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Project management training courses

Project-based work can demand the utmost from both manager and employee. Time pressures are often high, resources are scarce and results are often judged strictly against the goals set at the outset. Our project management training courses provide a blueprint for successful project work, in which performance and pleasure complement and reinforce each other.

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Why e-mail is not your best friend during a project

A crucial factor for the success of projects is good communication. Although e-mails are widely used in business, an e-mail system is not the best choice for communication during a project. Here are three reasons why you should choose another tool during project management.

1. Central storage system

A project contains a lot of information. A lot of information. E-mail systems are not ideal for organising and storing this information. There is a lot involved in a project: not only one-to-one conversations and files, but also ideas, reports and statistics are often part of a project. The lack of a central and organised storage system can cause a lot of confusion, delays and duplication of work. Your time as a project manager and staff member is valuable, so make sure you use your time effectively!

2. Task management

A disadvantage of e-mailing is that you don't get a standard update on how things are going. Unless someone specifically sends you an e-mail in return or you regularly ask the person in question, it is not clear how the tasks are progressing exactly. In addition, only the people who actually receive the e-mail are kept informed; other team members can easily (unintentionally) be excluded from the update.

By using an effective project management tool, all tasks are clearly displayed and tracked. The tasks can be well described and sorted by priority. This allows the project manager to easily follow the status of the project without sending an e-mail or asking personally.

3. Unpredictability

A project goes hand in hand with risks and unpredictability. As a project manager and project team, you must be well prepared for sudden change. In case of an emergency, the project manager must be able to quickly find a suitable solution with the available resources. Unfortunately, e-mail systems do not provide the overview that a team needs in an emergency. The use of a tool specifically made for projects, on the other hand, provides good support in the face of risk and uncertainty.

MS Project

But what will be your best friend during projects? A system especially made for projects is Microsoft Project. Ms Project has been one of the most important planning programmes for the workplace for years. There are currently three versions: 2010, 2013 and 2016. Learnit Training offers various courses, so that you can quickly obtain the general project management knowledge you need to plan, manage and report on projects. Click on one of the years above for more information about Learnit's MS project training courses.

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How do you prepare for an online 2021?

In the meantime, it is slowly becoming clear that most of us will be sitting at home until at least the middle of 2021 and will therefore have to work at home. This means that for the coming year, too, there will be many online work activities on the agenda. How can you best prepare yourself and your organisation for an online 2021? In this blog, we will explain which training courses are the perfect fit for online work!

1. Search engine optimisation (SEO). How do you ensure that you attract as many visitors as possible to your website? Search engine optimisation, also known as SEO, is the solution! Learnit offers a course in which not only the basic principles of search engine optimisation are shared with you, but in which you also work on your practical skills. For example, learn how to analyse and optimise your own website. This way, you can get the most out of your website and web traffic in 2021!

2. Online marketing. Developments on the Internet are taking place at a rapid pace. Online marketing is a theme that played an important role for many organisations last year, and the expectation is that online marketing will possibly play an even bigger role in 2021. Can your organisation still learn a thing or two when it comes to online marketing? Then take a look at our new 7-day online marketing course. During this comprehensive course, you will learn all the skills necessary to put your organisation firmly on the (online) map. Topics that are covered during this course are: search engine optimisation, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook advertising, e-commerce, social media marketing and content marketing.

3. Power BI Basics. Now that we (almost) no longer see or speak to each other physically on the work floor, it can sometimes be difficult to convey certain information to colleagues. Think about financial reports for example. For this kind of information, it can be useful to use a visualisation tool that allows you to easily show colleagues what is going on from a distance. One of the most popular visualisation tools is Power BI. Learnit offers a 2-day Power BI course, in which you learn to create effective management reports using your Excel data. In this way, Power BI allows you to create an interactive management dashboard, in which you can easily visualise and share data with your colleagues. Ideal for transferring information!

4. Agile Scrum Basics. Scrum is nothing but an Agile framework, which stands for more effective and flexible work. The Agile way of working allows for working in self-managing teams, which is extremely useful for planning more complex projects. The focus of Scrum is on the communication within these projects, but also on the interaction between departments and towards customers. Now that online working is the order of the day, you see many companies making use of this structured way of (online) working. Are you curious whether working according to this style is something for your organisation? Then take a look at our Agile Scrum Basic training. During this training you will not only learn the theory around this method, but also the skills that come with it play an important role. Did you know that there is the possibility to take an official exam after the course, after which you can call yourself Scrum Master or Scrum Product Owner? Click on the training course or inquire about the possibilities.

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What can I do with PRINCE2?

Yes, the world is projectifying: more and more organisations are working with projects. For you, this means that knowing how to prepare, organise and implement a successful project is no longer optional, but a conditional investment in yourself.

The word 'project' crops up regularly, but is it really a project? Have the preconditions been met to make it a success? And - last but not least - do you know enough about it to play your part and to involve and advise other stakeholders on their roles?

Although projects are of all times, it strikes me that there is still room for improvement in many organisations. Projects are still started without a good business justification. Consciously managing risks and benefits is still a secondary consideration in too many places; we spend money but give little or no thought to the returns - and what threatens those returns.

Focus and speed

The project game is also characterised by temporary working agreements between people in and between organisations. This means that you have to enter into and conclude this type of agreement. In recent years, investments have been made in more agile working. This offers focus and speed. However, the most important thing is that you work well together. There is certainly still room for improvement.

Another point of concern is the extent to which project-based work is embedded in organisations. In other words: how do we actually do projects here and do we have a common and supported answer to that question? A vague answer conceals the fact that little of substance has been done on this point, which makes cooperation even more difficult.

In this projected world, we see that change is the order of the day. There is less and less room for the proverbial "automatic pilot". Making learning part of the work in projects in which we work with new, unknown issues seems an obvious solution, but then you have to dare to learn and consciously make this process part of the project life cycle.

Tight straitjacket

PRINCE2 is a best management practice methodology that is continuously adapted to the changes in the project domain. Many people find PRINCE2 a rigid straitjacket that no longer fits today's projects. If I look at the seven principles and their translation into processes and themes, it will be difficult to prove that it is all old-fashioned and too heavy-handed.

It strikes me that the people who show the most resistance to the method understand it the least. I think the method offers you a framework. It asks you questions and shows you time and again that successful projects are done by people who act. People who take responsibility, make choices and bring others along in the enterprise called a project. If you look at PRINCE2 from that angle, there is still plenty to experience and learn.

Watch a free webinar

Want to know more? Then watch the webinar from 30 January back to 2020.

This can be done via this link.

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How culture can kill your management method

Surprisingly, how a manager leads a project depends mainly on his or her background. Culture plays a major role in the approach to management and leadership. To give an example: In a country like China, every leader, whether from the country itself or from the local factory, is just short of being a saint. Hierarchy is everything and questioning or criticising 'the' leader is almost tantamount to asking for dismissal. Contrast this with the increasingly emerging flexible management methods in the West and you begin to wonder how you can ever get these people to work together on a joint project.

Work culture in western countries

In the West, including the Netherlands, the distance between manager and employee is getting smaller. This is partly due to factual reasons, but certainly also to a large extent due to our Dutch ideological approach to dealing with employees. The new Dutch management style is above all flexible and gives the employee a lot of responsibility to think for him/herself and find his/her own method of carrying out his/her part of the project.

The role of the manager

The manager is there primarily to motivate, coordinate and solve complex problems, for which the employees themselves come to him or her. For the employee, this is of course a much nicer way of working, because it makes optimal use of one's capabilities and also results in less work pressure. Both for the project manager and his employees. Less overview also means a greater risk of miscommunication and makes it more difficult for the project manager to keep a good overview. Project management tools, such as Scrum for example, have been developed especially for this purpose and are based entirely on working together towards a specific goal. In this case, everyone has their own 'area', but the manager can keep control and see how far everyone has come on the basis of the targets achieved and those not yet achieved.

Project management methods

However, the cultural risks of changing project management methods should not be underestimated. After all, Western culture is very much oriented towards individualism and the assumption of the person's strength. You must ensure yourself that you become happy, successful and successful in your career and life. This is at odds with the cultures of the majority of the world's population, including Dutch people with a different cultural background. They believe in the power of the group, or the collective. Hierarchy and strong leadership play a much more important role in this. Every group needs a leader and this leadership is in principle not disputed. For Asian employees, for example, it is quite normal that there is someone who determines what they have to do and also how this is done. The idea that they are allowed to determine how they do their work and, to a certain extent, also be critical and ask questions is not only strange to them, but often not desired either. It is not the interest of the individual that is important, but the result achieved as a group. Even if it is at his or her own expense.

Project management training

Many project leaders who are going to work with a culturally mixed team will soon find this out. Getting people to work together interculturally in a project requires a very different method and a very different type of project leader. The most important lesson is that you should never underestimate the cultural aspects within project management. Good preparation, including good project management training, is certainly half the battle here. First get to know the culture of the people with whom you will be working well and discover that you have a lot to learn from them.

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From vision to evaluation: tips for project leaders

Whether it is providing structure, communicating clearly with your team or communicating a vision: project leaders need to be versatile in order to lead their team to good results. Six important tips for today's project leaders.

1. Determine the project goals.

Clear project objectives will determine the focus of your project: therefore be as specific as possible. By clearly formulating the project objectives, you prevent people from being too preoccupied with side issues.

2. Have a clear vision.

A good project manager creates clarity and inspires the rest of the team. A useful tool in creating clarity is the use of visual aids (diagram, graph or drawing). A clear vision ensures that all noses are pointed in the same direction.

3. Ensure clear communication.

To work successfully in projects, clear, open communication is essential. Be clear about the goals and the progress of the project. This ensures greater commitment from everyone working on the project (client, project leader, team members, line managers and the users). In addition, it is important that everyone is aware of his or her responsibilities within the project. If the responsibilities are not clear, there is a chance that a project will be delayed. Good communication is therefore indispensable for pleasant and effective cooperation.

4. Provide leadership.

Besides setting up, structuring and controlling a project, providing leadership to the team members is an important part of project leadership. Convincingly communicate the project goals and ideas. This will enthuse and motivate the team members. A positive attitude shows that you are committed to the project. Give the team members confidence by, for example, delegating certain matters.

5. Provide structure.

A project can be complex and hectic. Structure is then very important to keep the overview. Make use of a good folder structure that is accessible for the entire project team and make a clear planning using, for example, MS Project.

6. Evaluate the project.

Evaluation is a step that is often skipped, while it is an important learning moment. Make sure the whole team participates in the evaluation of the project. What went well? What went less well? What can we do better next time? Evaluation is needed at every milestone, not just at the end of the project. If there is no evaluation, the chance that the next project will fail is higher.

Project Leadership Training

Do you want to grow in your role as project leader? Then our three-day Project Leadership training is for you. During this training we pay attention to your personal leadership style. After all, your leadership must ensure that you can make a project a success. During this training you learn how to convincingly communicate your ideas. This way you can enthuse and motivate your team members. You also learn to bring out the best in people and recognise individual qualities. We also pay attention to contact with the client; for example, how do you ensure that this is done as effectively as possible? After following this training, you will know how to become and remain the most important force in the team!

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10 time management tips

Life is what happens to you, while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon

Time often slips through our fingers. However, we do not necessarily need more time, because there are always 24 hours in a day. However, we would like to have more control over our time. With these practical and immediately implementable tips, you will certainly succeed!

Tip 1. Take a break!

Taking a break from work helps to recharge your energy and improves your ability to concentrate. Go outside or get coffee for yourself or your colleagues. Have a chat with someone about the weekend. In short: clear your head of work for a while and relax, so you have new energy to carry on.

Tip 2. Plan 75% of your time every day

At the beginning of each day, write down everything you need to do that day. Then make a schedule, leaving 25% of your time unplanned. That way, with 25%, you have a buffer for unforeseen work or rush jobs that come up in between. At the end of the day, check whether everything has been done and see what needs to be moved to tomorrow. It's even better to plan the next day's work in the evening, so that you can start fresh the next day.

Tip 3. Plan your day with blocks of Doing - Thinking - Doing - Thinking

We cannot do the same thing all day long with the same level of concentration and enthusiasm. It is even more difficult when you have to think a lot. In order to focus your energy better, it is best to alternate tasks that require a lot of thinking with more practical tasks. So start with do tasks, then think tasks, then lunch, then do tasks again and finish with think tasks.

Most people's peak concentration is around 11am. So plan at that time (or at a time that works best for you) for that tricky brainteaser: a brainstorm, a performance review or writing a paper. Before your concentration peak, it is better to do more practical work, such as clearing your mailbox or other administrative tasks. After lunch comes the energy dip. It is best not to plan any thinking activities then. Do more practical things. At the end of the day you can plan some thinking again, because then your energy curve goes up again.

Tip 4. Prioritise and work more effectively using the Eisenhower diagram

When dividing your work and planning, first determine what is important and what is not. Then you determine what is urgent and what is not. This often sounds easier than it is.

Important VS not important

Important tasks involve many people or have far-reaching consequences if they are not performed or performed poorly. These are the so-called core tasks, which are, for example, listed in your job or task description. So for each task, ask yourself whether it is part of your core work or not. Less important tasks are, for example, keeping your administration up to date or placing an order.

Urgent VS not urgent

What really has to be done now and cannot wait? Tasks and jobs with a deadline or certain appointments are not urgent at first. But as time goes by, they do become urgent. You want to prevent tasks from becoming urgent "by themselves" as time goes by. You want as few tasks as possible to be under urgent. This dichotomy leads to the following diagram:

Eisenhower, Commander-in-Chief and later President of America, coined this priority model and said the following: Urgent matters are rarely important and important matters are rarely urgent.

Tip 5. Make a list of time wasters

An overview of what distracts you provides insight into what disturbs your work. By making an overview of time-wasters and then linking an action to it, you are being proactive with time management. For example, what distracts many people are colleagues who drop by for a 'chat', but then stay on for half an hour. The colleague in question is often completely unaware that the moment is not convenient for you. They can't know that if they aren't told. In that case, try saying in a friendly way that this is not a good time for you, for example: "I'd love to hear more about your weekend in Rome, but I really have to get on with this email now. Or you can say, "I'm extremely busy, so I'm afraid I have to move on again." If you say this respectfully, you can expect the colleague to understand. He or she has probably experienced this themselves.

Tip 6. Set SMART goals

What you want to achieve in the time you have should be achievable. It helps to make your goals (also those of projects, meetings and other conversations) SMART and thereby concrete. A goal that is SMART meets the following characteristics:

  • Specific - What is the goal? And also: What is not the goal?
  • Measurable - Is it measurable and if so, how?
  • Acceptable - Who is involved? Is there support for it?
  • Realistic - Is it possible and feasible?
  • Time-bound - When is it finished? What is the deadline?

Also, when a colleague asks you to do something or vice versa, it can help to make this as concrete as possible by making these outcomes SMART. Then you know for sure that the expectations about the task are the same.

Tip 7. Make a long-term plan: the glass jar and the big stones

If you only work from day to day, the long-term projects or plans do not get any space. Think of a large glass jar. If you want to fill it with large stones, the glass jar soon seems full. Then it turns out there is still room for pebbles: so the jar was not full! Once the pebbles are in, the jar seems full again, until you try to fill it with sand. Is the jar now finally full? No, because you can still add water! And only then is the glass jar full.

The large stones can be seen as long-term projects, the pebbles as medium-term jobs and the sand as short-term work. The water stands for the ad hoc in-between jobs, which often take up too much time. If you had first filled the glass jar with just sand or water, the large stones would never have fit. It is therefore important to take the size of the jobs and projects into account when making long-term plans. This way, you will be better able to plan everything within the time available.

Tip 8. Use the cheese slicer method

There are jobs and projects that you can loathe like a mountain, simply because they seem so big and insurmountable. This is where the cheese slicer method comes in. Try to do a small part of the job or the project at different times. Then you don't have to do everything at once.

By dividing something into more manageable pieces and portions, the mountain or the project also becomes smaller. Make sure that you also take time for the smaller pieces and portions and plan them accordingly. If you don't, you won't overcome this mountain and it will never get smaller.

Tip 9. Keep a logbook for a week

By keeping a logbook in which you make a distinction between different types of work (such as administration, customer contact, contact with colleagues, working on projects, etc.), you gain insight into where you can improve yourself. Look at this log critically and make choices as to where you want to spend more or less time. Then include this in your planning.

Tip 10. Communicate with others!

You do have an influence on your time and the amount of work you have to do in that time. Saying no is often difficult when someone is at your desk with an urgent job - you want to help them. You can only ask yourself, at what cost? Is now a good time, or would a later date be better? Then indicate that too. The other person then knows where he or she stands.

It is also important to realise that you do not have to do everything yourself. Others are also capable of helping you out. The trick to delegating is to let go. Give the other person a clear explanation and give them confidence. The first few times you will feel uncomfortable when delegating, but in the long run it will give you a lot, including a grip on your time. For more information, see the training page of our two-day training course Delegate.

Remember: Time management is self-management. So you are in control, not the clock.

Want to learn more about time management?

Follow a training Timemagement at Learnit Training or get inspiration from the books below, which also inspired this blog:

Time management according to Covey - Stephen R. Covey, Rebecca R. Merrill & Rebecca Merrill

Effective time management - Ineke E. Kievit- Broeze

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Project management, project-based work in practice (2011)

Roel Grit

For the training Project Management we use among others this book. With this book, you get to know project-based work in a practical way.

In a project, a number of people with a limited amount of money work together temporarily to achieve a certain goal. In organisations as well as at colleges, work is increasingly done on a project basis. The aim of the book is to provide people with little or no project experience with theory and a set of practical tools to learn how to work in a project context.

The bestseller Project Management is the book on this subject because of its clear writing style and clear structure. The number of copies sold of this book has now passed the 200,000 mark.

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The weakest link (1999)

Eliyahu M. Goldratt

The English title of this book is Critical Chain. This business novel looks at a project management process in its own unique way. In an inspiring way, it describes how you can complete projects in much less time and within budget without making concessions on quality or functionality.

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Project management, a professional approach to events (2009)

Jan Verhaar

This book offers guidance on how to get from a creative idea to a successful and professional event via a solid project plan. Project management is characterised by the systematic and integrated control of the development process, from the creative idea to the concrete product. Events, such as exhibitions, conferences, art productions, festivals and company and sports events, attract a lot of attention. However, an initiative often ends in failure, due to exceeding the budget or not meeting the deadlines.

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Project management according to PRINCE2 (2011)

Peter Janssen, Jean-Pierre van Craen

Besides a broad introduction to the field of project management, this book also provides insight into the process-oriented approach of PRINCE2, a generally applicable method that is suitable for both small and large projects. In addition to the theory, the book contains many practical examples, cases and assignments. New in this second, improved edition are two chapters about the 'soft' side of project management in particular. The PRINCE2 topics from this book still closely match the exam specifications for the EXIN exam PRINCE2 Foundation.

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Project-based working (2007)

Gert Wijnen, Willem Renes, Peter Storm

This book is interesting for anyone who is involved in a project and wants to influence the course of the project. This book gives a complete picture of what is involved in setting up and managing a project.

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The little PRINCE2, guide for project management (2010)

Mark van Onna, Ans Koning

PRINCE2 is a successful project management method with which you can guide projects from start to finish. De kleine PRINCE2' offers an extensive overview of this method. The book covers the full lifecycle of a project.

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Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 (2010)

Office of Government Commerce

This book is aimed at PRINCE2 Foundation.