MGT 598: Why it’s worth waking up for class on Saturday mornings…

Besides the fact that MGT 598 is one of the last classes that stands between most of us and our diploma, a recent study from consulting firm Project Management Solutions has concluded that companies gain a variety of benefits by investing in instructor-led classroom training on project management.

The survey results report that “project management training initiatives improved eight aspects of business and project performance by an average of 26 percent.” Categories that were cited include: stakeholder satisfaction, scheduling, decrease in project failures, keeping projects on budget, gathering requirements, quality, productivity, and time to market. While the results are somewhat subjective, the percentage is high enough where I think we can all agree the improvement was significant.

The findings indicate the type of training invested in also makes a difference in the results. According to the study, 69% of respondents rated instructor-led classroom training as the most effective method. I guess we’ve come to the right place!

Personally, I know that I have already benefitted from many of the in-class and blog discussions our group has had. One that is top of mind this week relates to the category called out above related to “decrease in project failures.” It seems that one of the best avenues to accomplishing this objective is employing risk management techniques. While risk management seems like an obvious topic to consider, truthfully, I have never worked on a team where this topic was formally discussed in the planning stages of the project. It hasn’t been until something begins to go wrong where this concept has been addressed.

By addressing the topic of risk management in our own class projects, it is already easy to see the benefits of risk management can be significant. Including a risk analysis in the early planning stages of the project can help the team think through potential challenges and proactively try to avoid some of the potential obstacles. It is certainly a practice I will continue to employ as I manage projects in the future.

What has been the most worthwhile learning for you so far in MGT 598?


7 thoughts on “MGT 598: Why it’s worth waking up for class on Saturday mornings…

  1. I agree with you that classroom discussion on project management topics has been beneficial to me even though I have extensively use PM methods for a number of years at work. For me the exercise and discussions on task definition and network diagram was a fresh look on an important PM activity.

    We use Risk Management techniques quite extensively at my work but I think we have over-engineered this PM activity to the point where the ROI is low.

    I do look forward to the few remaining classes before we graduate, though!!!

  2. I think classroom training is obviously of benefit as that is how the majority of us learned everything from our ABCs to Calculus. Project management is likely viewed as best learned from doing rather than reading or attending lectures and I imagine that is probably a true case. One advantage however that lectures offer over hands on experience is the availability of a wide range of experiences and schools of thought offered up in a short time period. When taking current project managers and putting them into formal classroom settings, the attendees will benefit from instructor knowledge and peer knowledge and while all of the teachings may not be applicable, a few pieces here or there are likely enough to make it worthwhile.

  3. I agree classroom training helps a lot on any subject matter. While I do not have any project management experience, I am able to now learn the basics and then analyze the projects in a different perspective. With blog posts and in classroom discussion, different experiences from various backgrounds simply open my eyes to new avenues.
    I think sometimes when a person is a subject matter expert, he/she may overthink or as Asif’s comment mentioned over-engineered certain aspects of a project. By giving classroom training and listening to different experiences, one may utilize this unique experience with a fresh perspective.

  4. I think I have a better toolbox for organizing tasks (i.e. gantt charts). We’ve also talked a great deal about scope, but while often causes problems, was not on the top of my mind when I began this class. The risk management piece is very important, as that is often forgotten.

  5. I have learned quite a bit about project management. While I have worked on many projects, I have never had the formal educational training on project management. It is always advantageous to have a fundamental background on whatever topic you may be faced with. I found the whole project proposal, project implementation plan, and especially the project risk management reports very beneficial. If there is one thing I would take away from this course is that with any project that you face, risk management should be an integral part at the onset of any project. Recognizing risks and formulating contingency plans and reassessing project risks throughout the life of a project is something I will practice in all my projects going forward.

  6. I agree with the above comments in that this Project Management class has been very beneficial. I’m actually surprised that project management isn’t a required course in an MBA program. Many tasks whether you are the performer or the manager require some level of project management skills.

    I’m often the kind of person that rolls up my sleeves and jumps right into to things. While I know that’s not always the best way of accomplishing tasks, this course has really highlighted the benefit of breaking down the individual parts of every project.

    Along with the others, I also benefited from the risk management exercise. I actually work alongside our company’s Risk Management Department and have learned from them and this class additional skills and questions I should be asking my business partners in the projects I work on.

  7. I am currently in the “Summer 2013” session and we had our first class last week Saturday. I can already relate to your post and definitely think that taking an instructor-led course in project management is beneficial. In our first class we worked on two assignments that showed us the value of teamwork along with how we need to manage the critical components of project management (time, cost and performance). Both assignments showed the value of planning and how decision-making is important. For example, in the “A Project Management Decision-Making Game” I learned that communication – active listening is definitely a must since we missed a milestone by not paying enough attention to our team member. This also relates to what we learned in class related to improving communication among all stakeholders. Overall, I can relate to your post and believe that even in my first class, I have learned several key concepts along with Do’s and Don’ts in a team environment.

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