Life Long Learning Akademija

Vi ste ovdje: Naslovnica


Anthony Eve, PMP, MAPM, PRINCE2 Practitioner 

1. L3A: BMC lecturers have been coming to Croatia for several years and in co-operation with Life Long Learning Academy teach project management based on PMI standard. Can you please tell us for whom are those courses intended, shortly describe your methods of teaching and what participants gain after finishing the course.

Anthony Eve: BMC’s courses are intended for a variety of audiences. We have specific courses for different participants in the project management area, whether they be executive or senior management, project managers, functional mangers, project team members or project assistance personnel. BMC also delivers specific courses related to particular industries, such as finance, engineering, construction, IT, pharmaceutical, etc.

All BMC’s training is aimed at providing basic learning, or knowledge; sharing the experience of the consultant delivering the training, and also the experience of the participants; providing an opportunity to try out the learning on ‘real life projects; and providing the opportunity to identify development opportunities in individuals and companies that enables actions to be established to achieve that development.  

 

2. L3A: Considering that you are coming from U.K. and that you have taught and consulted participants throughout the world, have you noticed certain differences between Croatian participants and participants from other countries?

Anthony Eve: Not specifically. Different cultures and values are something the project manager has to be aware of, especially in international project teams. We can define cultures and values in three main groups, societal, or country; company; and individual. With societal culture and values we quite often see preferences to how different groups of people treat time. Some groups prefer to do many activities all at the same time, in parallel, juggling a lot of things simultaneously. This is fairly typical in southern Europe, where as northern European countries such as the UK, Germany, Belgium, northern France generally prefer to deal with activities in a sequential way. The same word can also have two different meanings to people from different societies, for one it something that can be accomplished, for the other it is something that requires further investigation. Not a huge difference, but the approach to the project would be quite different, one is looking at implementing with a few unanswered questions, the other is researching and investigating.

Companies also have different approaches, cultures and values systems. Companies that merge or acquire one another often face large challenges in aligning their organizational ‘ways of working’ due to those differences. The value achieved from such mergers can take years to materialize. Individuals also have different value sets according to race, religion or belief. Such diversity presents a challenge to the project manager in terms of clarifying understanding, language and terminology. At the same time that diversity is also an asset in creating solutions and innovative ideas.

 

3. L3A: Even though you generally hold in-house courses, sometimes you also hold open courses for participants from different companies. Can you tell us what are the main differences between those two and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Anthony Eve: The main differences between the in-company and public courses are mainly to do with how the basic learning or knowledge is delivered, how experienced is shared amongst the participants, and how the learning is applied in the workshop environment. In the in-company course knowledge is delivered in a very focused way towards the customers own industry, examples are more closely related to their core business, where as in a public course a more wider variety of industry examples is used. Experience shared within the course is either more specific in the in-company course, but more varied in the public version. The In-company courses generally use their own projects to apply learning, however in the public course participants may use a generic case study, or a project that comes from an industry area that a participant isn’t normally associated with. These are both advantages and dis-advantages depending on the expectations of the individuals participating in the training, different examples often stimulate new thinking and ideas. Different industries have different strengths of the Project Management System, for example the pharmaceutical industry generally has great strength in prioritizing projects, the IT industry has evolved a flexible and iterative way for scheduling work, and the engineering industry has developed some excellent earned value systems.

4. L3A: You are a partner and vice-president of the Business Management Consultants Consulting Division. BMC consultants are known in Croatia mostly as lecturers, but could you tell us more about the consulting part of your job? When and why would an organization need your services? And how can a company from Croatia contact you?

Anthony Eve: Training is only one part of the possible development activity an organization can implement to improve its overall Project Management System (PMS). There are many aspects of a PMS that could require complete design, and/or implementation and enhancement. For example an organization may require a generic project lifecycle designed, procedures documented, methods written, templates established. They may require the establishment of a Project Management Office (PMO), or an Enterprise-wide office. They may still further require the documentation of an overall policy statement for project management, or the establishment of a project ranking, prioritization and classification tool, or just automation of the system through software implementation.

Although training may have been carried out, there may also be a need for continued mentoring and coaching of staff, so that the training value is maximized through the application of methodology directly onto the job. Many organizations just require assistance with the first step in improving their PMS, that of an initial baseline or benchmark, which is used to develop a ‘road map’ for improvement. BMC can, and has, helped many organizations with the above consulting services, whether purely designing a component, and/or implementing it also.

 

5. L3A: Can you tell us why a company would choose project management as their management method? Currently there are several scenarios in Croatia:

  • Some employees are educated for PM, but their senior management isn’t, there is a lack of organizational support, employees are frustrated.
  • The company requires that their employees are constantly being educated and certified but only after an external demand arises (laws, tenders, EU funding programs etc.)
  • Some organizations educated their employees for PM, but don’t have an incorporated system nor the organizations support.

Which benefits and advantages individuals and companies acquire from adopting PM methodology?

Anthony Eve: There have been many management methods or systems that have been in and out of vogue (favor) over the years. Perhaps three of the more notable are Total Quality Management (TQM), Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. There are many documented articles as to the successes and failures of these approaches. At the core of each of these methods is project management, if you ask an expert of any of these approaches you will get the same answer, good project management is critical to the success of these methods. Like project management, these methodologies are used by organizations to get work done in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Some of the research and study into the use of best practice project management indicates substantial improvements to an organization’s bottom-line performance. Collated, this research indicates that an 18% improvement, reduction in project costs, is typical from the implementation of a robust project management approach and behaviors. Individuals also benefit from increased moral and motivation, due top the involvement and empowerment they obtain, this in return increases their retention as employees within the company.

6. L3A: You are a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and a PRINCE2 Practitioner Can you shortly explain what kind of titles are these?

Anthony Eve: The Project Management Institutes (PMI®) Project Management Professional (PMP®) and PRINCE2 credentials relate to the successful application in meeting certain criteria, and the successful sitting and passing of an examination. The two processes are slightly different. The PMP® credential requires a person to submit an application that demonstrates a certain number of hours of project management experience, a level of recognized eductaion and demonstrate they have achieved 35 professional development units (PDU's) from a registered PMI® educational provider, of which BMC is one. Successful application enables the person to register and sit the PMP® at an independent ProMetrics testing center. The examination itself is 4 hours in duration and of a multiple choice nature.

The PRINCE2 credential is normally taken as part of a 5 day educational training course. Participants learn the basic methodology of PRINCE2 and normally on their third day sit the first of two examinations, the Foundation exam. This is also multiple choice in nature. The particpants then learn about the more applicational aspects of PRINCE2, with the last day being dedicated to the sitting of the second examination for Practitioner status. Participants have to have passed the Foundation exam to sit the Practitioner examination, which is in the form of objective-based testing.

 

7. L3A: And one last question – when do you plan to come back to Croatia and which course will you be holding?

Anthony Eve: I’m pleased to say that I’m scheduled to be back in Croatia during January. I will be holding an in-company course training participants in the softer, people-side aspects of project management. It is commonly recognized that the people-side aspects are 50% of the project manager’s job, the other 50% being the tools the project manager uses to plan and control the project. The course I will be delivering will focus on cultures and values, the characteristics of a project leader/manager, team building, problem solving, or cognitive styles we use to resolve issues, the art of good communication, how to empower and motivate, leadership styles, and how to use those styles in different situations when faced with different levels of capability, readiness, and willingness of the team.

 

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