Teaching Project Management Skills

Information technology is no longer just about creating a product; it’s also about managing the process of development.

“The IT industry initially was operating more like a fly-by-night kind of operation,” said Hans Jonasson, senior instructor with ESI International. “There were a lot of studies in the ’80s and ’90s. One organization, The Standish Group, [looked] at the status of the software industry, and they found that less than one-third of all projects [were] successful. That was the wake-up call, and some people said, ‘Maybe it’s not enough to just sit down and program something. We have to make sure that we understand what a customer wants, what are the time frames, what are the business goals, and we have to organize [that] process.’”

As a result, project management is a growing trend, and more organizations are expecting their IT professionals to have some experience in this area. Jonasson used the analogy of a vacation: You don’t just go on vacation. You have to plan and prepare.

“You don’t just go down to the airport, buy the tickets and then see what happens,” he explained. “You do some research, you decide where you want to go, you plan, you get hotel rooms [and] you get your tickets. That’s really what project management is.”

To teach the skills necessary for project management, trainers should use case studies or simulations in conjunction with lectures and discussions.

“It’s critical because a lot of people learn by doing, and they learn [from]…


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