FROM EXPERIMENT TO PERMANENT PROCEDURE – THE EXPERIENCES OF PROJECT MANAGER TRAINING AT LAUREA UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES
1 Laurea University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
2 Valmennuskeskus Public (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Laurea University of Applied Sciences (hereafter: Laurea UAS), Finland, organized a project manager training program in 2016, called Laurea Certified Project Manager Training. This program is meant for professionals at Laurea UAS who are responsible for externally funded research and development (hereafter: R&D) projects. The idea for the program arose from the need to increase the competence of project management among Laurea UAS employees. At the moment, Laurea UAS is running approximately 80 externally funded projects, and starting in 2019 a larger number of employees will be involved in R&D projects.
The Laurea Certified Project Manager Training program started in 2016, and by the end of May 2019 around 60 participants has completed the training. The aim of the training is to help project managers better lead their projects, to clarify project management and to make the work of the project manager more compelling. At the moment, the training program consists of seven sessions, each focusing on different topics related to project management. The topics are: writing and filing of an application for external funding, project managers’ role in projects, project finances, agile project management, sharing good practices, communication and marketing of projects, and integration of teaching and R&D projects. The core idea is to answer to the needs of project managers with ongoing training topics; therefore, topics can be changed in the future.
The Laurea Certified Project Manager Training program was developed at the wishes and according to the needs of the project managers at Laurea UAS. After three years of execution, it is time to re-evaluate the content of the training and examine whether the training has served the original purpose or if it needs to be changed. This research explores the experiences of the project managers who participated to the training between 2016 and 2019; five participants were interviewed. The aim of this research is to determine whether the participants found the training useful and if the training increased their competence in project management. In addition, the interviewees were asked if the topics of the training were relevant and, if not, what was missing or which topics could be left out. The interviewees were also asked if the participatory learning methods used in the training motivated them. At the end of the interview, the participants could offer ideas for how to further develop the training.
The results show that the experiences of the participants were positive. The level of commitment to the training was quite high, and the feedback was clear. The interviewees found the training relevant: it increased their expertise in project management and enabled them to tackle challenges typically faced in their roles as project managers. The interviewees also valued the chance to network with others and the fact that new project managers could benefit from their more experienced colleagues’ cases. In conclusion, the training increased the quality of the project management work at Laurea UAS, and the training should continue in the future.
Keywords: Project management, research and development (R&D), training, competence development.