Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Develop Staff Skills Resource and Build a Community Where Capability is Respected.

Staff need to be able to adapt to new situations quickly, in fact they need the capability to perform many varied tasks. But how do you give them the tools, skills and environment they need to the capable in the situations that they face? And how do you ensure that your organisation has the capacity to meet the demands of modern business?

Capability and resource capacity can be purchased via recruitment of permanent and temporary resources to meet immediate needs. However, it is far more cost effective for organisations to have development programmes in place that grow from within, using resources that already know and understand their business.

Investment in training and development are also an important differentiator for staff satisfaction and impacts successful staff retention and lower recruitment costs as these activities mark the organisation as an employer of choice.

The WorkTrends Survey KRI 2007 shows that employee motivation and their ability to execute tasks can be improved by:

• Setting a clear career path programme
• Goal development and monitoring
• Regular feedback sessions with managers
• Tracking Progress

The survey also shows that by focusing on talent management organisations in six countries* questioned showed their employees were more engaged and more satisfied with their jobs and employer companies over all.
*Countries surveyed UK, USA, Brazil, China, Germany and India.

Use your staff’s potential combined with a programme to build a capability community and your business will see a return on investment and reap quantifiable rewards in terms of an efficient and able workforce.

Building both capacity and capability begins with a common step ~ understanding the current level of skills, knowledge and ability for each employee.

If you would like Maven Training to help you build staff capability and organisational resource capacity please call our team on 020 7403 7100

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Project Management 2010 Benchmark Report

As a valued partner of Arras people (Project Management Recruitment) we are helping promote their ‘Project Management Benchmark Report for 2010. This report covers the project management industry in areas such as salaries, rates, gender, current climate, and specific project management areas like professional bodies, competency and the outlook for 2010.

The kind of questions which are to be asked are based around current issues and hot topics within the PPM arena including statistics on salaries, remuneration and day rates so that a database can be created so comparisons can be drawn on last years statistics.

To take part in the survey please visit:

2009 Survey Highlights

  • Recession has hit the project management market, with the majority of professionals fearing redundancies and cuts

  • Over a third of all respondents said they were ‘worse off’ last year and 22% of freelancer experienced decreased rates, with a significant number (11%) experiencing cuts of more than 10%

  • Employees feared better than contractors with salary expectations being met in 2008

  • Project Managers are a resilient lot. Despite the widespread doom and gloom, only 8% described their personal situation as ‘gloomy’, 63% described their situation as ‘steady’ and 18% as ‘neutral’

  • A massive 84% of Project Management Professionals believe they have a significant role to play in helping the UK economy out of its current difficulties

  • Public sector employees are better protected than private. Twice as many private sector employees and 5% more contractors expect rewards to fall in 2009

  • The gender pay gap is not closing

For previous reports please visit: http://www.arraspeople.co.uk/projectmanagementsalarysurvey/2010/projectmanagementbenchmarksurveyreport2010.html

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

I’ve heard change management is beneficial, but I don’t know how it works. What does it involve?

Change Management involves analysing the current capability for change; identifying any resistance and barriers to implementing the change; and then determining an appropriate approach and plan for implementation. The aim is to minimise the level of disruption that individuals, teams and the organisation as a whole experience when the change is introduced. Organisations that are skilled in successfully delivering change will benefit from a decrease in the cost and time required to action the change, together with an increase in the probability of the change being accepted by stakeholders.

For Change Management to be successful an appropriate approach to implementation needs to be in place that focuses on delivering change in a visible, controlled and orderly fashion. Some of the factors that need to be considered in determining the best implementation approach are:

· Investigating and defining the change: Do we know the true scope of the change? Are we clear on what the change vision is? What resistance can we expect, from who, and when? What are the key activities that we need to include in our Change Plan?

· Developing the change: Do we need the support of certain influential stakeholders to ensure successful delivery? Is there support for the change at all levels of the organisation (executive through front line management)?

· Transitioning the change: What training and coaching will be offered to those affected? How will stakeholders be supported through the transition? How will successes be celebrated and new behaviours rewarded? When and how will the newly embedded behaviours, attitudes and beliefs be measured?

Carving the right approach to change requires a sound understanding of Change Management principles. Organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of employing exceptional change teams to deliver successful change – which could explain the increased interest in developing Change Management intelligence.

Maven Training have launched their new Change Management Foundation and Practitioner courses - click here for more information

Friday, 4 December 2009

Project, Programme and Change Management Xmas Free Briefing

Do you want something to talk about over Christmas lunch? Are you short of ideas for your New Year’s Resolutions?

Join Maven Training in the last few days of 2009 to hear how you can plan your career development through 2010 and beyond by using accredited qualification to professionalize your CV. In addition to getting the opportunity to work with Melanie Franklin, the acclaimed Maven in the Project and Programme Community, you will receive up to 3 PDU units towards your professional development and also get plenty of Christmas cheer with mince pies and refreshments.

Attending will be members of the Maven team who you can ask in detail about all the courses available and which ones are suitable for you. Bring your CVs as there will be an opportunity to speak to recruitment specialist Matchtech about the current state of the market place and how best to represent your professionalism to the market place.

Comments from previous attendees include: “a rousing presentation” to “inspirational…I will be writing my own development plan this weekend” and “Melanie is a powerhouse of ideas and enthusiasm – my whole team was energized by her delivery”.

Further information

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

CV requirements in the job market

Minimum requirements have increased across all sectors, due to increased supply of candidates on the job market. Therefore recruiters can expect more qualifications and experience from candidates. This is the direct consequence of the increase levels of relevant and skilled candidates. Even if the specified requirements are not needed, these qualifications/skills provide reassurance to the employer.

However whilst expecting more, the stats indicate that average salaries for Project Managers have begun to rise again. The average salary for a Project Manager is £47,500 compared to £45,500 a year ago. Programme Manager average salaries are static at £70,000.

The CV is greatly underestimated by candidates. Even with the right skills and experience – if it is not presented in the right way then recruiters may not include you in their shortlist as the key areas will not stand out. With increased competition, the CV is a candidates most important sales tool, yet interestingly over 75% of candidates do not have their CV professionally reviewed, even those applying for high level roles. Projectmanagerjobs offer candidates a free CV review: http://www.projectmanagerjobs.co.uk/info/your-cv to help get the most relevant job for candidates.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

BPUG Members Annual Conference, 11-12 November 2009

By Melanie Franklin, CEO at Maven Training

Best Practice User Group Members Annual Conference took place at the Mercure Holland House Hotel & Spa, Bristol on 11-12 November 2009. The Conference Theme was 'P4: People, Portfolios, Programmes and Projects'.

Conference delegates enjoyed two days of valuable discussions, presentations and ideas generation across the whole range of OGC PPRM guidance, with special emphasis on 'people' aspects. Past delegates of BPUG conferences have praised them for their wide spread of topics, the quality of the session leaders and the opportunity to network amongst others in similar work circumstances.

I gave a presentation on the importance of emotional intelligence in achieving project success. There was broad agreement in the room at the start of the presentation that building capability and being able to answer the question ' how do we things well' is more important these days than sorting out 'what we do' which results from the implementation of methodologies. That is not to say that the methods offered by PRINCE2 and MSP are not important for project and programme management, its just that many organisations have implemented these now, and are looking to upskill their workforce for successful project delivery, and not just successful following of a methodology.

Interpersonal skills and technical skills combined deliver this 'how to' knowledge. Excellence in interpersonal skills are a result of developing 'emotional intelligence' which involves self awareness - an unflinching assessment of our strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and how we demonstrate these through our personality and self management - a willingness to tailor some of our personality traits to the situation. We discussed how emotional intelligence grows over time, as we learn from our mistakes, and therefore, it is essential to constantly ask ' how could i have done that better' when engaging with people. We all agreed that we would never get anything done on a project if it weren't for the people around us, so increasing our ability to inspire, motivate, delegate and manage is not optional, its mandatory.

There were a number of questions at the end including the importance of building personal relationships if we are to get the most out of some of our more impersonal meeting formats such as teleconferenes, virtual teams, webinars and email. The removal of face to face communication presents us with even greater challenges for which emotional intelligence gives us a number of solutions

If anyone attended the conference over the two days it would be great to hear your thoughts!

Monday, 16 November 2009

London Project and Programme Management Forum

By Melanie Franklin, CEO at Maven Training

The event was the London Project and Programme Management Forum. This even happens twice each year and on this occasion was hosted at the London Borough of Lewisham. The event is designed to bring Project and Programme Managers from London Local authorities together to share ideas, best practises and success stories. The focus was on Change Management and there were about 90 people in attendance most of whom are from Local Authorities, Met Police and the Fire and Ambulance Services.

I was really pleased to be asked to speak at this event, as embedding change is a subject we are repeatedly asked to design workshops for. Many of our clients are currently planning and implementing change programmes and are keen for practical guidance on how to make the change relevant to all who are impacted by it. It is this relevance that drives their involvement enabling individuals to see a reason for becoming involved and for adopting the change for themselves.

In my presentationg I explored a range of different perspectives that individuals typically take when evaluating an organisational change. The first evaluation is always how it will impact them and their position within the organisation, with pessimists often seeing the change in a negative light, seeing it as a criticism of the work they do today. Optimists can see the change as a way to fix current problems and provide them with new career development opportunities, but can sometimes lose heart when they realise the change does not offer them all of the advantages they had originally associated it with.

In order to address these extremes of view, and all points in between, all activities and communications about the change need to target how people learn, their preferences for receiving information and where they are in their own 'cycle of change' remembering that some people adapt to change very quickly, constantly seeking out the next change and how they can become involved in it, and others will be slower as their resistance to change is much greater.

During my presentation there was lots of notes being taken and at the end there were a number of questions about how to practically address those that resist change, clearly indicating that this is the biggest challenge that we face in change programmes.

Other speakers included Barry Quirk – Chief Exec at Lewisham, Steve Gough – Director of Programme Management and Property at Lewisham, Stephen Jenner – Director, Criminal Justice I.T, Tim Ellis – Kensington and Chelsea and Richard Caton – LB Hackney. Outperform also gave an update on the London Programme Management Methodology.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Project Management in the Transport Industry

Maven Training along with sponsor Matchtech and partner WTS London (Women in Transportation) present the event 'Project Management in the Transport Industry', a unique opportunity to hear from leaders in Project Management recruitment and training and representatives from the transport industry. Melanie Franklin, CEO of Maven Training, a leading training provider, will speak about opportunities for individuals and companies to build capacity in their teams, through project and programme management training and identify how qualifications can be used to further your career in project management in the transport industry. Matchtech, sponsor of WTS London, and recruitment specialist for engineering, science, construction and professional services, will present an overview of what it is employers are looking for in a project manager: What type of qualifications are expected? What types of roles are available in the transport industry? We will also hear from a project manager within the transport industry - what their experiences are and what they think are the key qualities and qualifications that have helped them succeed in their role.

WTS London will be offering members the opportunity to undertake a Prince 2 qualification in Jan 2010, so ensure you come along to this exciting event to find out more about project management in the transport industry and your potential to advance your project management skills. Further information and the ability to sign up to this course will be available on the night.

Places are strictly limited, so ensure you don't miss this great event by registering now.

Light refreshments will be offered throughout the day and you will be given the chance to network with trainers and fellow peers.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Project Management job market

By Nicholas Tipping, Marketing Executive at Maven Training

I thought I would just spread the word on some interesting markets research into the job markets. This was found on the website ITjobswatch.co.uk and I have looked for figures and statistics on the term ‘project management’. I have outlined the main parts below but for more information please click on the links.

As you can see, the statistics of searches on their website matching 'project management' with permanent IT jobs has dropped from '17499' in 2007 to '5030' in the 3 months leading up to the 2nd November 2009. Saying that, the average salary quoted was more than £30,000 which accounted for 90% of the jobs, interestingly for 10% of the jobs, the salary has increased by up to £10,000 over the last 2 years.

Please click here for the full report

Project Management Histogram

The below chart provides a salary histogram for IT jobs citing Project Management across England over the 3 months to the 2nd November 2009. As you can see the average salary tends to lie between £30,000 to £55,000 which has also remained fairly steady over the last 2 years.

Project Management top 30 related IT skills to 'job titles '

For the 6 months to 2 November 2009, IT jobs across the England region citing Project Management were grouped by job titles in order of popularity. The figures indicate the number of jobs and their proportion against the total number of IT job ads sampled that cited Project Management.

Project Management top 30 related It Skills to 'Methodologies' and 'Processes'

For the 6 months to 2 November 2009, IT jobs across the England region citing Project Management were grouped by Methodology and Processes in terms of popularity. The figures indicate the number of jobs and their proportion against the total number of IT job ads sampled that cited Project Management.

Feel free to check out the ITjobswatch website for more information on these statistics as well as other keywords such as 'PRINCE2', 'MSP', ITIL, Change Management, APM and 'M_o_R.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Interview with Lisa Sherwood, MSP delegate with Maven Training

On the week commencing the 19th October, Lisa Sherwood, a programme manager in the public sector took the MSP Foundation course at our Maven Training centre. A few questions were posed afterwards to find out her thoughts and opinions on the qualification so take a look at what she said about it.

1) Who do you think it is so important to have the MSP qualification?
MSP is the most widely recognised programme management qualification in the UK, and it's an indication of your committment to managing business change so that you realise the benefits.

2) How does the MSP qualification complement PRINCE2?
Well, it's from the same best practice stable as PRINCE2 so it allows PMs and PgMans to talk the same language when discussing their management areas.

3) How does it prepare you for going back to the office after gaining the qualification?
I feel much more confident now that I know the language of programme management and understand it's principles, governance themes and processes.

5) What level do you feel the course is aimed at?
MSP isn't for the faint hearted - there's a lot of information here and a lot of detail to absorb, so if reading isn't your thing, it probably isn't for you. Similarly I think it helps if you have had exposure to some level of PgMan before, either as a project manager or as a programme manager, or you've been part of the business change team in your organisation. Senior business leaders would also benefit - those who will be part of sponsoring boards or senior responsible owners, so they can understand their roles and those of the team around them.

6) What is the next step after an MSP course?
To use the new skills! I'm already trying to apply what I've learned to a new programme of work that I'm responsible for. I'd also like to expand my knowledge of P3M3 and programme offices. Future training course possibilities include Change Management and Management of Risk (M_o_R).

7) How do you implement MSP into organisations when you are the only person accredited with the qualification?
Well, I think you have to communicate, communicate, communicate. Part of your return to work should be to brief your colleagues on what you've learned and plan the implementation according to what you've learned. If your organisation doesn't use any form of methodology to manage the change - it would seem a very good time to start!

8) How has it helped you individually and what part of the course has interested you the most?
I'm more confident now with the differences between projects and programmes as well as understanding how important it is to align to the corporate strategies that drive your business. MSP & PRINCE2 help you to do that by ensuring the reasons for doing the programmes and projects remain sound.

Thank you for answering our questions Lisa and we hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

New style Practitioner results letter from Maven Training

For all examination based courses, Maven is moving to a new style of results letter for the Practitioner results. The new style will be a pdf version of the letter, which can be emailed to each of our delegates. The reason for this change is twofold. We are protecting our delegates from the impact of the proposed mail delivery strikes, as we know that waiting for results can be nervewracking and we have always sought to notify delegates as soon as we are given the results from the examination bodies. Secondly, we know that many of our delegates keep records of their achievements, and whilst the printed certificates are great for framing and displaying, the new version of the results letter can be used as an attachment when sending on-line applications for association memberships, job applications etc. This approach ties in with our commitment to supporting the launch of the new Chartered Project Professional status from the Association for Project Management, where the application will be on-line, and evidence of success in our project, programme, risk and change management examination courses will be a valuable achievement towards chartered status.

The emailing of results will be a permanent change, and is in line with our environmental policy, which seeks to cut down on paper and ink usage wherever possible.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The APM Project Management Conference - Delivering Projects Professionally

Maven Training is going to be exhibiting at the APM Conference so make sure you come down for a chat on our latest products and range of bespoke services. We are re-launching our APM Introductory Certificate course and would be keen to hear from past delegates or potential new delegates on their thoughts on the project and programme management environment at present. We are happy to discuss how their individual organisation is operating and working to combat the different problems that have arisen.

Location: The Brewery, London, EC1Y 4SD, Wednesday 21st October 2009

The APM Project Management Conference 2009 is an interactive forum bringing together project management professionals and key decision makers across the public and private sector. It aims to set out and debate key subjects on the national project management agenda.

It will address issues including project sponsorship, training and development, growing the skill-set of project professionals and the benefits of the new chartered status.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Monday, 12 October 2009

The importance of qualifications for long-term contracting success

Employers want recognised, up-to-date qualifications plus relevant experience from their contractors. But, as many successful contractors will testify, taking time out to get training or to re-register their qualifications can be the last thing on their minds – especially when another contract beckons.

So it happens that the most experienced consultants can find themselves without the qualifications that are deemed necessary in the first round of assessments – which are often done by HR people. With 2012 and all the opportunities presented by the Olympics, contractors need to make sure they don’t miss out on opportunities to win the best contracts just because their CV doesn’t make the grade.

Richard Rose is a trainer of PRINCE2®, who also works as a consultant, so he understands the pressures that contractors face. “Many of the candidates I see are hoping to improve the balance of their CVs with a recognised project management qualification. Often, these are very experienced people but there is an expectation these days that you need to have passed the exam to get considered for the jobs, so contractors are under pressure to conform.”

Richard says many organisations - and particularly local authorities - insist that both potential employees and contractors are PRINCE2 qualified. “Organisations view it as proof of the candidate’s capability,” he says, “and if you haven’t got it, they often won’t even look at your CV.”

Jan Eldon has been contracting since 1997 when he set up his own IT support consultancy. With clients mainly in the IT, insurance and Telecoms industries, Jan has also worked for publishing companies and pharmaceutical giant Unilever.

Jan decided to take a project management course with Maven Training. “With contracting you’re not pigeon-holed exactly, but you can get over specialised when one particular type of contract leads to another of the same kind. In order to be able to break out of this pattern you’ve got to demonstrate skills in other areas and until you’ve got the right blend of skills, qualifications in the area you want to move into can help.”

Taking time out of work and funding courses can be difficult, Jan says. “You’ve got to think about the long term in order to justify taking time out of work and the expense of the course, but to continue to attract the right sort of contracts it’s a worthwhile exercise.”

Richard agrees: “It’s important that contractors invest in their own development. Employees are offered training throughout their careers, but contractors need to think about their aspirations, what they want to achieve in the long term and set out plans to achieve this. They should think not just about the contracts they can and do attract, but what they hope to do in the medium to long term and endeavour to ensure their skill set is updated to ensure they do achieve their goals.”

“It can be frustrating for experienced contractors who think that qualifications are just a badge – they don’t prove you are competent in your field of work. However, what they do signify to employers is that the contractor they’re getting speaks the same language and has a similar mindset to other contractors and employees working in the organisation. This is important to employers because they’ll want their contractors to start adding value from the very start of their contracts.”

Another point to be aware of, Richard says, is the importance of Re-registration. If your PRINCE2 or MSP™ Practitioner qualification is more than five years old, you should renew it. “It’s not so important for employees because their organisations know how they’ve gained experience, but for contractors competing for work, re-registration is vital. This is because the methods are updated and anyone whose qualifications are more than five years old could have gaps in their knowledge. Contractors also need to demonstrate their commitment to their own CPD and re-registration is the best way to demonstrates to employers they are serious about keeping their knowledge up to date.”

Many contractors find it difficult to take time out of work to fit in time to attend courses or to re-register their existing professional qualifications. Some training companies, such as Maven Training, offer flexible courses running at the weekends so contractors don’t have to take too much time out of work.

For further details visit www.maventraining.co.uk

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Project Challenge Review

By Nicholas Tipping, Marketing Executive at Maven Training

I attended my 4th Project Challenge last Wednesday the 30th September (2nd in Olympia) as a Maven Training exhibitor and I have to say it turned out to be a great day with many interesting conversations. I managed to get to the exhibition around 8:30am and so had a chance to grab a coffee and have a little walk round and chat to some familiar faces. As the time was approaching for the grand opening at 9:30am, everyone awaited in anticipation for the delegates to come rushing in through the door. Unfortunately people can only access the exhibition by the lifts and I heard through the grapevine that queues were mounting outside! Apart from that there were no other hiccups and after half an hour or so, anyone and everyone who wanted to come were safely inside the building.

As the day ran on, I spoke to some of our long term clients and discussed how our current partnerships are progressing; this was met with some fantastic feedback and it is great to see how organisations are reaping the benefits from project and programme management implementation techniques we have worked on together. With our unique approach to building capability and capacity in organisations, we have developed many collaborations and tailored services to which we can work with different organisations with. If you would like to take a look at our range of services please visit our Business Solutionswebsite section which will give you a great insight in to what we can do.

It was interesting to hear from a lot of individuals who had come to the exhibition in search of more information on changes in the industry. There seemed to be a fair share of project managers attending to catch up with the latest news in the project world and attend the seminars to sound out new angles on the subject. At 12:15pm on the Wednesday, our CEO Melanie Franklin presented in Zone A on ‘Building Business Capacity in Project and Programmes’. This presentation was met with loud applause and many delegates I spoke to in the afternoon had great words to say about the presentation which focused on building individuals and organisations capacity to produce maximum productivity (email info@maventraining.co.uk if you would like further information on the presentation).

Other conversations were also based around delegates who had taken mainly PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner courses and were looking at up skilling by attending additional courses. These were usually in the form of the MSP Foundation and Practitioner and Change Management courses in which we received a high response to. It is great to know in this economical downturn that people are still looking to increase their skill set and qualifications and tie in other methodologies with the project management methodology to give them a greater overview and understanding of the subjects. Whether this is for people needing to combine the skills for their jobs or have the qualifications for their CV, it is very popular to have 2/3 of the courses under your belt nowadays and this trend was very apparent.

All in all a fantastic day and by 5:00pm everyone looked pretty tired and worn out. We hope everyone enjoyed this event and if anyone has any feedback on it, on us or any presentations it would be great to hear about it.

See you all soon

Monday, 5 October 2009

Interview on PRINCE2

Our friend over at PM 4 Girls Elizabeth Harrin has a very interesting blog post which is centred around the PRINCE2 methodology. The questions range from the methodology's origins and background to the positives/negatives and then how it compares to the PMBOK framework overall.

When commenting on the project management statistics, it is interesting to let people know that the methoodlogy is used in 160 countries. As Elizabeth also reiterates, it is available in 9 languages and the manuals are available in 7 languages. There are over 250,000 qualified candidates and 2,000 exams taken per week around the world. There is also a 20% growth year on year.

When we look at another type of certification like PMP (Project Management Professional) we see there are nearly 350,000 PMP'S and the PMBOK Guide is published in ten official languages.

On an additional note, it should be noted that PRINCE2 is not a membership like PMI where you have a subscription side to it and formalised groups but if you wish to network on this subject, then using like minded blogs like Elizabeth's and ourselves it helps spread information and advice on such methodologies.

To read the full interview click here

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Project Challenge Exhibition

On the 30th September and 1st October Maven Training will be exhibiting at Project Challenge in Olympia, London.

With around 80 exhibiting organisations, and more than 40 free presentations, this un-missable event provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn from leading industry experts. You will get right up to date with the latest tools, solutions and services at this project event.

If you have previously taken a course with Maven Training, it would be great for you to come and meet us and talk about how everything has been since implementing what you have learnt from your course into your organisation. We can discuss different issues in your organisation at present and find solutions to your needs, just come to stand 29 for a chat about what we can do for each other.

On the 30th September at 12:15pm Zone A, our CEO Melanie Franklin will be presenting to an audience (so get there early) on 'Capacity Building in Project and Programme Management'. This lively, interactive and engaging presentation will focus on increasing individual capacity and maximising available resources to reach and exceed expectations. Then Melanie looks at developing capacity for an organisation as a whole and bringing it all together.

Come and take a seat for an innovative approach to buildiing capacity within organisations where you can hear her views on increasing individual productivity and maximising output.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Building high performing project, programme and portfolio support offices

By Melanie Franklin, CEO at Maven Training

The PPSO Sig is an opportunity for those performing support roles to meet with their colleagues from other organisations and industries, to debate key issues. I attended the dinner at the end of day one, and gave a presentation on building high performing project, programme and portfolio support offices the next day. One of the things that really struck me about the attendees at this event was their strong desire to really get something out of their 2 days, and to make sure that the event was not just a talking shop.

As it was such a tough audience, I was really grateful that my slot was so well received, with lots of comments on email afterwards saying very similar things "Fantastic presentation at the PPSO group, really like your style!"

For my presentation, i took a client centric view of a support office, as I am currently relying on the PMO at a client to help me deliver a business critical programme against very tight deadlines. I used my current experience to set out what I need from a PMO, and then showed how I thought a highly effective team could help me achieve these requirements. I based the development of a highly effective team on Tuckmans model of team formation, and the group and I explored how the development of a team charter for the PMO can help the team form and storm as quickly as possible, so that the team reaches its 'norming' phase as early as possible. I divided the attendees into small teams, and each of the teams had to build their own charter, and then display them around the room so that the learning could be shared by each of the other teams. After that, we looked at how teams moving from Norming to Performing by sharing capability and each of the teams was invited to create their own ideas of how best to develop capability in their own environments. There were a lot of very creative and innovative ideas, and this session was run as a competition, with the best idea (judged by a PPSO Committee member) winning a very high quality box of chocolates - which I am relieved they decided to share, so I could have a couple!! The winning idea from the capability activity was 'pass it on, pass it back' which describes how experiences of service delivery by one member of the PMO can be shared with others - passing it on, with a feedback loop from other team members - passing it back. So one team member explains their experience to 3 others, they each explain it to 3 others until everyone that would find the experience useful has been informed and had a chance to comment on it.BY

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

PPSO SIG Conference

In 2008, P3O, the new Portfolio, Programme and Project Office framework was launched to thePMO community. In September 2009, the ppsosig launches its new conference "From Acorn to Oak: PMO Maturity in your Organisation, Your Team and You" focused on the next steps in growing your PMO.

This two day conference, being held on the 16th & 17th September 2009, will move from awareness to a greater understanding of the current guidance and tools available to assess your organisational and PMO maturity.

Establishing a PMO Team

Melanie Franklin, our CEO at Maven Training identifies and reinforces the key issues in establishing a PMO team. Melanie’s engaging and high energy session will look at the goals of your PMO, roles and responsibilities, the work of the PMO, the skillsets required (hard and interpersonal), working arrangements, abilities and experiences and certification & training for the team.
The session will leave delegates with an overview of the challenges of bringing individuals together in a PMO and address the following topics;
• Support, encourage and control of the members
• Working with Programme and Project staff
• Focus of promoting the benefits of the P3O to the organisation stakeholders
• Developing P3O services and functions
• Developing the use and application of appropriate tools and techniques
• Training and development

Please make sure you register your interest pretty quickly for this unmissable event!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Working across the Public Sector

Maven Training has worked with a diverse range of public sector organisations, many of whom have become long-term associates because they trust us.

The project, programme and change management training we provide to public sector organisations prepares staff for their roles and gives them a methodology which they can apply to the contractors engaged in the delivery of the products and services being commissioned.

The delegates attending our courses come from a variety of management and specialist backgrounds and are often managing multiple projects. Susan Stevens, Maven Training’s Associate Trainer, has developed courses for clients such as Hackney Council, the Financial Services Authority and the Security Industry Authority.

Susan says, “Although clients operate in different environments, they can face very similar issues. For example many clients need help with leadership issues, working effectively in teams, and influencing stakeholders,” she says.

Maven Training can also adapt its range of courses to suit a client’s specific needs with regards to their own Frameworks. For example for Leeds PCT we developed a project and programme management framework, based on the principles of best practice including PRINCE2®, MSP™ and M_o_R®.

The project and programme frameworks were supported by the development of pages for the NHS Leeds intranet site, providing guidance, examples, templates and points to consider when using a project or programme management approach to work. The training courses provided experiential learning opportunities, where delegates had a chance to practice applying the frameworks using relevant NHS Leeds examples, but in a risk free training environment.

Sometimes the work we’re doing is so well received, new initiatives spring from it. For example, Maven Training’s CEO Melanie Franklin recently spent the day working with young people at Knowsley Council, where we have been helping project management staff get to grips with PRINCE2.

Melanie was aware the young people involved in this process were giving up their time for their community, so she decided to do the same. “It was a real pleasure because all the people involved were so dedicated to the vision of what’s possible,” she said.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Skype with Maven Training

If you want to contact Maven Training from home or abroad for free then here are a few tips for you to get up and running!

All that you need to place calls using Skype is the following:

- A working Internet connection
- The Skype software download here
- A headset or handset
- Click the contact button at the top of skype

In the list find the person you wish to call, for Maven training type in 'MavenTrainingSales' as your contact.
You will see their details in the main window.

Click the green Call button. You should hear ringing. If you don't hear the other person or they can't hear you, click the call quality icon at the top of your call window.

To hang up, click the red End call button.

Get started now - it really is as easy as that!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Tailoring for your organizations wants and needs!

By Andre Palmer, Client Relations at Maven Training

I was at dinner at a random restaurant in central London recently and my friend was asking about project management training for his team. A guy sitting at the table beside us leaned forward and asked whether we were talking about PRINCE2 by any chance and what our thoughts on the methodology were. At that point, it dawned on me that when people talk about project management, they automatically think about PRINCE2.

For the fact that PRINCE2 is easily the most recognized project management method this side of the Atlantic, organizations have put entire teams through PRINCE2 training over the last few years with Maven with the aim of making them more competent. Companies are also taken in by the formal qualification that comes with the training – they see the ‘badge’ as value for money. When all this is stripped away though, organizations have to contend with the fact that a PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner qualification per se does not necessarily make project staff manage projects more effectively.

For this reason, more and more corporate clients have been moving towards investing in specially tailored project management workshops/courses to support embedding the PRINCE2 methodology and best practice. Corporate clients are beginning to realize that while PRINCE2 can be used to manage any project under the sun, the real benefits come from its effective implementation in the organization. To this end, organizations are appreciating the section in the new version of the PRINCE2 manual that addresses ‘tailoring’ for example.

We at Maven have been one step ahead of the game for a long time though and have developed hundreds of bespoke events to support the use of PRINCE2 in different project environments for both the public and private sectors. These events have been specifically designed working closely with each client in order to fully understand the level of maturity in the particular project environment so that we are able to yield the greatest possible return on the investment.

We see the PRINCE2 qualification as just the beginning and gone are the days when ‘sheep dipping’ the whole organization was perceived as an effective approach to project management. The real test is whether projects are being delivered on time, within budget and with the forecasted benefits. If an honest assessment shows that your company is ‘failing the test’, then the expertise of Maven training is just what you need.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Current Professional Opinions on Project Management Training & Qualifications

Our friends at Arras People – project management & project office recruitment specialists – Carried out a very interesting survey over the last week through the help fo twitter, Linkedin and their blog asking how project management qualifications relate to project management job roles.

The survey was both a mixed open and closed affair giving people the freedom to comment on what their thoughts were on the importance of project management qualifications.

When asked "Please pick a statement that closely matches your motivation for taking a qualification", over 85% of respondents gave answers that reflected on the enhancing virtues a PM qualification provides (i.e. 'Gives me an advantage when applying for new roles', 'Shows that I am a fully competent PM professional').

Perhaps most intriguing were the responses to the question, "Has the qualification been beneficial to you in any tangible way?" Nearly 60% of respondents answered 'Yes', while 18% answered 'No' and 23% stated they were 'Unsure'. Some 'Yes' responses would seem to speak to the importance of project management hiring personnel place on qualifications.

To read the full article and explore the other survey results such as 'missed opportunities from not taking qualifications' and 'biggest motivator in not taking the qualification' please click here

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Fancy a career move into programme Management?

Project managers wishing to take their careers to the next stage often think about becoming programme managers. Although it can be a successful career move, it’s important to understand the differences between the two disciplines. Some people mistakenly believe that programme management is about running groups of projects, but programmes and projects are quite different by nature and require distinct skill sets.

As programmes are concerned with transformational change, they are ongoing and do not have a definite duration like projects. Project managers wanting to move into programme management must be prepared to be less hands-on.

While projects focus on outputs and have a controlled start through to controlled end, programmes focus on benefits and will be disbanded once these benefits have been realised.

Melanie Franklin, CEO, Maven Training, has helped many public sector organisations improve their project and programme management capability. Some of the organisations she has worked with include Knowsley Borough Council, the Children’s Work force Development Council, the London Pension Funds and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Melanie says: “Projects are about doing things right, whereas programmes are about doing the right things. Projects are expected to deliver outputs, deliverables or products to time, cost and quality. On the other hand Programmes are about leading and embedding change, and they introduce new ways of working.”
She says it’s valuable for project managers and programme managers to understand how their roles complement each other.

"Programme managers who have taken the PRINCE2® qualification are able to communicate with and understand project managers more easily. Projects are usually part of a programme, whether project managers know it or not, so the MSP™ (Managing Successful Programmes) qualification gives project managers a breadth of understanding. It helps them recognise how their hard work on a project fits into context.”

Friday, 14 August 2009

Maven Training partner with Women in Technology

We are please to announce that Maven Training have become official partners with Women in Technology. Our relationship has gone from strength to strength in 2009 with Women in Technology heavily supporting our 'PRINCE2® for Girls Initiative' which was an astounding success.

In accordance with this, we are now offering a 10% discount to members of Women in technology in gaining crucial priject and programme management qualifications to secure that next job opportunity.

Abit more information on Women in Technology
womenintechnology.co.uk is a networking and recruitment organisation committed to helping women build successful and satisfying careers in the technology profession and since their launch in 2005, they have grown into a network of over 5,200 individuals. They run regular networking events and training courses, host an online job board and provide a recruitment service for employers and job seekers.

Lastly we would like to say to any organisations who are in support of personal development and education/training to give us a call or drop us an email in becoming an official partner of the future!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

BCS Interview – Melanie Franklin and Emma Jones on the PRINCE2® 2009 changes»

The recent refresh of PRINCE2® has led to changes in the content of training courses and exams. Maven Training’s CEO Melanie Franklin and the Chief PRINCE2® Examiner Emma Jones were invited by the BCS (British computer Society) to explain what has been altered.

Click here for more BCS podcasts

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

How to… maximise your training budgets

Our inspiration for today’s article was taken from the July issue of People Management magazine.

Charles Gould, managing director of workplace e-learning specialist Brightwave, outlined that cutting costs doesn't necessarily mean stopping staff development and encourages employers to be smarter with how they spend. He goes on saying that, during recessions, it can be tempting to treat training as dispensable expenditure. However, a recent CIPD survey found that the average annual spend per employee on training has already dropped from £300 to £220. But simply cutting training budgets can be dangerous – instead, take the opportunity to work smarter.

We have taken some of the best hints and tips and reproduced them here for you.

1 – Prioritise training needs
First, identify and focus on the mission-critical training requirements in your organisation. These may include business-generating training on new products and sales skills. Legal compliance also cannot be neglected. Your organisation will be focused on business-critical issues more than ever, so your training needs to be too.

2 – Don’t ‘sheep dip’
Stop and think about the real skill gaps. What does each person really need to do his or her job? Tailor your training to support real performance needs. If you don’t, you risk throwing away your training budget unnecessarily.

3 – Outsource expediently
Don’t ignore the skills of your in-house learning and development team. With the right coaching and tools, they can play a valuable part in co-ordinating external suppliers with internal business sponsors, and bring their knowledge of training and your people to bear during design.

4 – Encourage informal knowledge sharing
In the current age of social networking, encourage employees to share knowledge informally. This may be facilitated via a secure network within an intranet, or through a group set up on one of the more popular social networks, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. You might find that staff will be happy to access such informal learning at a time when they know they have to keep up in terms of knowledge and skills.

5 – Consider pre-induction training
Get people learning about your organisation and processes before they actually start, when they’ll be highly engaged and keen to make an impression. Pre-induction, or onboarding, reduces the training burden once new staff have joined, meaning they can hit the ground running.

6 – Maximise different training channels
Look at using existing training resources that could be delivered using different channels. For example, create e-learning to reach large numbers of staff. But then use the same materials – design images, stories and questions – to produce posters, brochures or PowerPoint slides. You don’t need to write and design a new course or campaign from scratch.

7 – Don’t ditch your classroom training
It can be tempting, but scrapping all classroom training when training budgets are cut may be a mistake. Instead, think “horses for courses” – transfer costly classroom-based training into a blended learning programme. For example, select key role-play or discussion points from a three-day classroom course to create a one-day course. The key knowledge learning and testing elements can then be transferred online to ensure no learning is lost.

8 – Get staff learning at home
Offer incentives, such as paying the home broadband bill for the training period in return for time invested in training at home. This minimises disruption during the working day and enables training to be centrally tracked and assessed to monitor its effectiveness.

Source: People Management magazine, page 33, 16 July 2009

Read original article here

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The current life of project managers

We have found three very interesting posts on two of the blogs we follow most closely, and we thought them so valuable that we decided to share them with you!

From Arras People:

Current Recruitment Activity in Project Management. Mixed news and fortunes surround recruitment activity in project management at the moment, there are winners and losers across all sectors. Specifically within project management, the volume of requirements is down year on year by 50%, and we have also seen some pressure on day rates and salary levels over the last six months. Read full article here

From Project Shrink:

How To Promote Yourself As A Project Manager. Read full article here

You Are Using Project Leadership Almost Every Day. Read full article here

Monday, 27 July 2009

Beating boredom at work

Here at Maven we always make sure that staff are not bored with what their doing – we believe in constant challenge and innovation! So it was not a surprise to us to learn from this month’s issue of Professional Manager Magazine that bored, disengaged and disenchanted employees can cause serious consequences to the organisation.

Organisations that don’t offer opportunities for control by their workers are putting themselves at risk of their staff feeling, well, bored and tired.

Contrary to popular belief, boredom is NOT the result of having nothing to do – it stems from a situation where none of the possible things a person can realistically do appeals to them. Research suggests that the most boredom-inducing parts of a job are those that are repetitive and routine or that under utilise the skills or abilities of an individual.

How can an organisation beat boredom, then?

Some simple steps can go a long way. Giving employees control and autonomy over their work will help them feel more responsible for it, more trusted by the organisation and, therefore, more appreciated – and it’s a well-known fact that people like to make their superiors proud, so they’ll work with more excitement and be less prone to not caring about what their doing. Avoiding or minimising ‘scripted’ repetitive work also helps – allowing creativity to flow will help keep your staff motivated! Long, pointless meetings can also be exhausting – keep your get-togethers to a necessary minimum, stick to the planned agenda, work on pragmatic briefings and make sure everyone understands what you expect from them. Allowing better work conditions also works a treat: background music and the ability to schedule one’s priorities have been ranked high by employees in search of a nicer office life.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Maven Trainers talk about PRINCE2®:2009 (Part 6/6)

This is the end of our third week of successfully delivering PRINCE2®:2009 training courses.

While we were getting ready and preparing our trainers to provide our delegates with Maven Training’s usual top-notch delivery, we were out and about the Maven Training Centre asking some of them to give us their views and opinions on it – this has become the “Maven Training Vox Populi on PRINCE2:2009”.

The last one of the series of six sessions “What is the best thing about the newPRINCE2®?” is available for you NOW!

Watch the first five videos here:
Why has PRINCE2® Changed?
What has changed on PRINCE2®?
What are the differences to the new PRINCE2® manual?
What do the differences on new PRINCE2® mean to delegates?
What do the differences on new PRINCE2® mean to organisations?

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Maven Trainers talk about PRINCE2®:2009 (Part 5/6)

We are approaching the end of our third week of successfully delivering PRINCE2®:2009 training courses.

While we were getting ready and preparing our trainers to provide our delegates with Maven Training’s usual top-notch delivery, we were out and about the Maven Training Centre asking some of them to give us their views and opinions on it – this has become the “Maven Training Vox Populi on PRINCE2:2009”.

From the series of six sessions, the fifth one, “What do the differences on new PRINCE2® mean to organisations?” is available for you NOW!

Watch the first four videos here:
Why has PRINCE2® Changed?
What has changed on PRINCE2®?
What are the differences to the new PRINCE2® manual?
What do the differences on new PRINCE2® mean to delegates?

The last one will be published here tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Maven Trainers talk about PRINCE2®:2009 (Part 4/6)

We are now half-way through our third week of successfully delivering PRINCE2®:2009 training courses.

While we were getting ready and preparing our trainers to provide our delegates with Maven Training’s usual top-notch delivery, we were out and about the Maven Training Centre asking some of them to give us their views and opinions on it – this has become the “Maven Training Vox Populi on PRINCE2:2009”.

From the series of six sessions, the fourth one, “What do the differences on new PRINCE2® mean to delegates?” is available for you NOW!

Watch the first three videos here:
- Why has PRINCE2® Changed?
- What has changed on PRINCE2®?
- What are the differences to the new PRINCE2® manual?

The next two ones will be published on this blog tomorrow and Friday.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Maven Trainers talk about PRINCE2®:2009 (Part 3/6)

We are now on our third week of successfully delivering PRINCE2®:2009 training courses.

While we were getting ready and preparing our trainers to provide our delegates with our usual top-notch delivery, we were out and about the Maven Training Centre asking some of them to give us their views and opinions on it – this has become the “Maven Training Vox Populi on PRINCE2:2009”.

A series of six sessions and the third one, “What are the differences to the new PRINCE2® manual?” is available for you NOW!

Watch the first two videos here:
- Why has PRINCE2® Changed?
- What has changed on PRINCE2®?

The next three ones will be published on this blog, one per day, throughout this week.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Maven Trainers talk about PRINCE2®:2009 (Part 2/6)

Today we welcome the start of our third week of successfully delivering PRINCE2®:2009 training courses.

While we were getting ready and preparing our trainers to provide our delegates with our usual top-notch delivery, we were out and about the Maven Training Centre asking some of them to give us their views and opinions on it – this has become the “Maven Training Vox Populi on PRINCE2:2009”.

A series of six sessions, the second one, “What has changed on PRINCE2®?” is available for you NOW!

Watch the first video, “Why has PRINCE2® Changed?”, here.

The next four ones will be published on this blog, one per day, throughout this week.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Maven Trainers talk about PRINCE2®:2009 (Part 1/6)

We’re today celebrating a couple of weeks of successfully delivering PRINCE2®:2009 training courses.

All the while, we were out and about the Maven Training Centre asking some of our fabulous trainers to give us their views and opinions on it – this has become the “Maven Training Vox Populi on PRINCE2:2009”.

A series of six sessions, the first one, “Why has PRINCE2® Changed?” is available for you NOW!

The next five ones will be published on this blog, one per day, next week. Watch this space!

Save the Children

Save the Children is looking for lots of more fabulous volunteers to give their time in its shops throughout the UK!

Save the Children are the world’s independent children’s charity, working flat out to raise funds that will make a dramatic change to the lives of children around the world – but they cannot do it without help!

They have a range of engaging roles, fully funded NVQ opportunities and shops that need your help.

Just four hours per week can make a huge difference – on average, a four hour shift can raise £33 per volunteer which could feed a family of five in Ethiopia for one month!

So what are you waiting for!? Visit the Save the Children website to find your nearest shop or email shops.volunteering@savethechildren.org.uk today for more info.

They look forward to seeing you soon!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Benefits Realisation, Programme Management, Project Offices and all that jazz…

My Michelle Rowland, Associate Trainer

At the last the APM Group’s 7th annual Best Practice Showcase I attended several ‘Birds of a Feather’ sessions. Most of these covered subjects with which I was already very familiar such as ‘Benefits Realisation Management’ and ‘What’s wrong with your Project Office’. I also went to a session on ‘Tailoring MSP to transform performance’. What I found most interesting was that for me there was ‘nothing new’. I had hoped to glean a snippet of information or insight as to how to apply these methods that I had not thought of before, but in fact came away with the feeling that I knew at least as much as the other ‘experts’ in the room. A comforting thought!

I went to two interesting sessions, one on Portfolio Management – again nothing new but the speaker Craig Kilford, the author of the OGC’s guidance on the subject, was very entertaining and is definitely worth going to see if you can. You can download the guidance for free at the moment as a PDF file, if you are interested. In future, the OGC are considering producing it as a full blown book which will be available to buy.

The second interesting session was on the similarity between MSP and the new PRINCE2 2009 – ‘PRINCE2 and MSP joined up’, as presented by two of the authors of both guides. They focused their energies on looking at the Principles and how they have a similar ethos and presented the following picture, which I thought might be of interest:

On PRINCE2: Business Justification
On MSP: Leading Change; Envisioning; Communicating

On PRINCE2: Productions
On MSP: Benefits

On PRINCE2: Tailored to suit
On MSP: Delivering a coherent capability

On PRINCE2: Manage by stages; Manage by exception; Roles and responsibilities
On MSP: Remaining aligned with corporate strategy; Adding value

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Top 50 IT Training Companies: Maven Training goes up!

For the second year in a row, Maven Training is ranked on the UK’s Top 50 IT Training Companies – and this year we’re even more chuffed to have increased our placing from 42 to 38!

The list is compiled by gathering information on the revenue of companies with IT training businesses (excluding sales of training delivered outside the UK and non-IT related business).

Our CEO, Melanie Franklin, states that the very core belief of Maven Training is what helped us go up on this year’s list. “Listening to clients (and potential clients) helps us give them what they want. I talk to delegates at training centres and at exhibitions, and I deliver training. I ask what problems they want solving”, she says.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Interesting blog find of the week (so far!)

We have just come across a very interesting Project Management blog, Fear No Project, which purpose, they state, is to “share thoughts and experiences on issues affecting project managers and the world of project management”. Two of their recent articles, we think, are of extreme relevance – that’s why we’re sharing them with you here!

Role of Project Managers in Change Management

July 10, 2009 — Bruce McGraw

Because change is an organisational constant affecting everyone, we assume everyone knows about Change Management. However, change management requires more than the natural flow of change in an organisation. Change Management (emphasis on the management) begins with a desired behavioural outcome and works methodically toward that goal by re-shaping an organization’s culture or way of doing business...

Read full article.

Project manager – having difficult conversations

June 20, 2009 — Bruce McGraw

Whether it’s an underperforming developer, a lazy team member, some type of inappropriate behaviour, or a prima donna on the team that makes everyone angry, there are times in every project manager’s life when he or she must have a difficult conversation with employee team member. These conversations are always difficult because you will be saying something that the other person doesn’t want to hear. You will be asking the employee to change his or her behaviour which is not something people are often motivated to do...

Read full article.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Maven Training proud of Birmingham City Council

A long-term Maven Training client, Birmingham City Council has recently won the “Outstanding Employee Engagement Strategy HR Magazine Excellence Awards”.

Prior to CEO Stephen Hughes’ arrival in 2006, only 56% of BCC employees felt motivated and less than ¼ thought the council was well-managed.

A remarkable turnaround in fortune put the council back on track – and now they lead the way in staff engagement. Their £1.2m ‘Best’ programme – an initiative that turned disengaged employees into empowered staff trusted to identify and remedy problems themselves – has created over 1800 ‘best leaders’ who have the authority to implement service improvements. These ‘best’ leaders trained and run workshops for 23000 staff through management meetings, social relationship websites and a Dragon’s Den-style event where staff could pitch ideas for a chance to win £1,000!

The results of the investment are outstanding: now 75% of staff who have taken part on ‘best’ workshops say they feel more engaged and motivated, 83% of general staff say they feel motivated (up from 56% in 2006), 90% say they’re proud to work at BCC (up from 50% in 2009) – and that’s not all: public satisfaction of BCC residents rose from 53% to 62%!

Well done, Birmingham City Council!!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

PRINCE2 Launch – the video and interviews

Watch the action here!

Melanie Franklin, CEO, Maven Training, is interviewed by Sue Jermany of TSO.

Wanna be…a DREAM Project Manager?

Earlier this year Maven Training nominated Soma Bhattacharya, of the popular Stepping into Project Management blog as the unsung heroine of the world of women working in technology for the special celebrations of the Ada Lovelace Day

The tips below, on how to be the Dream Project Manager, were based on one of Soma’s posts – follow the tips and you won’t need good luck to succeed!

Always be on time. You want be noticed for your punctuality. Caught on traffic/public transport? If possible, ring the office and inform you will be “10 minutes late, Holloway Road is jam-packed”. Consideration, please.

Check emails and plan your day. Do this first thing, while everyone is still making tea and chit-chatting about today’s tabloid headlines – if you do this everyday, you don’t have to stress out at 5pm. Time management is an indispensable asset for Project Managers, and if you want to prove that you master this skill, wasting a lot of time at the water cooler one hundred times a day won’t take you very far…

Get your to-do list according to the priority of delivery. Because you can’t afford to miss a deadline, can you? Follow up with your team and co-workers; if your delivery is dependant on a third party, just to make sure they are aware of the deadline too. On time delivery is taking the lift for the Project Management office instead of the staircase. Everyone wants it on time.

Work efficiently and learn something new as often as possible. Everyone likes a perfectionist, and new skills gives you the edge and the fact that want to grow and spend your personal time and energy to acquire skills that you can use in your job environment.

Keep your desk organised. May sound parent-ish, but keeping a tidy work space helps you unclutter yourself psychologically – besides, it aids in keeping the pressure off (after all, you are not fumbling for that piece of paper you left at your desk three weeks ago). And, really, an organised behaviour is utterly paramount for being a project manager.

Protect your team. Well, no questions about this one. Responsibility is required, and blaming others for work not done when you haven’t followed up or bothered reviewing is not good behaviour. Trust can’t breed if you allow your team to take the hit every time – but do keep the rotten apple close to you (you can’t discard it, at least make sure it doesn’t spread to others).

Encourage others to grow. If your team grows, you grow automatically. Train them to handle more responsibility, be in control, acquire better work habits and discourage slackers from taking everything for granted.

Never call it a day while your team is still working. Don’t leave early if your teams on the deadline and working late hours. Being with your team is important, and if you can’t buy them pizza, at least being there is showing support and being together no matter what.

Based on Stepping into Project Management blog, by Soma Bhattacharya.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Effective Project Delivery in Difficult Times

The Maven Training and Arras People FREE breakfast event, which will give you an overview of project management market trends in these difficult times, will happen again next Monday the 13th July.

Melanie Franklin , CEO of Maven Training, will be talking about personal and professional development and how you can get the balance right between accredited qualifications and skills-based development, as well as finding the right balance of organisational needs vs. individual needs.

John Thorpe, MD of Arras People will share his thoughts on current trends in the PM marketplace – recruitment and people strategies, and current benchmarking information.

Venue: Maven Training Centre Location and Map
Cost: FREE
Bookings: info@maventraining.co.uk

13th July 2009
08:00am - 10:30am
12:00am - 14:30pm

Limited availability, so BOOK NOW!

Friday, 3 July 2009

PRINCE2 Twitter Hour Part 2 - the results

Full Q&A session can be found on How to Manage a Camel

PRINCE2 Twitter Hour – Part 2

Two weeks ago our friends at Arras People ran a PRINCE2:2009 Twitter Hour with Andy Murray, the lead author of the refreshed project management method. This morning, Friday 3rd July at 11am BST they’ll be running Part 2.

Take part!

You can connect directly with Andy Murray and also the Camel. You can also join the PRINCE2 community on Twitter .

For more information, read full article here.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Effective Project Management Delivery in Tough Times

Due to popular demand, the Maven Training and Arras People FREE breakfast event, which will give you an overview of project management market trends in these difficult times, will happen on two dates: the 26th June (fully booked) and the 13th July.

On both events, Melanie Franklin , CEO of Maven Training, will be talking about personal and professional development and how you can get the balance right between accredited qualifications and skills-based development, as well as finding the right balance of organisational needs vs. individual needs, and John Thorpe, MD of Arras People will share his thoughts on current trends in the PM marketplace – recruitment and people strategies, and current benchmarking information.

Venue: Maven Training Centre Location and Map
Cost: FREE
Bookings: info@maventraining.co.uk

Date and times:

13th July 2009
08:00am - 10:30am
12:00am - 14:30pm

Limited availability, so BOOK NOW!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Packing tips from a trainer

By Tiffany Childs, Training Consultant at Maven Training

For a while now our Marketing Manager Joanna has been hassling me to write something for the Maven blog. To be fair Joanna would say she was “encouraging” me, I perhaps would have labelled it “harassing” me, so hassling seems a fair compromise. The trouble I always faced was what to write about?

I have sat on the proverbial fence debating whether to write an in-depth but hard hitting review of one of the latest release books relating to Change Management or whether perhaps to tackle the issues faced by women in the world of Project Management. But each time I sat down to type the inspiration was not quite there.

Well my inspiration has finally struck. As part of a Maven Train-the-Trainer session last weekend I succumbed to being interviewed about some of the key changes and benefits of the new PRINCE2:2009 for vox-pops material that was being collated. This got me thinking about the sort of probing questions I am normally asked by people about my role as a Trainer.

Besides the standard questions about how I decided to be a trainer, what courses I deliver, what my delegates are like etc, one of the most common questions people hurl in my direction is whether I have any tips on packing.

Yes, you read right – one of the most common questions people ask me is whether I can advise them on how to miraculously convert 36kg of checked in luggage into 7kg of on board baggage. The first time I was asked this by a close friend I nearly fell off my chair. But it turns out they were serious.

As a trainer working for Maven – which has a large market share and a diverse client base – I do travel within the UK and Europe frequently. I manage to pack and repack my bags at lighting speed; have never missed a plane or train; have never forgotten any essential course materials; and always make sure that I pack light enough to manage public transport. This is no mean feat when you consider that I carry around a projector and straightening irons as part of my luggage!

So I figured that as we were coming into the peak of the Summer travel season Joanna might be OK with me writing up a few lines where I share some of the travel tips that I have passed on to others. I’m hoping that my reputation as a bit of an odd-ball Trainer that sometimes get sidetracked debating strange topics (I once spent 20 minutes during a PRINCE2 course explaining my experience of building a mud brick house) will give me enough eccentricity brownie points for this to be published…
So here’s my top 7 travelling tips – do with them what you may:

1. Don’t be a fool, use a planning tool: One of the most important things to know when travelling is where the relevant places are, how long it is going to take you to get there and how you can get there. Sounds simple right? Well it is if you use the planning tools available to you, such as Transport for London, National Rail, BAA, The AA, Google Maps etc. Remember to access these prior to travelling, print them out and keep two copies – one for your check-in luggage, another for the bag you will have on you at all times when travelling.

2. Pack tight, pack light: I used to scoff at the saying “everything including the kitchen sink” until I saw how some people packed. Remember – you are not running away to get married! You will be home in a day/week/fortnight (delete as appropriate). Pack lots of underwear, 2- 3 sets of shoes and some clothes you can mix and match so it looks like you are wearing different outfits. Oh, and when it comes to rolling vs. folding I don’t think one is better than the other (see my note re steam below). Whatever makes you pack tighter is better!

3. Convert me! Power and money: The heading says it all really. Have you got cash? Is it in the right currency? What about a power adapter? Is it the right socket and voltage?

4. All those pretty bits of paper: The dreaded “P” word (Paperwork)! As a minimum you will need tickets, but also potentially a passport and relevant visas. If in doubt check ahead what the requirements are.

5. Check and check again: Related to the point above, I would suggest that you check what you have packed just before you do the last zipping up of your bag. Even better, have a pre-prepared list so each time you pack you don’t have to strain your brain but simply cross check against a pre-existing list. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!

6. Make yourself at home: Unpacking when you get there can make you feel more organised, save you time scrabbling around your suitcase looking for that elusive sock and make sure your clothes are as crush-free as possible. I promise you, it’s worth the 5 minutes you invest in it.

7. The power of steam: Linking to my point above, as part of your unpacking any items that are looking a little crinkled after your trip may benefit for a little steam treatment. Hang them on clothes hangers and place them around the bathroom. Close the door and have a hot shower, allowing the hot water to keep running for 5 minutes after you have finished. Keep the bathroom door shut for roughly 20 minutes after you have turned the shower off to ensure maximum benefits and voila! Your clothes should look refreshed and crinkle-free!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Best Practice showcase – the Maven Trainers’ point of view

Following the APM Group’s 7th annual The Best Practice Showcase, Maven Training’s Client Relations Director, William Franklin, has asked Maven Training Trainers, a community of experts, to take some time to reflect on the most relevant finding from the event and share them with you. Here are some comments from our dear trainers Susan Tuttle, Tiffany Childs and Paul de Havilland.

Susan Tuttle, who delivered four out of our five Birds of a Feather sessions on the next steps for Project and Programme Management, said that the two questions that were most posed by the attendees were: “Project Managers – to professionalise or not to professionalise?” and “I need a training course on how to manage my manager – managing up and how that affects the effectiveness of a Project Manager”

Tiffany Childs was surprised at the level of interest/general appetite for P3O – several government organisations were keen to discuss and debate their current situation and were particularly looking for suggestions on how to improve the structure of their Portfolio/Programme/Project Offices. Given the current economic climate, the focus of conversation was on the need to maintain the functionality and credibility of the support office(s) while working with reduced access to resource. She goes on saying that there was little discussion on the upcoming launch of the P3O Practitioner qualification, but it would still be interesting to see what the uptake of this qualification will be, nonetheless – people seemed to be searching for answers!

As I'm a member of the APM, Paul de Havilland often mentions to delegates on courses the moves towards chartered status for project managers. He said he has not yet come across a delegate who's heard of this before my mentioning it! In fact, I find it's a minority of delegates who are even aware of the APM, as opposed to the PMI which seems to have much wider recognition – especially with people from multi-nationals. He also said that he’s personally enthusiastic about chartered status because, amongst other things, it could help to change decision makers' perceptions of project management to that of it being a discipline in its own right, with its own distinctive set of skills. One upshot of this might be for organisations to be more selective about who they entrust projects to – no one would consider the appointment of a an accountant with no qualifications or experience, yet this happens all the time in project management (he’s lost count of the number of nervous delegates who say 'I've just been moved into a project management role and I have no idea what it entails'). However, given the increasing profile of PMI, will even chartered status be enough to make the APM the natural 'professional body of choice' for UK project managers?

What about you? what did you think of the event? Please leave your thoughts and comments here!