I have been a certified project manager for over 15 years and have trained project managers for 10 years. In all my project management courses, I start by explaining to the students that without realizing it, they are natural project managers. If you have ever planned a wedding, a family vacation or home improvement project, you have managed a project. When you strip away the technical terms, such as work breakdown structures, Gantt Charts and risk mitigation, project management is essentially determining who does what, when and with what resources to deliver the final project product or service.
Doesn’t “determining who does what, when, where and how” sound much like what you do as a training manager?
Project management can become complicated quickly, as the project manager has to balance the competing demands of providing a quality product or service while staying within a budget and using only the resources provided. There is always the specter of risk, which will disrupt even the best-laid plans of project managers. The real value of project management certification is that the project manager learns a body of knowledge and best practices to help him or her deal with the complexity and risks of real-world projects. The project manager also becomes a member of a community of project managers, which is a great resource in building project management skills.
The same is true of the Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM™). This certification includes a body of knowledge and best practices for managing training programs. It also aids the training manager in determining who does what, when, where and how in designing, implementing and managing training programs. And, like the certified project manager, the CPTM joins a community of training managers.
The CPTM adds an element to your skills, which is creating the “why” of the training programs: Does the training contribute to the strategic objectives of the organization? Rarely does the project manager have to determine how the project will fulfill the organization’s strategic objectives. The training manager needs to sell training programs by supporting their strategic impact.
Because of the similarities between the CPTM and project management certification, CPTMs (and future CPTMs) could benefit from pursuing project management certification as well. The advantage of building proficiency in project management is that you can soon develop the processes and mechanisms to handle the logistical tasks of training. Tasks like scheduling facilitators and classrooms, creating training materials, registering students for your courses and other administrative tasks can pull you away from the most important responsibility of a training manager: creating courses and programs to help the organization and employees meet their strategic and work goals.
The most useful skill I learned from project management is how to be a servant leader. Servant leaders excel at developing their people to be self-starters and self-guided in completing the project tasks. As a servant leader, your job is to support employees in completing tasks while guiding their work toward the strategic vision.
My project management skills help me master the daily tasks of training management and keep me from being overwhelmed by the many logistical and administrative tasks of training. Project management also gives me a set of competencies I can use to empower my training team and frees my time so I can focus on ensuring that training programs and courses fulfill the strategic purposes of the organization. Spending more time selling the strategic significance of my training programs while having a well-run training department makes me a valuable training manager in my organization.