers, frontline staff members, and customers. Working through an experiential origami exercise, participants will learn a range of project management lessons: confirming requirements with customers, understanding hard versus soft requirements, communicating with workers, and maintaining quality control. During this interactive experience, the group will either avoid or fall into common communication traps. After the exercise, we will talk about why certain events did or didn’t occur and lessons learned from the experience.

Get It In Writing: Essential Project Management Documents

No matter the project, a certain level of documentation should exist in order to keep everyone informed and aware. This portion of the course looks at such essential project management texts as project charters, risk registers, changelogs, and milestone lists. Working in teams, participants will consider a business problem and create a simple project charter. Their document will include the charter’s purpose and the project’s mission, scope, stakeholders, team roles and responsibilities, norms, decision-making and voting protocols, risk management issues, assumptions, scope, communication, and other elements related to project.

Work Breakdown Structures (WBS): The Nitty Gritty

Once the top-level decisions have been made, it’s time to get to work. This is where the WBS comes in. Depending on the project, this structure can be simple or complicated, but regardless of complexity, it should break tasks into management chunks the project team can understand and oversee. Using a dinner party example, the group will create a WBS to document tasks both big and small. Next, they will create a Gantt chart based on their WBS effort.

Scope, Hope, and Effort: Avoiding the Creeps

Creep happens, and good project managers know how to control it. This portion of the workshop looks at scope creep, managing workload, and working efficiently and effectively. During this part of the course, we will talk about specific tools project managers can put in place to avoid most problems before they occur and address those that do pop up. We will also look at five types of status reports and how to use them to manage project tasks. 

Rapport Report: Maintaining Relationships

Reporting to a project owner, sponsor, or client requires tact and finesse.  In this part of the program, participants will explore the power of influence and practice solving cases related to the communications associated with project management. We will work through a range of scenarios: tactics for staying visible, communicating bad news, sharing the good news, and promoting a team’s work.

Don’t Go Yoko!: Breaking Up

Project work is often intense, especially when the end is near.  Concluding on a good note is critical for motivating the team for the next project endeavor.  This final section discusses project debriefing, celebrations, and methods for incorporating best practices into future activities.

Upon completion of this session, participants will have a clear understanding of the fundamentals of running a successful project.