In an ideal world, you should be able to draw a straight line from your organization’s Learning and Development (L&D) initiatives to business success. It follows then that, as increased business success depends on excellence in project delivery, more companies should focus on building project management training into their core L&D programs.
Some already do. Sixty-one percent of respondents to Project Management Institute (PMI)’s 2020 Pulse of the Profession® Report say their organizations provide some level of project management training. And more than two-thirds (69 percent) say their senior leadership values project management.
But the world is becoming even more “projectified.” Seventy-nine percent of executives in an Accenture study say that work in the future will be based more on specific projects than on roles. And for some companies, project management has become so central to how they operate that it is now considered a core competency.
For all these reasons, some companies are developing more holistic approaches to project management training where the employee experience is embedded into the core of the program.
One of the finest examples of this is the L&D program at CGI. Among the world’s largest independent IT and business consulting services firms, CGI began offering formalized project management training and certification in-house to drive business performance and enhance client relationships. It has now expanded its training efforts to all employees – not just people with ‘project’ in their title.
“Project success is paramount to our company,” says Melissa Reeder, Director of Consulting and Project Management Center of Excellence at CGI. “Engagements are integral to service delivery, so we emphasize providing high-quality project management training to our consultants.”
An important related goal, Melissa says, is to improve its employee career journey and to create a supportive career-building environment. The CGI initiative empowers their employees to take charge of their career development by providing an all-inclusive project management track tailored to each employee’s career stage and project experience.
CGI now views project management/leadership as a core skillset and an essential element in driving improved client delivery success. This skillset, the firm believes, will only grow in importance as work becomes more hybrid.
But there’s another factor behind the CGI training effort. Several of its US-based clients in the government and healthcare sectors require project leaders to be certified in project management – specifically to hold PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)®certification.
As PMI’s Leader for North American Client Engagement, that’s how I became familiar with the CGI program. We began working with the firm to develop its project management training track in 2010.
“PMI best practice guidelines are recognized worldwide, and its certifications align with the many types of services CGI provides our clients,” Melissa says. “CGI’s project delivery frameworks are based on industry best practices, so it makes sense for our people to have the same standards of training and credibility that comes with PMI certification.”
To develop well-rounded project professionals, CGI offers its employees the following:
- PMI Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification: Recognized by CGI clients as the project management certification of choice, the PMP certification distinguishes project managers who have proven they have the skills to manage complex projects successfully. The PMP exam covers the latest business trends across three domains – people, process, and business environment – giving certification holders the tools to determine the best way of working and the ability to manage any project using predictive, agile, or hybrid methodologies.
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Certification: The PMI-ACP formally recognizes the practitioner’s knowledge of agile principles and skills with agile techniques. The PMI-ACP spans many approaches to agile such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP), and test-driven development (TDD).
- PMI Membership: Through the PMI partnership, CGI members also have access to discounted PMI membership to help build a professional network. Becoming part of a professional practice community creates informal learning opportunities with peers, a ready-made professional support network, and space to share knowledge and expertise.
Since the start of the program, more than a thousand CGI members have successfully been PMP certified. The firm is now looking to expand its partnership by connecting its people in Australia and Canada with local PMI chapters.
“Membership in a professional organization is another way to enhance the employee experience at CGI,” Melissa says. “There are vast opportunities to connect and learn from each other, plus it’s a great chance for CGI employees to enrich the profession with their frontline experiences and knowledge. I’ve been an active member of my local PMI chapter for a few years. It’s a great way to meet new people who share a common passion and to give back by volunteering.”
CGI’s employee-centered approach to project management training shows that employee experience and client satisfaction go hand-in-hand. When you deliver quality project training across your organization, it will inevitably impact client delivery for the better.
“We are always looking at ways to enhance our project delivery and client relationships,” says Melissa. Leaders strive to exceed client expectations and the firm’s project management L&D training track is now an integral part of its client engagement strategy.
Delivering consistently high service standards leads to delivering strong projects and value for clients. By offering project-oriented training programs within an organization, your teams will be equipped with the tools and know-how to do just that.