Case Study

Overhauling a Project Management Training Program

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The Problem

A pulp and paper company realized that while its business leaders, project managers, and engineers generally knew the what and how to the workings of the company’s site-based capital project planning and stage-gated processes, they lacked an understanding of why project execution planning steps are taken, especially in relation to pulp and paper industry Best Practices. However, the client did not have the staffing and other resources necessary to undertake a comprehensive overhaul of its internal project management training program.

IPA’s Solution

The IPA Institute worked with the client to build three separate internal capital project management training courses, with each focused on strengthening employees’ understanding of global industry Best Practices and the company’s processes, guidelines, and systems for doing capital projects.

Because the client’s internal catalog of project management training materials was outdated, the challenge was to compile, refresh, and reorganize the client’s training framework and materials. IPA Institute staff worked hand-in-hand with client representatives to vet existing materials, remove obsolete content, and update materials to reflect current policies and guidelines, such as value improvement practices preferred by the client.

The resulting deliverable was a set of three custom training courses used to introduce or reacquaint site-based project managers, engineers, and facility business leaders to or with the client company’s capital project work processes.

Designed as instructor-led, face-to-face training sessions, all three courses were customized to accommodate the needs of three project functions—project management, engineering, and facility leadership. Each course is a composite of the client’s own capital project Best Practice policies, guidelines, and existing training programs and data from IPA in industry Best Practices based on IPA’s Project Evaluation System (PES®*) Methodology, research, and databases. Company-specific benchmarking data collected and analyzed by IPA staff were integrated into the course subject matter to educate course participants about the client’s own site-based project performance.

One course, the Project Management Training Program, was designed for project managers, manufacturing leaders, investment managers, engineering partner leadership, and technology subject matter experts, with the following goals:

  • Enable attendees to successfully execute effective site-based projects
  • Improve attendees’ ability to identify ways to improve project practices and to pursue those improvements
  • Apply global lessons within the context of the client’s project processes and systems

The other two courses were Project Delivery Overview courses, one for engineers and the other for facility leaders. Each course provided the target audience with an overview of the client’s capital projects delivery process and practices and a review of IPA research findings and Best Practices for delivering successful projects. The engineers’ course was built as an extension to the client’s existing engineer training program. The facility leadership course emphasized the importance of key project leadership roles based on IPA study findings and reviewed the client’s capital allocation and facility planning guidelines.

“This was my first contact with that structure on project management. I will study the material to improve myself and contribute with the company because I believe in these ideas.”

“It was my first contact with Project Mgmt. and I am sure I will use the information acquired in this course. Thanks! Excellent training course.”

“[I] learned more about project controls. [The] financial segment was great!”

Client Use of the Results

The client made the newly developed courses a part of the company’s Project Management Training Curriculum and delivered them in-house at various company sites around the world. Because instructor notes accompany all presentations developed via the collaborative course design process, the courses can be led exclusively by client instructors, or IPA instructors can be brought in to lead IPA-data-based or global-industry-capital-project-themed modules. Further, each of the courses can be updated as IPA collects and analyzes new client project data. The client can reach back to IPA Institute staff to modify and refine course instruction as needed.

*PES® is a registered trademark of IPA

Key contact

View Andrew Griffith’s profile

Andrew Griffith

Director, Consortia Membership & the IPA Institute