Newsletter August 2018

Think about the last time you assigned someone to manage a project.

Did you send them on their mission with your teeth clenched and fingers crossed? Or were you smiling and nodding because you were confident that person was the best prepared project manager for the job?

Wouldn’t you like to have the latter experience more often? You can, once your project management organization has mastered the art of PM development planning.

In recent newsletters, we’ve explored what it takes to document a PM skill set and to manage your talent pipeline. Let’s turn our attention to what happens inside the talent pipeline that turns potential into performance: Project Management Development.
Here are three tips, derived from GBMC’s years of experience:

1. Experience is the Best Teacher:

There is research that demonstrates learning on the job has the greatest impact. If you just plan to put your PMs in a classroom, hoping they’ll develop, both the organization and the PM will be disappointed. Stretch roles and develop-in-place assignments should be the major components of your PM’s development. While that sounds logical, it’s often difficult for the organization to gauge which assignments will grow talent, but it is possible to figure it out.

2. Build Individual Development Plans (IDPs):

Don’t succumb to the “one size fits all” myth. Your PMs have unique development needs, are in different stages of their learning curve, and have individual preferences for how they learn. Fill the gap between where they are today and where they need to be tomorrow with a variety of learning modes and checkpoints suited to their career trajectory, situation, and ambitions. And remember to include the learner in the planning!

3. Include Coaching In the Mix:

Organizations often overlook the power of learning from others. We learn from good bosses, bad bosses, other PMs, and subject matter experts. Coach your PMs to learn from observing others in the roles they aspire to and to seek out experts who have been trained to coach. There are all kinds of opinions on what good coaching looks like. Keep in mind the coach doesn’t do the work; they guide learners through dilemmas and tough experiences, and help them navigate the learning landscape that’s best for them.

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