At the center of any comprehensive employee development initiative are instructional designers, performance consultants, graphics designers, artists, videographers, programmers, and a number of other employees working in tandem. For this precise reason, team management is central to the success of a project. With poor communication between teams, unclear expectations on deliverables or timelines can lead to projects falling flat.
Project management is is also critical to the success of a corporate training program. But what constitutes effective project management? As one of our project managers states, “The key to project management is keeping it process-rich but process-flexible.”
Let’s talk about what that means.
Building the Bones of Project Management
To work efficiently, those on the project team need to operate according to some kind of standardized processes. This may lead some to immediately think of those elaborate project management models that dictate rigid, detailed steps for design, development, and deployment. Luckily, this isn’t necessarily the case. Training consultants, like those at AllenComm, often use hybrid variations of the ADDIE and Agile project management models, each consisting of phased development and review cycles that deliver tangible products.
However, alignment becomes even more important as processes flex and deviate from a standard. That's why a few key features are critical for any project management strategy. Here are a few steps to further communication and alignment:
- Stakeholder Alignment: Gather your project stakeholders to ensure that everyone's goals for the project are being addressed by the program strategy.
- Pre-Development Design Strategy Review: Before you begin building, ensure the client has approved the design of the final product.
- Download Meeting: Meet with the entire project team to set expectations and timelines.
- Content Development Review: During development cycles, have the client review training content to ensure it reflects their brand language.
- Phase One Deployment Review: After the deployment of the first phase, review development challenges so you're still on track for the final product delivery.
The Heart of Project Management
In the L&D industry, people are the center of project management. You can't escape process altogether, but a training project manager’s greatest concern shouldn't be whether or not every last process is being upheld. Instead, the focus should be on whether the client is happy and whether the project teams are working together effectively. Moreover, communication between clients and project teams comes down to people. Processes can't always do much to account for poor communication and conflicting personalities. Often, learning consultants have to change some aspect of their process to align people. And though this may not fit your current development model, it's important to allow for some flexibility.
If part of your development model doesn’t allow for such a change, then your process is more of a problem than an asset. A number of sources will tell you that overgrown processes get in the way.
As you navigate training project design and development (or work with a training consultant), remember that effective project management is vital. That means managing people and processes. By keeping your processes highly flexible and process-rich, project teams can ensure learning goals are met and, most importantly, ensure clients are happy.