Human Resource Training in Project Management
The case analysis presented in Workplace learning to improve it project management (Damare, 2008) of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH) illustrates how effective team-based and individual training can be in streamlining project management performance across a large, diverse public health organization. The intent of this analysis is to evaluate how human resource training within project management environments accelerates strategic and tactical objective performance, in addition to reducing the costs to attain these results. The many benefits to long-term learning and morale are also evaluated in this analysis (Crawford, Leonard, Jones, 2011).
Best Practices in Human Resource Training within Project Management
The study of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health illustrates several critical best practices for human resource training in project management environments (Damare, 2008). Additional literature review illustrates how long-term learning is being achieved in project management curriculum and learning scenarios by incorporating scaffolding, or the development of individualized learning programs to ensure each professional has a program aligned to their unique strengths and weaknesses (McNamara, Parry, Lee, Pitt-Catsouphes, 2012). In conjunction with scaffolding, there reliance on curriculum specifically designed to ensure a high degree of autonomy, mastery and purpose throughout the learning cycle is critically important in project management-based learning scenarios and programs (McNamara, Parry, Lee, Pitt-Catsouphes, 2012). With these learning best practices anchoring human resources training in project management environments, the specifics of how the core concepts of project management itself are defined.
The first and most significant best practice is defining a teaching framework across the entire project life cycle, encompassing concept, planning, implementation and closing, which are the key phases as defined in the DMH study (Damare, 2008). The project life cycle is multidimensional, incorporating roles from project management, business analysts and contract managers. All three of these have unique and differentiated critical success factors that they have in creating, collaborating on and completing projects (Dexter, 2010). In addition, each of these teams have completely different metrics they are evaluated on, different career paths, and completely different strategies for getting work done (Little, 2011). All of these differences in expectations, perceptions of projects, and program responsibilities can only be unified in a common direction through concerted, continual training in project management (Dexter, 2010).
The second best practice of human resource training within project management environments is to create a common taxonomy of how knowledge is captured, used and propagated or shared throughout an organization and its extended ecosystem of partners (Little, 2011). This is one of the best practices of human resource training on several levels, the most valuable being the ability of shared knowledge and insight to create shared expectations and trust (Crawford, Leonard, Jones, 2011). As individual departments share knowledge, insight and experience trust becomes an accelerator across the entire organization, making collaborative benefits accrue in each phase of the project life cycle (Lyso, Mjoen, Levin, 2011). The defining of individualized scaffolding or customized learning programs must be in the context of a curriculum broad enough to encompass the roles of project manager, business analyst and contract manager however if it is to be effective, as is shown in the DMH program (Damare, 2008). By having a unified curriculum, the weakest areas of project management can quickly to dealt with an improved as well. This specific area of best practices looks to accelerate and internalize the learning necessary for project managers to better understand user analysis for example (Little, 2011). The curriculum structure must be agile enough to take into account the specific learning needs of project managers, business analysts and contract managers yet rigid enough to ensure that user analysis and user requirements are well-understood and strengthened (Holzle, 2010). This doesn’t have to be a dichotomy but can instead be complimentary and supported with effective individualized learning programs creating through scaffolding (Najjar, 2008).
A third best practice is the ability to create a collaborative, agile and customer-focused project management team that can flex across roles easily, sharing information, insight and intelligence (Lyso, Mjoen, Levin, 2011). Trust is an accelerator of organizational change. The greater the levels of knowledge sharing there are, the better the project management performance all predicated on higher levels of trust fueling high performance (Little, 2011). Training not only provides skills, it galvanizes project management teams to a common direction.
Human resources training in a project management environment is critically important for any multi-divisional, complex organization to succeed over time. The intent of this analysis has been to show through literature review what the most critical key success factors and best practices are for attaining high levels of project team performance. In addition, the role of interdepartmental and intra-group trust, acting as accelerators, is also critically important as well. Implicit in any project management training program is the need for creating a high degree of insight into the role of project managers, business analysts and contract managers, unifying all of them to a common mission and focus.
Crawford, J., Leonard, L.N.K., & Jones, K. (2011). The human resources influence in shaping it competence. Industrial Management + Data Systems, 111(2), 164-183.
Damare, B. (2008). Workplace learning to improve it project management. Public Manager, 37(4), 45-50.
Dexter, B. (2010). Critical success factors for developmental team projects. Team Performance Management, 16(7), 343-358.
Holzle, K. (2010). Designing and implementing a career path for project managers. International Journal of Project Management, 28(8), 779.
Little, B. (2011). The principles of successful project management. Human Resource Management International Digest, 19(7), 36-39.
Lyso, I.H., Mjoen, K., & Levin, M. (2011). Using collaborative action learning projects to increase the impact of management development. International Journal of Training & Development, 15(3), 210-224.
McNamara, T.K., Parry, E., Lee, J., & Pitt-Catsouphes, M. (2012). The effect of training on organizational performance: Differences by age composition and cultural context. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(6), 1226.
Najjar, M. (2008). On scaffolding adaptive teaching prompts within virtual labs. International Journal of Distance Education Technologies, 6(2), 35-54.
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