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Home LIBRARY Articles COMPETENCE - cost effectiveness in p3 team competence and delivery

COMPETENCE - cost effectiveness in p3 team competence and delivery

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“Developing and supporting Project/Programme team competence - blended approaches save money, get results fast - a survival approach for many”

Logo for Learning and SkillsLogo of Learning Technologies



Who will find this article useful?
  • Programme and Portfolio directors
  • PMO and Support Offices
  • Centre of Excellence managers
  • Corporate continuous improvement functions


2 significant observations from my visit to this years joint Learning & Skills and Learning Technologies exhibitions.

Observation 1 – the exhibition floor space given over to the Technologies section was twice the size of that for the ‘traditional’ or non-Technology section

Observation 2 – 3 APM-GROUP Accredited Training Organisations (that is PRINCE2, MSP, MOR, P3O, ITIL etc.) chose to exhibit, and/or speak at seminars, on the Technology floor, not the Learning & Skills one.

What to make of these observations? Well, firstly that, rightly or wrongly, there is a lot of Technology ‘product’ available to support training, learning and work support – and a lot of people queuing up to buy. Secondly, those looking at PRINCE2 (or any of the others listed above) are being offered, and presumably buying, innovative, durable and much lower cost training solutions compared to traditional classroom training – that is why the likes of ILX, Red Tray and Maven Training all appeared on the Technology floor.


If you are responsible for purchasing training, or developing and maintaining the competence of Portfolio, Programme and Project ‘people’ then you should be interested in these developments.

If you are looking at straight subject training, for example PRINCE2 knowledge, then ILX and Redtray both have products in this area. ILX has continued to build a strong CBT (Computer Based Training) presence over the last few years – they have a solid and well designed CD-ROM and blended learning approach, this includes remote support and in-class sessions for examination preparation. Although relatively low cost it is possible to buy a classroom course cheaper – discounting and very aggressive price setting has seen a full PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner course below £600!

Redtray’s approach is different. Over many years they have developed immense skill and expertise in building and deploying technology based e-learning platforms for major clients. This year they have taken this competence to launch real-time tutor-led e-learning courses using ‘web room’ training technology - they call this "Cloudrooms - a virtual classroom solution". So, the trainer is in one country, the many delegates are in theirs and the course takes place over several weeks (2 hours per session for example). A significant cost-reduction from a classroom situation, and possibly a less intense experience for some delegates.

I would expect to see a lot more training, learning and work support move away from classroom, physical workshop and onto the web. But it’s not always the most appropriate for all situations, people and organisations – so buy wisely!


On a different tack – I am a great fan of using web based technologies, and in particular Learning Management Systems (LMS), as a tool to support Centres of Excellence, Communities of Practice and organisational maturity. This should interest anyone who manages a PMO or Support Office function (Portfolio, Programme or Project) or has responsibility for organisational development and 'talent'.

Imagine you are in this situation; you are the head of a Programme Management Office. Your responsibilities include: continuous improvement (capturing lessons, consolidating and disseminating these), skill tracking, development and P3 staff appointment, Project/Programme troubleshooting, developing the culture and professionalism of P3 staff (Community of Practice) You have limited budget.

Well, using very simple Learning Management System software you could do the following:

  • Use it as the repository for all Programme and Project Lessons
  • Host all of your Programme and Project procedures, templates, guidance and ‘how-to’ guides
  • Create online learning course in any subjects you needed – generic Project Management for example and your own in-company methods. Include tests, exams, quizzes, assignments, group work if you want
  • Create forums to support your projects/programmes and your organisations competence ‘asset’ – the project and programme staff. The forums can be continuous (e.g. a company COP for PMs) or just for a need (to support a Project, Programme or division/department)
  • Maintain profiles of P3 staff, set-up competence tracking and development systems with personal development plans

The LMS becomes and integrated P3 support and improvement platform. What’s more, the LMS can also be used in similar ways for any other needs in your organisation. It might support all of your organisation’s internal learning, training and work support needs.

You can build this out of free (open source) software too. Robust platforms like Moodle could save you tens of thousands of pounds over a commercial solution, and extended editions of Moodle such as ELIS or TOTARA give you open-source cost base with enterprise features and support. But, like any technology defining the need, scope and requirements are key to success – so don’t launch into this without some upfront thinking.

If you would like to discuss any of the subjects in this article please do contact me