Friday, January 13, 2012

The Project Management Toolkit for Youth

I wrote about the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF) a while back because of the International Project Management Day. The PMIEF uses grants, programs, scholarships, and educational resources to alert people in general of the benefits of using Project Management - and this is everyone, people in general, and not just those people whose work is related to Project Management. So I thought it would be useful to spread their message a bit and let those who have an interest in Project Management and visit this blog know more about what they have to offer.

Project Management for kids
One of the programs running on PMIEF, the "Project Management Toolkit for Youth"really caught my eye. It was designed to bring Project Management methodology to students up to high school (from ages 6 to 18), which is a great idea! Although everyone requires project management skills (because everyone has projects to manage at one point or another), they do it without the support of a formal, proven methodology. This is in fact the same thing that happens with technology nowadays, everyone needs Computer Engineering skills to some degree as they probably have a couple of computers at home - but somehow lack the knowledge and rely on common sense, advice from friends and family and not much more.

The benefits
Putting kids in contact with Project Management has a double benefit. On one hand, it alerts them for the wide range of different skills needed and actually learn some tools and techniques that can come in handy in the future. On the other, they are better prepared to face the challenges in Project Management because they now know where to turn to when their knowledge in this area is not enough.
One good thing the PMIEF did was to make all their resources free to download and use, including the student's handouts. You just need to fill in a form before they redirect you to their download page to get access to a few documents that include presentations, topics to cover and the actual curriculum to use with the course structure, lessons plans and even exams.

The course structure
And in this case of the "Curriculum for Secondary Schools", they cover an 8 lesson plan to introduce Project Management in schools and it really impressed me how much Project Management stuff is covered. The course is designed for an 8 week period with 3 classes per week with 1,5 hour duration. The class is divided into groups that will carry on some project that each group decides to pursue. This is great as it gives kids a necessary practical experience in Project Management.

The course structure is the following:
Lesson 1: Introduction to Project Management
Lesson 2: Tools and Ethics
Lesson 3: Scope and Communications
Lesson 4: Time and Human Resources
Lesson 5: Scheduling and Cost Lesson 6: Quality and Risk
Lesson 7: Monitoring and Control and Final Exam Preparation
Lesson 8: Project Simulation and Final Presentation Preparation

The 8 lessons provide just a core set of tools, but it's quite complete in terms of hard skills - much more than I'd imagine. You won't find Monte Carlo simulations but you can find Gantt and PERT charts and even the Critical Path Method.

Other benefits
And they also considered teachers. Like everyone else, teachers have to manage projects in their profession but in general have no Project Management training. So this is a great opportunity for the teachers themselves and the PMIEF has mentors to assist both students and teachers in the process.
But don't get the notion that this toolkit is the only offer the PMIEF has. Just an example, the "Project Management Skills for Life" is another set of resources made available by the PMIEF. I strongly advise you to download the 20 page manual and take a close look at it. And also all the other cool stuff PMIEF has to offer.

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