WCS logo

Your Source for Project Management Training

Home Page | Course Overview | Partnering with Westwind | FAQ | Testimonials | Free Project Process Charts
Some Articles we have Written | The Project Management Guide | Our Books | How to Contact Us | Our Corporate Profile


Index of Course Topics

The standard courses we offer are Project Management Techniques, Advanced Project Management, and Management Skills for Project Managers. Click on any of the course names for a list of topics in the course.

We also recognize that project management needs vary across customers, so we are able to customize courses to your requirements. A basic project management course should include the key techniques from Project Management Techniques plus a mix of topics from the other courses. In the tables of topics below, we have marked with "Y" those topics that we recommend for a basic course, but you may choose the topics that best fit your requirements.

Click here to return to the Course Description page, or you may return to our Home Page.

 

Topics in Project Management Techniques

Topic Name

 

Topic Description

Definitions and Terminology Y The basics. What is a project and how does it differ from other activities? What is project management? What are the stages of a project?
Factors in project success and failure Y Why do projects fail? What does it mean to say that a project has failed? What are the warning signals that a project may be heading for trouble?
The role of the project manager Y What is a project manager’s responsibility? What authority is within his or her control?
Initiating the project Y The right way to initiate projects (and some wrong ways). Learn the steps to ensure that all projects are properly approved and authorized.
Setting the project goals and scope Y Learn how to prepare a comprehensive scope statement for a project. Reduce the potential for arguments about scope or expensive and time-consuming changes.
Understanding the project benefits and justification Y How to determine why a project is being done. What are the benefits and why are they important to the project manager?
Preparing a work breakdown structure Y Defining activities: How to create a comprehensive work breakdown structure. Learn an easy technique to ensure that you have defined all the activities and not missed any.
Defining dependencies and network diagramming Y How to link activities with dependencies and what errors to avoid. Understand the differences between soft and hard dependencies and how to use them in planning the project.
Estmating, assumptions, and constraints Y How to prepare valid estimates and create a budget. Have confidence in your project estimates. Understand how to apply the difference between cost and price. Learn how to estimate when the scope is not clear.
Calculating the critical path An understanding of the calculations used to calculate the critical path.
Resource allocation and leveling Y How to plan the best use of people. Learn techniques for leveling resources and reducing schedule pressure on your most valuable people.
Aligning the project plan Y How to align the schedule and budget when they exceed what the customer expected. Learn how to plan the project when the customer wants it in March and you can't deliver until July.
Identifying, categorizing, and mitigating risks Y Learn the four steps to managing risk and how to identify the risks that are most dangerous to your project. Learn two approaches to reducing the riskiness of a risk.
Preparing the project schedule and milestones Y How to prepare the schedule. Learn the importance and role of milestones--internal and external.
Preparing the project budget Y How to prepare a project budget. What should be included and what excluded.
Organizing the project team   How to organize team members and stakeholders for maximum success. Learn techniques of good organization both downwards to the team and upwards to your customer and your management.
Compiling the project plan Y Learn what a complete project plan should contain. It's more than a Gantt chart or project schedule.
Project plan approval Y How to get customer and management approvals for your plan.
Project tracking and status evaluation Y Tracking progress using the Estimate At Completion. Learn formal and informal ways to track progress. Understand what a complete tracking system should contain and how to set one up for your project.
Handling schedule delay problems Y The four steps to deal with schedule slippages. Handling incidental vs. systemic schedule problems. The use of overtime in schedule management.
Handling budget overrun problems Y How to manage the project to meet the budget. Learn techniques to track the budget and danger areas in project execution.
Status reporting Y How to report project status. Learn the most common mistakes in status reporting and how to use status reports to get customer acceptance.
Managing scope changes Y Learn the three steps to managing scope changes. Learn how to set up a scope change mechanism and how to ensure that it is used.
Managing risks Y How to keep track of risks and identify when risks have become riskier or new ones have emerged.
Issues logging and tracking Y Building and making use of an issues log. How do issues arise? How should they be assigned and tracked?
Team building and motivation Y Seven tips on building effective and powerful teams. Learn how to build teams that are committed to the project and will work to ensure its success.
Closing the project Y How to close a project and get customer approval and signoff. Learn why customers are sometimes reluctant to close a project and how to overcome their resistance. Learn how to conduct post-project and post-implementation reviews.
 

Return to Course Descriptions | Return to top

 

Topics in Advanced Project Management

Topic Name

 

Topic Description

Project management deliverables   Understand the basic set of crucial project management deliverables. Improve your project management success with proven tools.
Stakeholder communications Y How to plan for communications, both within the team and externally. Learn the different types of communications media and when and how to apply each one.
Defining and managing quality   How to build quality into the project. Understand the difference between quality and grade: why quality has nothing to do with price, exclusiveness, or superiority.
Requirements vs. Expectations Y How to uncover and manage the customer's expectations. Learn how to determine what hidden requirements the customer has and how to shape them.
Project politics   When you are faced with a conflict, how can you tell if it is motivated by politics—seeking to gain by attacking others—or sociology—the legitimate differences of opinion held by knowledgeable people? In this session, you will learn how to distinguish politics from sociology, how to protect yourself and your team from politics, and how to use sociology to advance your project.
Deliverable review and approval Y How to ensure that the customer properly reviews and approves project deliverables. Define a clear and limited process that will avoid endless repetitions of reviews and delayed approvals.
Bearing bad news   Projects can be repositories of bad news. Here, you will learn how to prepare others to receive bad news, how to deliver bad news without risking your job, and how to enroll customers and your management in resolving problems rather than blaming them on you.
Managing the customer team   Sometimes the difference between success and failure is the performance of the customer’s team, but how can you deal with a team that is poorly managed? In this session, you will learn techniques to manage the customer's team, how to use the customer’s team to promote the advantages of the project, and how to ensure that the project is on the right track.
Managing sub-contractors   How to managing sub-contractors to ensure timely delivery. Learn how to ensure that sub-contractors are on schedule and how to identify the risks that sub-contractors entail.
Advanced scope management   This topic builds upon the scope management section of the basic course. You will learn advanced techniques for defining and managing the project’s scope, how to spot the signs of scope change, how to prepare for it before it happens, and how to use scope changes to lay the groundwork for future projects.
Project information   How to ensure project information. Learn what material should be in a handoff to the project manager. To a support group. Understand the use of project archives. Learn how to keep crucial information quickly available.
Project management vs. Project leadership   Learn the difference between project management and project leadership. Identify when each should be considered and applied.
The Business Case   The Business Case should initiate a project. Here, you will learn how to prepare a Business Case that presents a strong justification for proceeding with the project, how to make intangible benefits tangible, the role of the Business Case in initiating a project, how to deal with the lack of a Business Case, and how to use the Business Case to guide the project’s progress.
Advanced Risk Management   This topic builds upon the risk management section of the basic course. In this session, you will learn advanced techniques for identifying risks before they become problems, how to identify and track risk symptoms, and the role of positive risks and how to take advantage of them.
The project management office (PMO)   The Project Management Office is a growing tool for fostering the project management discipline in an organization. Here, you will learn the roles a PMO plays in an organization, alternatives to a PMO, obstacles to a PMO, and the steps to set up a PMO.
Realizing Project Benefits   Every project is conducted for a reason, but most projects end when the product is handed over to the customer. In this session, you will learn why project managers need to be concerned with benefits, how to use benefits to make project decisions, how to improve the chances that the benefits will be realized, and how to ensure that your organization receives value from its project investments.

Return to Course Descriptions | Return to top

 

 

Topics in Management Skills for Project Managers

Setting effective goals How to set realistic goals and properly frame outcomes. Learn how to set goals and plan for them to be achieved.
Managing your time Y A simple approach to managing your time. Learn how to make sure that you are working on the highest-priority items. Learn how to define what those are. This is especially important in managing multiple projects.
Managing effective meetings Y Learn how to run meetings that people will enjoy and that produce tangible results. Learn techniques to control the meeting and keep it from going off track.
Dealing with conflict Y How to manage conflict, both internal and external. Learn how to identify conflicts before they fester. Learn techniques to defuse conflict and even to use it constructively.
Communications skills How to write memos and reports that people will read. How to deliver presentations that people will learn from and enjoy. How to listen effectively. Learn simple techniques for ensuring that all of your communications actually convey what you intend.
Gathering information How to listen and ask questions for maximum information-gathering. Learn when to question and when to listen. Learn how to gather realistic information.
Negotiation skills How to enter a negotiation. The elements of good negotiating. How to determine when to walk away and what constitutes a good result.
 

Return to Course Descriptions | Return to top