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Advanced Planning Training - does it exist?

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Guy Hindley
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There seem to be many general planning courses which teach people how to draw barcharts; some even teach what critical path analysis is at a basic level. It seems that the more detailed understanding only comes from using software.

What I am interested in, is non toolset training that covers things like:.

1. planning is about integration to achieve deliverables/ milestones,

2. understand different types of float,

3. linkage to risk, networks used to aid cashflow analysis.

Hopefully this gives a flavour. How to you get Planners from a basic level to become highly competent and valued?

What training do you use?
Thank you

Replies

Rolando Velasco
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Hello everyone.

I am new in this network & I believe that I will get better knowledge for the Planning Industry.

I agree that being a P3 user, it doest mean that you are already a planner or a good planner. I am young in this industry but I kept searching for other tools that will guide me to the top level of Planning. Practice will still be the best tool I knew to be on that level however, having an advance training will at least bring us to a certain level where we find ourselves familiar with the other field of works. I spent my 4 & half years in Infrastructure Projects & 1 & half years in Commercial Development Projects. I have plans to experience the field of Oil & Gas Industry but I dont have any knowledge how to work for it however, through advance training we can gain something about it.

Best regards everyone.

Rolly Velasco
Mehdi Rashidi Ala...
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Hi,
Please see site www.4pm.com

regards
David Bordoli
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I see that the Association for Project Management in the UK (APM Website) has a graduated list of qualifications which accords with IPMA Levels D, C and B. I have no details of what is in the syllabus but I guess they are pretty wide ranging covering the whole of the PM discipline and maybe not addressing the needs of the expert planner.

Best Regards

David
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Clive Holloway
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An aptitude test for programmers/schedulers to determine their planning ability and/or level of ability and not a test of software skills. I will have to think about developing something. Not everyone has a logical mind, or are systematic thinkers, or understand projects - some of the key requirements for a Planner.
Forum Guest
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Hi,
There is a book published in Malaysia that I bought lately.
It is very useful for beginers. It provides step-by-step guide with screen shots.
It costs approximately USD 6.00.

http://www.nkh.com.my/Publications.html

Check bottom of the page for overseas enquiries.

Good luck.
David Bordoli
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Hi again Tomas.

I used DIY as in Do It Yourself. In the UK at least and am sure many other bplaces that term started out in connection with domestic repairs etc; doing it yourself instead of getting a tradesman in! In realtion to training I have found that often it is not possible to aquire taught knowledge but often you need to search out information and develop ideas by yourself.

The CIOB is the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB site). Although based in the UK it is growing into a world-wide organisation and may well have branches in South America. Its primary focus is the management of construction and, of late, I have been somewhat disenchanted by its lack of focus on technical issues - but heck why should I complain, I havnt submitted any papers or suggestions to them lately. They have just published the third edition of The Code of Practice for Project Management for Construction and Development (details of the book)


Oh, I almost forgot... SCL is the Society of Construction Law (SCL site)(www.scl.org.uk). They have just published their protocol for Delay and Distruption which has had a mixed reception (including some discussion on PlanningPlanet). However, forgetting what they have to say about methods of analysius and float and concurrency and all those imponderables they have made some suggestions about a specification for progrogrammes and reports that could be included in tender/contract documents. I am of the opinion that many of our problems stem from this point, having an insufficient programme and insufficient records.

Regards to all and best wishes for the festive season

David
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Tomas,

I can help with some of the acronyms. APM is the UK based Association for Project Management, it would seem that here in the UK people join the APM, as opposed to the PMI which is seen as USA based.

NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualification. These are qualifications based on a portfolio of performance evidence, in other words you have evidence to show that you are working at that level, gathered over a period of a year or so. They are not formal sit down examinations. (Others may be able to give a better definition). These qualifications are in early days, but they go up to Professional Project Manager Level.

Hope this helps. can others please provide other acroynm definitions?

Clive,

Note your comments with interest, especially have to tailor course down to the attendees. I have come across this problem myself, especially in workshop situations where people knew less of the basic than they had presumed. Do you have details of your course contents, espcially how you see the 3 levels you mention.? Can this go on Planning Planet?

thank you
Guy email guy.hinldey@baesystems.com
Clive Holloway
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It is difficult to pitch the training at the right level.
We offer 3 levels of training - beginner, intermediate and advanced. The client usually determines the level of training suitable for each member of staff, however we often find that we have to step down a level. We are always prepared for this. The real problem lies with different levels with the group, as clients ofetn put as many staff members into a day course at the same level.
We have in the past run courses for all of the staff in a company, say 100 staff, all of which have to attend level 1 for half a day, maybe 60 attend level 2 for a day, and maybe only 25 attend level 3 for a day.
Tomas Rivera
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Help everybody!:

I am sorry but I do not know what the different acronyms and terms you have been using mean. CIOB, APM, DIY, NVQ, SIG (this one I know: Special Interest Group), PMI (this one too: Project Management Institute) and Project Control level 3 and level 4.
Maybe you all hang around a certain area of work that for you all this is very common. I would like to participate in your discusion if I may, at least by reading your posts.
Could you write the meaning of these acronyms when you use them?
By the way, I think the concept of having a framework for qualifying planners is an excelent idea.

Thank you very much

Tomas Rivera
Guy Hindley
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I notice that in your reply you state that your company provides training, albeit at the the "simple" end of the scale, but would love to do some advanced training. How do you assess if people need to go on the existing course? Do you run any quick form of prior knowledge assessment, or leave it up to the client who attends? How can you assess the ability of course attendees in a quick and simple way? to nensure that the material is pitched correctly?

2nd point. I whole heartedly agree with you that what is important is the ability to plan, rather than being able to say "I can use P3". Only a good experienced Planner can meaningfully make the tool sing. How many times have we all had problems with the software vendors helpline as they the software suppliers staff their help desks with software "junkies" and not Planners.

Regards Guy
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Clive,

I notice that in your reply you state that your company provides training, albeit at the the "simple" end of the scale, but would love to do some advanced training. How do you assess if people need to go on the existing course? Do you run any quick form of prior knowledge assessment, or leave it up to the client who attends? How can you assess the ability of course attendees in a quick and simple way? to nensure that the material is pitched correctly?

2nd point. I whole heartedly agree with you that what is important is the ability to plan, rather than being able to say "I can use P3". Only a good experienced Planner can meaningfully make the tool sing. How many times have we all had problems with the software vendors helpline as they the software suppliers staff their help desks with software "junkies" and not Planners.

Regards Guy
Clive Holloway
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My company employs 3 pure planners all over 45 years old all have been planners since they left school, we believe that the training that we have provided over the years has been well recieved and it all boils down to common sense.
P3 will not give you the answer. Training in P3 will not make the person a good planner. The basic princples of planning are missing, let alone advanced training. Most of our customers that we have prepared tailor made courses want us to keep it simple. We would love to do some advanced training and pass on our knowledge and experience.
Shamas Ibrahim
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Hi all,
ts been a while since I last had a chance to log onto this web site and boy has it grown!!!!!

I agree with you, recognised planning qualifications would at least enable individuals to benchmark themselfs it would also help companies in recognising quality planners from those that just "Pretend" to do it.

A while back I did get an email to become a "founder member of the Association of Planning Engineers"
I have not joined at present because of various reasons but they have a web site which seems to suggest that somebody is running NVQ exams in planning which last between 9 months and three years. If anybody has the time at present to chase this up and give us some feedback as to how good it is then that would be great.

The website is http://www.planning-engineer.com/

Shamas Ibrahim
shamas.ibrahim@grantrail.co.uk
Hi there,

I agree whole heartedly.

I know some people with companies who are seriously into training etc. Perhaps it would help to get their input / thoughts on this issue?

Regards....James
Guy Hindley
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Dave,

Me again. Thanks for your comments - at least there are two of us out there with similar issues. Does anybody else have/ recognise these issues? If you do, PLEASE ) let us know- just post a message to say that you agree - or let us know if you think we are concentrating on the wrong issues.

NVQs exist for Project Control within the UK. They appear to be very comprehensive and as such are a very detailed assessment of a persons capability. Because of their intense nature I do not feel that they provide a quick and easy judge of competence to define the level of training appropriate to an individual. What I would like to assess training needs, at least initially, is a quick and easy judgement of competence, not the full rigours of an NVQ. At a more detailed level there is certainly a place for the Project Control level 3 and level 4 qualifications.

Regards

Guy
David Bordoli
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Guy…

Excellent thoughts as ever and I concur with what you say.

As you describe many of the organisations have some interest in planning but they are not specific enough. From our previous communications I think we share the same passion and desire to raise the profile and competency of planning. I think a certificate of competence’‘ would be an excellent idea. I am afraid I am a little out of touch with vocational training so I must get up to speed on NVQs. I doubt there is a specific NVQ for planners or if that is the right vehicle but something like that would be excellent, graded so that there is a ladder of opportunity and pathway of achievement. Does anyone have the answer to this one?

I don’t know how these things are administered but what is needed is an umbrella body to oversee it. I think the AMP (in the UK at least) would be the right people as planning is arguably the most important role of a project manager and the APM is multidisciplinary. I have a couple of contacts at the APM (including Tony Ciorra of the planning SIG) so I’ll have a few words and float the idea. I’ll also ask the question of the CIOB but that would necessarily be construction biased.

More opinion on the worthiness of this from other Planeteers would be welcome just to assure us that it’s not just you and I who have this vision!

Regards

David
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Guy Hindley
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If we are to get maximum value from Planning training then we must assess ourselves against some competency framework. This would enable one to be placed within a competency framework and then be able to asssess the suitability of potential training by seeing where it advances ones competencies - in other words plugs the gaps. It would also ensure that the training chosen was value added and pitched at the right level and therefore delivered the maximum benefit.

Does anyone know of a competency/ assessment framework that can be or has been used for self assessment for Planners? I do know of the APM and PMI Body of Knowledges, but they are naturally rather too broad if we are focusing on only Planning.

Thank you Guy
David Bordoli
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Guy…

Me again!

Ah the good old days… I was fortunate to have Ray Oxley as a tutor when an undergraduate and we had planning techniques force fed us for a couple of years. Then once in employment I worked in planning departments that had leaders who were at the forefront of good practice; Mike Goodchild, David Woolven and Bob Reed.

I think advanced training is then up to you, you are right there doesn’t seem to be much around but by getting involved in organisations like the CIOB or APM (see our other discussion!) and keeping an eye on journals it is just about possible to keep up and practice at the same time. In the end I went back to college part-time to hone my skills and do some research and even more recently went and sat one of the modules (this time about design management) to try and catch up again.

I don’t know what sort or organisation you are with Guy but most places I have been internal training sessions have been a brilliant source of information and, in addition, if you take at turn at imparting some of your knowledge it’ll improve your research and presentation skills. At Buro Four for instance we run regular structured courses; three levels of planning, one of design management and one for progress monitoring and reporting. Most people here also get involved in external training courses. In particular one of our founding partners does a lot of work with the construction study centre [[Construction Study Centre]. I suspect Mike Harvey at HPC Consult might have some ideas or even offer such courses [HPC Consult].

It’s even later in the day now… and even more rambling. Good night!

David
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Forum Guest
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Hello Guy !

Great question. I have created a new section for peoples stories, questions, comments and requirements in regard to training.

You are correct. In our experience, too much time is given over to telling us which button to press, rather than how to be better planners - not software users or "box jockies"

Good questions.

I hope that some training agencies will post details of their courses along with some peoples questions and suggestions.

Keep on Planning !!