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Job/task-related training (#6 in the series Deming’s 14 Points in Project Management)
By Josh Nankivel

Dr. W. Edwards Deming recently re-introduced to me in my Project Performance and Quality Assurance class. I have heard of him before and touched on some of his philosophy in other classes, but focused much more in-depth this time. The majority of his philosophy around quality and organizational management resonate with me. So, I’ve decided to do a series of articles on Deming’s 14 points, and how they relate specifically to the field of project management. I may decide to not touch on all of them or I may. I am not really sure at this point.

A quality organization understands the value of the people who work in it. The same goes for project management. Training project managers, analysts, and everyone else who regularly works on projects in the company methodology, soft skills, etc. can bring significant rewards.

Many companies use the cop-out of “on the job training” to sidestep any responsibility to have a formal system in place to ensure their people are constantly learning how to do their jobs better. I am not saying that OJT isn’t valuable, but it can’t be the only training “effort” put forth by the powers that be.

The companies I have experience with have the following resources and programs in place:

  • A project resource center with books, periodicals, and other materials
  • Time specifically scheduled for training and learning each month
  • Presenters, either from the team or externally, giving a talk monthly to the whole group
  • A significant amount of funds in the budget earmarked for training
  • Sending a few people each year to seminars and events like the PMI Global Congress, etc…, and then those people present what they learned to the whole group when they get back
  • A formal mentor program whereby new employees are paired with a veteran
  • Company methodology and process training

There are many other ways to show commitment to project management training and education, these are just a few. Please leave your ideas and experience about best practices as a comment below.

Josh Nankivel is the Vice Chair of Special Projects for the Students of Project Management SIG of PMI, and a project management student/enthusiast. His website is http://www.pmstudent.com.

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