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Project Management Training in Europe and in the USA. Part 1

This is an experiment for me. I will try a two part blog, and see what type of feedback I get in between the blogs and attempt to incorporate some of that in the second blog. Please let me have your thoughts by posting a comment below.

I am primarily a project management trainer and have been one for about 15 years now. The training market is always impacted by the general economy so I’ve seen a few ups and downs over the years. I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone to see a sharp reduction in PM training right now. Many customers are no longer in business and even more are just concerned about making it through the year. What has surprised me though, is that the difference in the US market versus the European. I am doing more training in Europe than ever, and even though that market is down as well, it seems to be holding up better. Maybe this is because their economy is better, but it may also be that they have a different approach and view on training.

Now, I must preface this by admitting that I am not an expert on European training, so I am basing these observations purely on my own experience and, as always, I welcome other viewpoints.

When doing training in Europe, it is much more likely that the training will be held at a conference center and that the students will actually stay and socialize in the evening. The hours also tend to be a bit longer. This allows for more interaction and networking outside of the classroom, which I have always felt is a key ingredient to any successful training. In addition it seems like the selection process of the students is a much stronger focus. They are often nominated by management; it is often seen as recognition for high potential individuals.

While that sometimes happen in the US as well, it is more common here that you see that course description in the learning system and the students sign up for what they feel like taking. While this may make them more motivated as students, it does not necessarily provide training which is in sync with their work responsibilities. It is also much easier to cut this type of training when budgets must be trimmed.

So…this is my premise as a starting point. In the next blog I will try to explore what I think the impact is of this set up. Both is these training approaches exists in both Europe and USA, so even if you don’t agree with it being European centric or US centric, it is still a difference worth exploring.

What do you think? Remember to post your comments below.

Hans Jonasson, PMP, CBAP, founder of JTC Unlimited, has over 25 years of experience in the areas of project management, business analysis and professional development training. Hans started his career with Volvo LTD in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1980 as a systems analyst/programmer. In 1984 he moved to United States to work on new development projects for EDS and General Motors. He has managed all aspects of software development projects varying from $100,000 to $10 Million for the automotive industry. He has been a Project Management Professional (PMP®) and member of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) since 1996. You can reach me at [email protected] .

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