One of the most important ingredients for the success of your e-learning project is the team that you will be working with. Most Project Managers are not in the fortunate position that they can choose their teams.
It is highly likely that you will also have to manage people as part of the project for whom this is not their day job. This blog looks at some of the skills you will require as a Project Manager and some of the ways you can manage and motivate your team to achieve success.
The Project Manager
Congratulations if you have taken on the role of Project Manager for an e-learning project. It will be an exciting and rewarding project that can make a real difference to your organisation and your customers. Here are some of the key attributes you will need.
You may encounter conflict – either personally – or between your project team members and you will need to find a way to resolve the conflict and move on.
Key to your role will be keeping everyone informed of the project and its progress. You need to be able to sell new ideas to people and get commitment to your project.
You will be managing people working for you on the project – either directly or in a matrix structure.
You may have to be responsible for keeping a selection of project documents up to date.
You will need to negotiate for resources and compete with other projects to get senior management commitment.
Your project is a key change in the organisation and you will need to be skilled at managing different points of view and reactions.
You will need to “sell” the change to people across the organisation and take actions that will persuade people to adapt to a new way of doing things.
8. Planner and organiser
You will be managing a range of activities that need to take place within specified timescales.
You will need to understand the systems and processes of the organisation you work in and to have knowledge of the techniques used in project management and planning (see previous section).
10. Business professional
Delivering a project requires strong business acumen particularly if you are responsible for a budget and resources.
11. Change agent
Delivering a project means change and you will need to be comfortable with change management processes and techniques.
So not much required for the job of Project Manager!
As well as these it is helpful for the project manager to understand the systems and processes of the organisation they work in and to have a knowledge of the techniques used in project management and planning.
The role of Project Manager – filling the gaps
It is not always possible to have all of the skills and knowledge required in one person. We all work differently and over time have developed strengths in different areas. We also have a personal preference for the way we work. If there are areas in which you don’t feel confident you can…
1. Formal Training and Development
Depending on the project timescale you may have the opportunity to invest in your own development and learn new skills. Learning Pool can provide a range of training options to assist you with e-learning skills and knowledge. Other formal training could include Project Management, Leadership and Team Building. Check the Learning Pool catalogue for what you can learn from our courses.
2. On the Job Learning
Having completed some e-learning you may feel comfortable about applying your new skills and knowledge whilst you are working on the project. For example, completing the project documentation is something that you can really only get good at when you do it. Work with your team, be honest about your level of experience and learn together.
3. Coaching and Mentoring
You may identify someone in your organisation who is a good project manager that you would benefit from their skills and experience. Ask them to help you. It is always very satisfying to be asked. You may wish to shadow their meetings or talk them through the issues you are trying to resolve. Your Learning Pool team are also on hand to help you.
I’m useless with numbers. I know that and no matter how hard I’ve tried to learn I don’t seem to get it. Recognising this I have always made friends with the people in Finance and ensure that I have one of them on my team. If there are areas that you don’t have the skills or experience in, find someone who does.
Three rewards of being a good Project Manager
So why do this?
It might be that you are passionate about your project and want to see it delivered successfully. That must be the ultimate satisfaction for any project manager. But you can also achieve the following:
- Developing Yourself – New skills, new challenges, new people! All of these will help you to develop your experience and knowledge.
- Developing Others – Introducing e-learning will give you the opportunity to introduce your team to a new system, the way in which you deliver your project may also give people the chance to develop themselves. Include personal development plans as part of your project.
- Developing the Organisation – As well as delivering a product that is all about development, you have the chance to deliver your project in such a way that the organisation benefits from the learning you experience. Your Project Closure Report should identify any new ways of doing things that worked well and can be passed on to others.
Article by: Wendy Kay