The first task was to benchmark NES’ current capabilities against APM
standards. This was completed through the following two activities:
- Baseline Assessment - A Project Management Consultant visited NES’
sites to observe its project practices and interview staff with project
responsibilities. This provided insight as to how projects were run at NES
and identified key areas for the training to focus on.
- Online Competency Assessments - Project staff completed online questionnaires to
measure their capabilities against APM defined project roles. The tool established which
key competencies individuals held as well as pinpointing any skills gaps. Each individual
received a personal report detailing their strengths and areas for development.
Next, the output from both benchmarking activities was used to identify general areas for
development, to which subsequent learning was aligned to provide maximum benefit for NES.
To achieve best practice, a programme of tailored APMP training was rolled-out across NES’
community of project staff, with additional focus on the specific areas for development identified.
Pre-course reading was provided in an eLearning format. As well as being concise and interactive,
this self-paced format also enabled project staff to dedicate extra time and attention to personal
areas for improvement identified during the initial competency assessment.
The six-day APMP course was delivered in two-day instalments, broken up by work-based
assignments. The work-based assignments took two forms:
- Extended Learning Assignments - Project staff worked in groups of three to explore a
specific project area within their business, presenting their findings back to a joint NES/QA
project management team for discussion
- Trainer Marked Assignments - Individuals submitted written assignments on how APM
practices apply to NES, which were assessed by a QA Project Management Consultant
This structure enabled attendees to implement the learning back in the workplace between
sessions, encouraging them to embed best practice in their day-to-day activities.
To support the programme, QA worked with NES to develop a project handbook aligned to the
APM body of knowledge. This tool, along with the ongoing improvements to the processes, gave
project staff access to best practice guidance as required.