It is time to get clever.

We have been sharing thoughts over the past two weeks on how to secure training resources and create opportunities to develop professional skills in a volatile training market. Today, we review a strategy for bringing project management training to your teams when they need it, and working with your training and development teams closely to implement it.

The Joint Venture
Most the work we do involves project managers working on projects that involve more than a single core team. Project managers are integrating the efforts of extended project teams including internal and external customer teams, contractors, and suppliers. With such a variety of team backgrounds, our partners quickly realize that a crash course in project management planning and discipline will go a long way toward streamlining the project process and ensuring that all team members share the same project management language.

Our most innovative clients are leveraging these extended team relationships as extended training relationships; sharing the load — and the costs — of timely and effective training between companies and divisions to ensure that training comes when you and your teams need it the most.

The New Role of the Training Department: Ask for Help!
There is a secondary message in this strategy for HR, Training, and Development professionals. In times of fiscal constraint, their role changes, too.

Traditionally, the training and development arm of the organization works diligently to provide on-going training across the enterprise. But as we have said before, when training dollars are cut, so too goes the variety and timeliness of the training that might otherwise play a critical role in your project plan. If the training dollars aren’t coming from the organization at large, it is time for you to begin to budget training into your project budget.

In this new world, project managers must remember that it is absolutely appropriate to ask for help. Invite a representative from training to join your team. This way, you can keep your training teams apprised of your project schedules, the specific tactical importance of training, and when that training will make the most difference in your ability to deliver results. Put the responsibility of providing access to training on the team member best equipped to deliver it.

The message to training teams is equally important: Be on the look-out for ways you can provide strategic and tactical assistance to projects in your organization. The more involved you can become in finding strategic training alliances between teams, and providing access to training when it is most critical to the organization, the better your ability to increase the importance and visibility of the training function.