LavaCon Presentation – There Has Got to Be a Better Way for Project Management Training

Earlier this week I was asked to quickly put together a presentation at the LavaCon conference in Portland, Oregon.

I decided to speak about the need to view things from different perspectives and angles. I provided the examples of experiences with project management training and being a student in a very dry, boring PMP exam prep course about 13 years ago and how I set out to change it. There is no reason that more people out there should have to relive the mundane project management training I endured simply because that is the way it has always been done. So many people I have talked to said that they too sat through PMP prep classes that were boring, mind-numbing experiences. In many cases the instructor simply lectured or read the slides to the participants.

Sadly, the trend in online project management training is to take that same, ineffective method and transfer it to the online delivery.

Lavacon YouTube pic

I argue that video in this approach only makes things worse. If things were meh before, they are even worse now. Without any way to interactive with the content and the instructor and fellow students, all the onus of the learning and retention is placed solely on the student. Too often I hear and read stories of others who were forced to take on numerous modalities of learning – such as in person classes, audiobooks, books, flashcards, and many others – simply to get the PMP content to stick. Since so many had to rely on so many different methods tells me that their first plan of just watching videos in an elearning course to prepare for the PMP exam was insufficient.

There has got to be a better way.png

My goal is to disrupt the current PMP training options. I have a Kickstarter project launch in effort to create and offer something new. The Kickstarter project page is Http://kck.st/2hubLhS

At Http://kck.st/2hubLhS you can pre-order the PMP online interactive training course for only $99. Once the PMP exam prep course is fully launched, the course will retail for $720. Offering is so low at $99 is to thank the early supporters and to help the infrastructure costs that must be taken to make it possible.

Thanks in advance! You can find out more about The Crowd Training and the project management courses and learning opportunities offered at www.thecrowdtraining.com

In this video, I also reference the new book by Anthony Brandt and David Eagleman called “Runaway Species”. More about their book is at their book’s website https://runawayspecies.com/

The video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mkzlfFkabY&feature=youtu.be

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Reddit Conversation

In discussions on Reddit about my kickstarter project page, some had suggested that I look at reducing my costs and using free or reduced cost offerings. I appreciate the suggestions and the ideas. Alas, I have looked into those options and many do not work. As such, my online project management course is going to a more expensive infrastructure to deliver it to those that enroll.

I looked into many options. If I was building the traditional “instructor-talking-at-the-students” type of online training course, then many of the resources out there would work. I don’t want to deliver that form of instruction. Having professors drone on and on in person rarely works well – especially in highly technical content like the Project Management Professional PMP exam – in person; it is even worse online.

Trying to retain the attention of the learner for 35 – 45 minutes at a time while they passively sit staring at their computer screen may not be the most effective and efficient use of their time and exam preparation. The computer is far too distracting. Facebook, Twitter, instant messages, the web, etc. are just too tempting. They are like sirens begging you to sway. These temptations are hard enough in a classroom when there are others around noticing what you are doing. Remove the instructor or any type of peer pressure or authority, you are kidding yourself if you think the learner is not going to give into any of those temptations. Sure there may be a really dedicated student. But I argue those are rare. They are the minority. They are the most successful and for a reason. The vast majority of others are not going to ignore that email or text that comes in. Few are going to stay focused. Most that shift attention to the email or text that comes in are not going to stop the guy or lady talking on the screen. When they return to the lecture, they may be lost, they are going to need time to catch up. They may even be forced to rewind the video. And scrolling and hassling with a video play bar is not efficient and annoying use of one’s learning time.

Hence, I am passionate about making something – even if just incrementally – better. It takes more thought, energy, and resources [read: costs]. In the end I think it will be worth it for the thousands upon thousands of individuals that study for and attempt to pass the PMP exam every year. Please take a look at my Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thecrowdtraining/interactive-project-management-course
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Here is my latest response on the PMP subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/pmp/comments/7acjcr/kickstarter_pmp_interactive_online_course/

I have tried Udemy and it sucks. They take half of your fee. And they give away coupons to lower the value of your work even further without any input of yours. So a PMP class that should be valued at $200 is reduced to $10 by Udemy, then they take half of that! So the person and teams that did all the work only get $5 from a class that is worth far more.
Plus Udemy only has video based lecture courses. I am building something interactive and engaging. The online courses on Udemy are just people talking over their slides or paying actors to read a script (I know because I wrote scripts for some of the other companies out there).
I know that blazing a new trail and trying to bring more dynamic project management online courses to the world is going to cost me more and make my courses cost more, but that is the price of quality and good work. Interactive online courses cannot work with all the options you mentioned – I wish they did, it would save me a lot of money. If I was just going to talk at you thru my video camera for 35 hours straight, then yes I would definitely go with the resources your suggestion. Although, I am aiming to bring out something better and long term. I am building it for 6th edition (I was a contributor to earlier versions of the PMBOK) and plan to support PMP candidates for many years to come.
If you want to see some of the games I made thus far, go to http://www.thecrowdtraining.com/games I’ll give you a 90 day subscription of $10 (like the Udemy pricing you mentioned) if you use code Reddit.
Thank you for the great discussion. I appreciate your input. I am open to more of your thoughts and discussions. It helps make a better product and help more project managers.

New PMBOK 6th Edition Out Now

The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge 6th edition is official out and available for download. I have been a reviewer of the PMBOK 6th edition for many months now. I have advised many project management training companies seeking to update their 5th edition PMBOK content to the newly released 6th edition. Now it is accessible to the masses.

If you are PMI member, you can download a PDF version of the 6th ed PMBOK by going to http://www.pmi.org and entering your credentials. You are then provided the option of downloading a digital copy of the latest PMBOK to your computer or device. Every time you open the downloaded PMBOK 6th edition on your device you are prompted to enter your PMI member password. So, I recommend you keep your password easy enough to enter frequently. I had a friend who had a very complex password. Very secure, which is normally a good thing. But every time he opened the PMBOK on his Kindle he had to enter the password. And a password with too many symbols and upper/lower cases in various orders was not very convenient.

PMBOK 6th

The hard copy of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)– Sixth Edition by Project Management Institute is not yet shipping. I have pre-ordered my physical copy from Amazon, here  http://a.co/hN7Zjkd According to Amazon, the book is scheduled to ship out September 15, 2017. Currently, it is priced for $84 US for the English version.

PM6 Plan Resource Management Main

The Crowd Training’s fully interactive PMP certification exam prep course based on the PMBOK 6th edition is planned for release in October 2017. More information on this at https://www.thecrowdtraining.com/pm6

Once complete, the 35 hour project management course will be available on the web and for mobile devices. You can stay up to date by joining the mailing list on http://www.thecrowdtraining.com

PM6 Resource Management on Phone

Until then, there are 5th edition PMBOK games available. If you order a lifetime subscription, I will give you all the 5th edition versions of the games, plus all the new games that I develop for the 6th edition of the PMBOK. Currently there are over 15 games. A lifetime membership is now only $23 at http://www.thecrowdtraining.com/games

Look for a more thorough breakdown of the differences between 6th edition from 5th edition in this blog soon. Let me know your impressions, if you have taken a look at the new edition.

Another Project Management Game Added to The Crowd Training Game Pack

Designed, developed, and published another project management learning game on my The Crowd Training Games pack. This game is based on travelling to different locations and answering questions at each stop. The questions for the first set are all based on the Project Quality Management knowledge area of the 5th edition of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Now that I have the base structure and all the gameplay figured out, I can create multiple versions of the game for the other nine knowledge areas, as well as create updated versions of the game for the 6th edition of the PMBOK once that is formally released.

Currently, the 30 day access to The Crowd Training Games pack for $30.  This newest game release brings the number of games in the pack to 17 games. Since I am working on a full 6th edition project management professional PMP certification exam prep course in addition to more games to include in The Crowd Training Game pack, I am offering a 90 day access and a lifetime access for less than the 30 day access so you may get more games over time. The 90 day access is offered for a limited time for $23 and the lifetime is $25. Obviously, these won’t remain at that price for too long. But since I am just rolling out the new website and the new games, I thought I would extent generous pricing to my early adopters. Thanks and enjoy! Visit: https://www.thecrowdtraining.com/games to start playing!

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The 6th edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PBMoK 6)

The Project Management Institute (PMI) updates their Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) every few years – give or take. This is a wonderful thing. It would be arrogant to think that every best practice of project management was captured precisely in the first try and thinking that practices and the profession does not change over time. Taking a look at the latest draft of the upcoming edition of the PMBOK, I am thinking that they are on the right track.

Personally, I have experienced the changeover from 3rd to 4th and 4th to the 5th. I was a full time project management instructor, developer, and author during those transitions. I was also one of the contributors to the 4th edition. Not that influences my impressions, but I do declare that move from the 3rd edition to the 4th edition was the most radical and beneficial. This was primarily due to the standardization of naming and structure. The process nomenclature was all over the board in third edition. The fourth edition set out to uniformly establish all processes with a VERB – NOUN structure. For instance Scope Planning became Plan Scope Management. Does not sound to drastic or earth-shattering, but as instructor attempting to get all my students to understand, memorize, and internalize all the vast amounts of content and exact naming, this was a major improvement.

Reading thru the sixth edition, there is not the major structural changes like those just mentioned. Nevertheless, there is obvious recognition of how our industry is maturing and expanding. There appears to be more attention given to all the various industries where our project management skills and methodologies are used and applied. This is most noticeable in terms of agile project management practices. As one certified in PMI’s Agile certification called the PMI-ACP, I welcome the inclusion of agile considerations in with the more traditional methods of project management. Naturally this demands more of project managers and those seeking the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, but it is not out of line to ask for our PMPs to be more well rounded and obtain a broader knowledge base and tool bank in which to lead projects with. I equate everything contained in any edition of the PMBOK and the broader collective of what we expect a certified PMP to know is like a toolbox. A carpenter has his or her own toolbox that enables them to tackle various projects. Every project he or she works on is not going to require the same exact tools or strategies to meet the project’s objectives. Same with project managers. We need to have a toolbox. The more it contains, the more we have available to us. The more we comprehend the tools contained within, the more we are able to make the most appropriate decisions. Project management, like carpentry, requires skills, knowledge, and practice. And like any trade, we should expect the industry, the knowledge bank, and the technologies used to grow and evolve in hand.

So I fully embrace the upcoming changes to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. I am excited to train future and current project managers and PMP seekers on the 6th edition of the PMBOK. The PMBOK 6th edition is expected to be released later this year (2017) in the 3rd or 4th quarter.