IPMA Education & Training Board Series: Closing the Gap between PM Training and PM Performance – Part 1: Understanding the Gap


By Stacy Goff

asapm co-founder

IPMA VP Marketing & Events

ProjectExperts President

Colorado, USA


Enterprises and Government agencies have spent hundreds of millions of $USD over the last 25 years in Project Management training—just in the USA. Such a stimulus package! What do we have to show from this “investment”? Most people find it difficult to answer this question, because they cannot show improved PM Performance; nor can they even show the improved competences they hoped for. In fact, based on discussions with Executives, the perception is that programs and projects are significantly much-less successful today than they were 25 years ago. And Executives ask: What return on investment is that?”

This article, presented in two parts, explores secrets all Managers can use to Close the Gap between PM Training and PM Performance, improve PM Learning and Development methods, increase stakeholder PM Competence, improve PM Performance, and establish the success measures needed to prove you have done so. The secret: Base PM Learning on a Competence Baseline, rather than a Knowledge guide.

Part 1: Understanding the Gap

Part 2: Closing the Gap

The Gap between Training and Learning

Just what is the difference between Training and Learning? First is the objective: are you merely trying to complete a set of training contact hours, or are you trying to improve performance? You would be surprised at the number of people who aim for the former, both on the practitioner side and on the Manager side. For these individuals, the BiC (Butt In Chair) count is their measurement.

Few look for any meaningful change, with the possible exception of Managers who place their people in PM classes on a “just too late” basis, after they fouled up big time, and “we cannot let this happen again.”

This situation started in the 1980s, as Human Resource (HR) Managers encouraged line Managers to acquire much of their own unique training (a result of increased HR workload with less staff, plus willingness of Managers to assume the role).

Well-meaning managers who were not learning or development professionals became a primary channel for PM learning, without knowing the difference between training and learning: Training is what you do to people, Learning is an outcome-focused process, and Performance that produces business benefits is the expected result. The upshot: poor planning blocks the learning, resulting in Yet Another Worthless Training.


To read entire article (click here)

Editor’s note: This series of articles is provided by the IPMA Education and Training (E&T) Board on the subject of project management education, training, careers and related topics.  More information about the IPMA E&T can be found at http://ipma.ch/education.

About the Author

pmwj23-jun2014-Goff-IMAGEStacy A. Goffflag-usa

Colorado, USA

Stacy A. Goff, PMP, the PM Per4mance Coach, is President of ProjectExperts®, a Program and Project Management consulting, methods, tools and Learning consultancy. A co-founder of asapm®, Stacy has been the USA representative to, and an officer in, the International Project Management Association IPMA®. He has also contributed to the success of the Project Management Institute® since 1983.

A Project Management practitioner since 1970 and PM consultant since 1982, he improves Enterprise or project team PM competence, efficiency, and Performance. Mr. Goff speaks at industry events, offers coaching and consulting services, and presents workshops of great interest to Executives, Managers, Project Managers and leaders, technical staff, and individual contributors.

His Project Management tools and methods are used by Government Agencies, Enterprises, Consultancies, and individuals on six continents. He combines his PM Process insights with wide-ranging experience in projects and programs, and with sensitivity for the human aspects of projects. The result: Measurably increased PM Per4mance™– Portfolio, Program, Project and Personal Performance.

Stacy can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Stacy Goff, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/stacy-goff/