Project Management Programme

Posted on 6th May, by JimYoung in Blog. Comments Off on Project Management Programme

During the three days 3–5 May 2017 I delivered a project management training programme for Ruapehu Whanau Transformation at their excellent training premises at Ohakune in full view of the impressive Mount Ruapehu. The intensive training was well-received and the participants impressed me with their keen interest and conscientious application – particularly their ability to work effectively as a team, which was most evident during the final exercise when they co-operated to produce and present an outstanding solution.

Attached is some PRE-COURSE READING and the comprehensive WORKBOOK that contains the exercises that we used to good effect during the programme, and also attached are the POWERPOINT slides that supported the tuition. Click on the red words for access to these items, but do check with me if you propose to use this material for commercial training purposes. Following are some photos taken during the programme.


Mount Ruapehu as viewed from Ruapehu Whanau Transformation premises. During a former military life, when I was domiciled at a nearby NZ Army establishment, on one snow-free fine summer day I climbed this mountain to look down on the Crater Lake and enjoy the wider view and the return trip on a sheet of plastic. Now I’m content to admire it from some 20 kms away.


Project Management Course Graduates – Darren, Hollei, Karen, Holly, Danielle, Mike, Tom, Jim, and Chaana, with Mount Ruapehu clearly in the background.


Building a tower using Lego – a deceptively challenging exercise.


The finished product – a profitable construction designed to withstand a 14 degrees earthquake-provision tilt.


The Blue Team’s finished deliverable or product showing an appropriate combination of differently-priced coloured bricks. Who said women aren’t great engineers.


The financial results: Blue Team $1,810, and Red Team $1,040 – both impressive profits given the challenging constraints that applied.


Stephen Covey’s time management matrix is particularly relevant for project managers whose efforts should mostly be devoted to “Not Urgent – Important” matters. Check out the associated exercise at page 12-14 of the workbook.


Estimating time and cost – an important part of the project management planning process that is best done with colleagues.


Categorising project stakeholders who may represent a threat or opportunity in terms of project success.


Deciding the extent to which we will delegate authority in various circumstances, influenced by the nature of the task and the attitude and aptitude of our team members.


A decision tree that is sometimes helpful for deciding which project to approve – usually beats trying a dart.


A paired-comparisons’ matrix used in this instance used by the team to determine the relative importance of new flag selection criteria or attributes.


A decision matrix that helps ensure viable flag options are objectively evaluated against relevant weighted-criteria to produce a readily justifiable decision. It’s also a useful tool for evaluating tenders.


A network diagram that shows the relationship between tasks that comprise a project. In this example, the project critical path is identified using red arrows. This path is the longest route through the diagram and determines project duration. The figures in red show float or slack – the time by which non-critical tasks may be delayed without delaying the project completion date. Float provides for scheduling flexibility and is often useful for accommodating resource constraints. The changed float figures shown in this diagram are the result of a sensitivity analysis when the team evaluated the consequences of changing one variable – the duration of a particular task. A network diagram is a very useful prelude to preparing a Gantt Chart. All project management software packages have the capacity to produce Network Diagrams and Gantt Charts, among other things.


This matrix helps us to decide our approach to delegation depending on our team member’s experience and how risky we assess the job to be.


This exercise involved a trade-off between time and cost in which course participants correctly determined the minimum cost of completing a project within various timeframes.


Graphing a project’s performance using earned value analysis.


Phew – the solution, which in this instance tells us that our project is at present behind schedule and overspent – sometimes a career-stifling combination, although such projects may nevertheless add value should the benefits generated by the resultant deliverables exceed the costs involved. Projects are benefit-driven.


Final exercise – preparing and presenting a project plan in this instance for a large hui or conference. The exercise was particularly well done, due in large part to the team’s effective level of co-operation (something not always evident in corporates where I’ve noticed that sometimes “teams” may suffer from internal competitive issues that add to the fun).

“Some really great feedback on the course, especially your delivery.”  Danielle Vaughan, Operations Manager, Ruapehu Whānau Transformation.

The good news is that the organisation wants me to run the programme again within the next few months. Return business is a consultant’s KPI (key performance indicator).


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