Classes – Project Management

Project Management Classes from Your Clear Next Step

Looking for project management training? Check out these project management classes from Your Clear Next Step.

Accelerated Project Essentials

Learn the basics of project management that will help you “get” projects and understand how what you’re working on fits into the bigger picture.

Accelerated Project Essentials – Overview:

This introduction to project management is a quick-hit, what-you-really-need-to-know-about-projects kind of class. You’ll get useful tips and tools on how to “stop the crazy” and manage your flexible and rigid resources–scope, time, and cost. Hear about mistakes others have made in the past so you don’t have to learn the hard way, and try your hand at some project planning, risk management, and more.

All projects follow the same pattern and process, no matter what scale they’re on–from $100 to $1,000,000. This class is designed to demystify the project lifecycle to members of project teams, including (but not limited to!) Business Analysts, Quality Assurance Analysts, Architects, Subject Matter Experts, Business Leads, Developers, Support by introducing the stages of a project and giving you a better understanding of what goes on in each one.

The more you know, the more you can do. If you’re looking to grow your skills within your role and organization, a foundational knowledge of the project lifecycle is a must.

Accelerated Project Essentials – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Understand key moments in the project lifecycle, and the role of the team in those moments.
  • Recognize critical factors to a successful project – including effective communication, clear role definition, and proactive risk management.
  • Learn how scope, time, and cost influence each other and impact the project as a whole.
  • Gain exposure to change and risk management processes and techniques.

Accelerated Project Essentials – Agenda: 

  1. (20 min) Introductions, objective setting, & openers
  2. (50 min) Why are we doing this project?
    • Introduction of goals, objectives
    • Definition of critical success factors
    • Definition of key performance indicators
    • Introduction of benefits identification
    • How communication matters in the “why”
  3. (50 min) What is the project lifecycle?
    • Overview of the YCNS Project Road Map tailored to include references to approval gates
    • Sample representation of the project work efforts over time and alignment with key project deliverables
    • Introduction to the leading sources of project failure: Communication breakdown, Role & responsibility gaps, Risk Management failure
  4. (50 min) How Do We Stop the Crazy?
    • Introduction to the iron triangle and the balance of Scope Time and Cost
    • Specifying roles and responsibilities in scope, time, and cost management
    • Asking questions as a means of “stopping the crazy”
    • How communication matters in the “how”
  5. (50 min) What if: Risk of Change, Changing Risks?
    • Identifying the “usual” suspects
    • Anticipating change and planning ahead for it
    • Defining risk and risk management
    • Stating risks in an actionable way
  6. (20 min) Now What? Wrap-up, and reflection around communication approaches and accountability for next steps.

Aligning Your Project with Your Organization’s Strategic Goals

We’re too busy to waste time on projects that don’t deliver value.  Make sure you can describe how your project is in line with your organization’s strategic goals and save time and energy by getting all stakeholders on the same page about the project’s value.

Aligning Your Project with Your Organization’s Strategic Goals – Overview:

In most organizations today, we have more ideas than time and money to execute on those ideas.  Project Managers play a critical role in ensuring that the projects we choose to prioritize and spend our time and money on really do provide value to the organization.  Sadly, many of us have had the unfortunate experience of being on a project that didn’t quite seem valuable.  So what can we do?  Project Managers can make sure that our projects align with the organization’s goals or strategic plan.  And then, once we understand that alignment, we can make sure decisions within our project stay in lockstep with the organization’s priorities.  In this one-hour webinar, we’ll explore three foundational concepts in making sure your project aligns with the organizational goals.

Aligning Your Project with Your Organization’s Strategic Goals – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Encounter three ways to ensure your project aligns with organizational goals
  • Review tactical truths about your organization’s strategic plan
  • Explore the three most common project “whys, and identify how they impact your project’s priorities
  • Reflect on your current project stakeholders and how they perceive the project’s organizational alignment

Breaking Into Project Management

In partnership with your local PMI chapter, gain practical tools you can use to break in to the project management space.

Breaking Into Project Management – Overview:

  1. They learn some foundational PM content (this would be YCNS content from our training library, taken from our conceptual alignment of PMBOK knowledge areas and competencies) that gives the learners a real-life understanding of key PM terms.)
  2. They learn some very specific tips on how to break into the PM Space
    • Practice Project Management where you are (what that means and how to do it)
    • Get a PM mentor (what that means and how to do it)
    • Hang out with other PMs (what that means and how to do it)
  3. They learn how the PM Central Iowa Chapter is specifically positioned to help them with the three ways they can “break in”: study groups, mentoring programs, volunteerism in the chapter, etc. A representative from the PM-CIC serves as session co-host or panelist and chimes in at each of the three “how to break in” spaces to talk specifically about what the chapter has to offer members as they work on these.

Breaking Into Project Management – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Gain tips you can use to break into Project Management
  • Practice Project Management where you already are
  • Hang out with other PMs
  • Find a PM mentor

The Essential Project Manager

Designed specifically for Senior Project Managers, this course defines what it means to be nimble in your environment. This hands-on, no-nonsense class can serve as a foundation for you on some topics, an eye-opening refresher on others, and a trove of tools you can use right away.

The Essential Project Manager – Overview:

Project Managers are often involved in extensive projects in an uncertain environment, and it’s their job to manage and lead when things aren’t necessarily black and white.  If complexity and predictability are inversely related, and if we can’t reduce the complexity inherent in the work we’re doing, then we ought to find ways to increase predictability.  The flexible, “pick-a-tool-that-works-for-you” format will allow most anyone to grow their skills. While no one of us has the ability to be the perfect project manager, by sharing ideas and tips with others in class we can collectively grow our skills.

The Essential Project Manager – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Give you more “at your fingertips” to manage through the gray
    • Business Acumen
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Project practice maturity
  • Create an action plan for continued growth

Foundations of Project Management

This lively and highly interactive session will give individuals the critical essentials for getting a project done, regardless of the size or complexity, offering you techniques, concepts, and tools that will save you time and energy right away.

Foundations of Project Management – Overview:

This class is designed for individuals who are new to the PM space and need an introduction, or those more seasoned PMs who could use a refresher. This class includes everything you need to know to manage a successful project. Filled with fun activities and plenty of group interaction, this class will introduce you to many topics including, what a project manager is, what a project is, the project lifecycle, and helpful mnemonics. Additionally, participants will walk away with tools they can apply right away.

Foundations of Project Management – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Describe a project in a meaningful way – including the “what” and the “why” of it, a summary of the “how” and a prioritized statement of high-priority risks
  • Describe the road map of project management, include the processes and knowledge areas that contribute to project success, with a focus on stakeholder management through influence regardless of authoring:
    • Managing the triple constraint of Scope, Time, and Cost
    • Effective communication management
    • Risk management
  • Describe how the transition process impacts their team, and how projects cause change

Getting Sponsors Up to Speed

Learn the essence of project management from the perspective of the sponsor so that you can help drive projects to success.

Getting Sponsors Up to Speed – Overview:

Every project has two “required” roles – that of the project manager, and that of the sponsor. But often, our sponsors aren’t equipped with the information and resources they need to effectively sponsor projects. Sometimes they don’t understand how critical their role is, or how they can best support the projects they sponsor. Other times, they aren’t familiar with the methodology, vocabulary, or “science” of project management. And, in those cases when enterprise-wide changes to project management methodologies are rolled out, those who serve as sponsors often miss out on key messages. Organizations are increasingly aware of a need to train this audience, yet, ironically, those who sponsor projects tend to be among the busiest in organizations. To meet this need, we’ve created an accelerated project management training – in just a half a day, we can bring a group of sponsors the information they need to help ensure project success.

Taught and designed by seasoned PMs, specifically for those who are actively engaged in sponsoring projects, this class dives into the processes, knowledge areas, inputs, and outputs you need to know about to sponsor projects more effectively, and to support the rollout of any changes in project delivery methodologies and standards organization-wide. The course is fast-paced, covers the material that sponsors “need to know,” and provides ample opportunities for reflection and application.

Getting Sponsors Up to Speed – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Recognize critical factors to a successful project – including effective communication, clear role definition, and proactive risk management.
  • Understand key moments in the project lifecycle, and the role of the sponsor in those moments.
  • Practice recognizing, talking about, and navigating the priorities of the Iron Triangle.
  • Gain exposure to change and risk management processes and techniques.

Getting Sponsors Up to Speed – Agenda: 

  1. (10 min) Introductions, objective setting, & openers
  2. (40 min) Why are we doing this project?
    • Introduction of goals, objectives
    • Definition of critical success factors
    • Definition of key performance indicators
    • Introduction of benefits identification
    • How communication matters in the “why”
  3. (40 min) What is the project lifecycle?
    • Overview of the YCNS Project Road Map tailored to include references to approval gates
    • Sample representation of the project work efforts over time and alignment with key project deliverables
    • Introduction to the leading sources of project failure: Communication breakdown, Role & responsibility gaps, Risk Management failure
  4. (40 min) How Do We Stop the Crazy?
    • Introduction to the iron triangle and the balance of Scope Time and Cost
    • Specifying roles and responsibilities in scope, time, and cost management
    • Asking questions as a means of “stopping the crazy”
    • How communication matters in the “how”
  5. (40 min) What if: Risk of Change, Changing Risks?
    • Identifying the “usual” suspects
    • Anticipating change and planning ahead for it
    • Defining risk and risk management
    • Stating risks in an actionable way
  6. (10 min) Now What? Wrap-up, and reflection around communication approaches and accountability for next steps.

Maximizing Project Success Through PM-Sponsor Relationships

There is no more crucial relationship to the success of a project than the Project Manager / Project Sponsor relationship.  This full-day workshop explores how to develop and maximize that relationship in a way that ensures the success of the project and the organization.

Maximizing Project Success Through PM-Sponsor Relationships – Overview:

The relationship between the Project Manager and the Project Sponsor can make or break the project.  So often, we spend time working on the forms and the science of the process, but don’t invest quite enough time and energy in bringing people along and in the art of listening and the discipline of influence.

Designed and taught specifically for those in the roles of Project Manager and Project Sponsor, this full-day workshop explores both the science of project management and the art of communication and interactions at work, specifically as related to the PM/Sponsor interactions.

In this lively, highly interactive, hands-on workshop, we’ll review foundational principles in effective communication as well as encounter how those principles apply specifically to the most common interactions between project managers and sponsors during the project lifecycle, and practice ways to make them even better to ensure project success.

Maximizing Project Success Through PM-Sponsor Relationships – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Encounter and engage with a representative sampling of sponsors, using a project-communication-focused profile summary
  • Explore communication planning tools that help ensure effective delivery of communications within a project
  • Practice specific conversations, topics, and issues that come up during the project lifecycle and engage with different sponsor types to develop words and messaging to improve the effectiveness of communication
  • Create their own, personal “quick reference guide” for improving their effectiveness in communicating with stakeholders

Procurement Project Management

This class is designed specifically for those who do not have a firm background in project management, but who are faced with procurement efforts that need to get done and get done well. This class is packed full of useful strategies to help procurement professionals approach their projects in a more comprehensive way, ensuring that the full lifecycle of the procurement process is managed well.  Leveraging best practices in project management will ensure repeatable processes, more satisfied stakeholders, more effective communication, and fewer headaches along the way.

Procurement Project Management – Overview:

In this tailored course, in which examples are drawn from real-life procurement examples, participants will learn about the non-negotiable essentials of effective project delivery and how that applies to procurement, to help improve procurement success.  Framing success around three simple questions:

  1. What are you doing and why
  2. How you’re going to get it done
  3. What’s standing in your way and what you’re going to do about it

This allows the procurement professional to keep the critical success factors of the project at their fingertips at all times.  We’ll begin by making the case for running procurement efforts as projects, including specific examples and a discussion around the most common pain points in procurement, and how project management can alleviate those.  During this course, we’ll overview the ten key knowledge areas of project management (stakeholder management, scope, time, cost, communication, integration, human resources, quality, risk, and procurement) and the characteristics of the very best (Being Inclusive, Insightful and In the Best Interest of the Business).  Learning will be punctuated with compelling stories, and reinforced with hands-on activities, and tools you can take away and start using as soon as you get back to your desk. This lively and highly interactive session gives individuals the critical essentials for approaching procurement efforts as projects, and ensuring that the procurement process gets done well, in a repeatable, proven approach to project execution, including techniques, concepts, and tools that will save valuable time and energy right away.

Procurement Project Management – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Be inspired and able to leverage project management concepts and processes when executing procurement initiatives
  • Practice describing a procurement project, including recognizing what the desired project at hand is, and why it is being undertaken
  • Practice using a reusable tool to help assemble and visualize the “how” of the procurement project (who, when, how much, how long, etc.)
  • Practice identifying and describing risk areas that have the potential to impact its success, and identifying, defining, refining, and communicating response plans to risks
  • Practices using a roadmap of critical knowledge areas and steps within the lifecycle of a project, specifically tailored for procurement
  • Create a reusable checklist for approaching procurement projects in a comprehensive yet efficient way
  • Practice key steps of the project lifecycle through simulated activities
  • Practice demonstrating control over a simulated project through verbal updates and in-class created artifacts

Project Management Fundamentals - 1 Day PM

Designed specifically for those who are actively managing projects without extensive project management training, this class is an in-depth look into the processes, knowledge areas, inputs, and outputs you need to know to manage projects effectively and successfully.

Project Management Fundamentals – Overview:

Learn key knowledge areas and critical success factors now so you don’t have to learn them the hard way later. This class is a high energy, hands-on balance of PMBOK knowledge and application as well as best practices learned and passed down by the pros. Walk away with critical essentials for getting a project done regardless of size or complexity, as well as techniques, concepts, and tools that will save you time and energy in the future.

You’ll learn about the non-negotiable essentials that help you get it done.  Your learning will be punctuated with compelling stories, and reinforced with hands-on activities, and tools you can take away and start using as soon as you get back to your desk.

Project Management Fundamentals – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Describe the characteristics of a project
  • Complete a roadmap of critical knowledge areas within the lifecycle of a project
  • Practice initiating, planning, managing, and closing down a project, including:
    • describing what it is, and why it’s being undertaken
    • what has the potential to impact its success, and what the response plans are to the potential risks
    • demonstrating control over a project
  • Utilize a reusable set of tools for approaching projects in a comprehensive yet efficient way

Project Management Fundamentals – Agenda: 

8:30-9:45 – Introduction, Objectives & Project Definition

  • During the morning session, participants are introduced to each other, the objectives of the session, and the key characteristics of a project.   Participants are introduced to the essential questions (1) What are you doing and why, (2) How are you going to get it done, and (3) What’s standing in your way, and what are you going to do about it.  Participants are provided with a worksheet to be completed in-class that helps them talk through a sample project as well as list the essentials about the projects they’re currently working on in their work environment.

10:00-11:45 – Seriously, Stop the Crazy Chicken in Her Quilted Red Poncho

  • With the use of a vivid mnemonic device and supported by a worksheet to be completed in small groups, participants learn about the nine knowledge areas leveraged within effective project management and complete a roadmap of which project levers can be pulled at different moments in the project lifecycle.  Small-group activities and a class-wide game of concentration help solidify new concepts.

12:45-2:15 – Let’s give it a try

  • During the first afternoon session, participants are split into small groups with a sample project that they must start up, plan, execute, and close down.  Project complexities and changes taken from real-life scenarios are introduced along the way, allowing participants the chance to practice keeping the project on track through obstacles, changes, opportunities, and distractions.  Participants have a chance to talk through what they learned during the project lifecycle as a large group, and thereby benefit from the learnings, observations, and experiences of others within the class.

2:30-4:00 – Being inclusive, insightful, and in the best interest of the business

  • During the final session, participants have a chance to take the basics that they’ve learned and go one step further.  Based on the most common sources of project failure, case studies and hands-on worksheets allow participants to take a deep dive into communication, risk management, and business value for project leaders.

Project Management Essentials - 2 Day PM

This hands-on, no-nonsense class can serve as a foundation for project managers new to their role, as well as an eye-opening refresher for seasoned project managers who have been managing projects for years, and you’ll come away with tools you can use right away.

Project Management Essentials – Overview:

Designed specifically for those who are actively managing projects, this class is a deep dive into the processes, knowledge areas, inputs, and outputs you need to know in order to manage projects more effectively. Based on the best practices of the Project Management Institute’s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge 6th Edition, this highly interactive class will give you a chance to evaluate and improve your approach to project management.

You’ll learn about the constants – those fundamentals of project management that hold true regardless of the scope or nature of the project – plus, you’ll be exposed to some of the most common reasons project approaches vary.

Project Management Essentials – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Identify the ten knowledge areas and major process groups described by PMI’s PMBOK
  • Practice creating commonly-used artifacts within the Project Management Lifecycle
  • Describe some of the common mistakes made in Project Management
  • Practice creating and managing a project plan
  • Create solution options for building and maintaining a project team
  • Identify opportunities for improvement, using recent projects as examples

Project Management Essentials – Agenda: 

(DAY 1) 8:30-10:00 – Introduction, Objectives & the Basics

  • During the opening session, participants will be introduced to each other, as well as to the agenda and objectives of the course.  We’ll cover the key concepts of the course, including the definition of a project, the Project Management Institute, the Project Management Body of Knowledge, and get a working definition of the concepts of project, project manager, and a project lifecycle, as well as provide examples of projects the class participants are engaged in currently.  The opening session also includes interest-grabbing horror stories of projects gone awry and statistics around project failures.  Participants receive a project road map as a tool to capture their notes from the class.

(DAY 1) 10:15-11:45 – Seriously Stop The Crazy

  • A very meaty section of the two-day agenda, this session will focus around the triple constraint, the “iron triangle” of project management:  scope, time, and cost.  The three concepts are taught in a large-group session, and the tension between them will be covered using a visual demonstration of tug-of-war once the class has been divided into three groups.  This content is taught in the context of effective stakeholder management.

(DAY 1) 12:45-2:15 – The Human Side:  Communication and Human Resources

  • This session includes a deep dive into the pitfalls of communication, and common mistakes made with regard to human resource management.  Participants have a chance to learn their own communication preferences and use partner activities to assess the communication style of those around them.  Interactive activities in small groups allow participants to practice adapting their leadership style to meet the needs of those around them.

(DAY 1) 2:30-4:00 – Managing Risk and Procurement

  • The first day closes with a close look at risk management, including a deep dive into risk assessment, risk response planning, and risk monitoring and control.  Procurement is taught through situational examples, and the two-way paths between risk and procurement are brought home through a small-group activity.

(DAY 2) 8:30-10:00 –Quality and Integration – bringing it all together

  • The concepts of quality and integration are used at the beginning of the second day to bring together all of the concepts and key knowledge areas from the day before.  Participants have a chance to create a quality plan, and a board-game style activity allows participants to internalize the project manager role of “Integrator”.

(DAY 2) 10:15-11:45 – Building & managing a project plan

  • Participants are divided into small groups and given a sample project, to create a project plan, including a Work Breakdown Structure and a sample Gantt chart, and a project budget.  They have a chance to present their project plans to the rest of the class.  Together, the class explores what-if scenarios for the different project plans.

(DAY 2) 12:45-2:15 – Forming & Leading a project team

  • Back in their small groups, participants are given an opportunity to practice building a project team and responding to frequently-encountered human resource challenges and issues involving the team and the project stakeholders.  Each team’s proposed solution to a given scenario is discussed with the whole class, allowing all of the participants to benefit from collaborating and to learn from each other’s ideas and experiences.

(DAY 2) 2:30-4:30 – Looking back to move forward

  • This final section of the class includes the introduction of the “Retrospective” (a variant of the “lessons learned” meeting introduced by agile project practices), where participants have a chance to evaluate their most recent project experiences according to what went well, what they would do differently, what they learned, and what still puzzles them.  Participants have a chance to document and share what they will do differently as a result of what they’ve learned over the past two-day session and collaborate on open questions that remain.

Project Management Good to Great

This presentation addresses the specific things an experienced project manager can do differently to move to the next level of expertise, presented in an entertaining and energizing way, that is both a transfer of knowledge and a call to action.

Project Management Good to Great – Overview:

Awareness of the knowledge areas and process groups with the Project Management Body of Knowledge is useful, but the differentiator between a good project manager and great one comes in the degree to which the project manager is able to be inclusive, insightful, and operate in the best interest of business.

Participants will walk away with their own customized list they can take action on right away. This session touches on the key elements of influence, including effective relationship-building, trust, and organizational awareness through compelling stories and actionable steps.

Project Management Good to Great – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Encounter a concept of project management excellence that will help you transition from good to great
  • Engage with proven tools and techniques around
    • Communication management
    • Risk management
    • Stakeholder management
  • Commit to applying one new tool, technique, or concept

Risky Business

We often encounter the same sources of risks form project to project, but no one likes to talk about risk management, and we mistakenly assume risk management is too tedious and time consuming to struggle with, but we can do better.

Risky Business – Overview:

By spending a little more focused time and effort on risk management, we can improve our predictability, our effectiveness, and our business results – our overall success! With a few simple tools, we can improve the way we think about, prioritize, talk about, anticipate, and respond to risks in our environments, and we can bring others along with us.

Risky Business – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Meet the “Usual Suspects” of project risk
  • Practice stating risks in an actionable way
  • Use a simple technique to prioritize risks based on their impact and probability
  • Practice four useful response strategies for risks (and one to avoid)

The Three I’s of Effective Project Management

This session will introduce you to the three cardinal rules of project success. These key factors determine the success of any initiative, and you’ll walk away with tools to address them in a practical, tangible way.

The Three I’s of Effective Project Management – Overview:

Any project or initiative, large or small, must meet three key initiatives. It must be inclusive, where the right people participate in the right communications at the right time and in the right way. It must be insightful, where project leaders and team members use the best practices and experiential lessons to consider and manage risks carefully and appropriately. Finally, any project or initiative must be in the best interest of the business. This course outlines each area clearly, with plenty of anecdotal evidence through lessons-learned-the-hard-way across multiple industries and initiatives.

The Three I’s of Effective Project Management – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Identify the three foundational and overarching concepts in project management
  • Interact with stakeholder management tools to help ensure a project is adequately inclusive
  • Explore facets of risk management, including common risk culprits and causes of project failure
  • Discover project management tools that can be used across any industry and discipline from any role

Working Well With Vendors

Vendors are an important part of many projects. Because of this, it is important to know how to prevent pain points and leverage best practices with vendors.

Working Well With Vendors – Overview:

This course has been designed using Your Clear Next Step’s proven approach to training, and includes a blend of instructor-led presentation, group discussion, small-group activities, as well as individual reflection and application. The purpose of this course is to improve the collective ability of the organization to work with vendors to achieve the desired results. It will address the greatest and most pressing challenges in this field and will include discussion and hands-on application. By engaging a broad number of participants, this class will allow an immediate and wide-spread organization focus on improving the effectiveness of vendor management.

Working Well With Vendors – Objectives: 

By attending this course, participants will:

  • Recognize the most common pain points associated with vendor management and learn to identify common causes, and how to avoid them
  • Explore the critical success moments in the vendor management process and how to leverage the available tools and messages for the best possible outcome
  • Become conversational in the key roles and responsibilities associated with the vendor management, to help each person take accountability for their own role
  • Gain immediately applicable strategies and tactics for effective vendor management that can be applied to their current situation

Are you ready?

Are you ready to boost your skills and make your work even better? We are here to help!

Contact us today about how we can deliver any of these classes to your team today.

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