Some of us work for employers that take an active role in our professional development and some of us don’t. Regardless of our company’s stance on learning it is important for us to take charge of our own continuing education. The Project Management Institute (PMI) agrees that learning is essential for their credential holders. PMI requires all Project Management Professionals (PMPs) to obtain 20 Professional Development Units (PDUs) per year. One of the best ways to ensure that you get the knowledge that you need in 2011 is to create a personal development plan.
A personal development plan should be made up of the following sections:
• What you need to learn – When assessing what you need to learn it is a good idea to sit down with your boss and/or co-workers and discuss your strengths and weaknesses. You can then try to shore up your weaknesses and/or make your strengths even stronger. It is also important to be forward looking in terms of upcoming change, for example your company may decide to implement Scrum in 3rd quarter 2011 and you want to get trained ahead of the curve.
• How are you going to learn – When it comes to training there are several options available to you. The most effective means of training is live, in-person, instructor led courses. Live courses feature a mix of lecture and hands-on exercises that keep you engaged and active in the learning process. If you can’t get away to a class then there are web-based options as well and self-study options such as books and web research available.
• When will you learn – Even though you have the entire year ahead of you, it is a good idea to map out when you will receive your training in advance. Consider the projects that you have lined up across the year, your vacation plans, as well as when the courses that you need are offered. Try to fit classes into your down time so that you won’t be as distracted by what’s going on around you.
Once you have your personal learning plan mapped out; it’s a good idea to share it with others. When you make your plan public you are essentially asking others to hold you accountable to meeting your objectives.
Remember the wise words of Ray Kroc, “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting”. Don’t let your skills decay, stay on top of your educational needs by creating a personal learning plan for 2011.
Want to compile a personal learning plan, but not sure where to begin? That’s ok, because Braintrust is here to help…
Individuals or organizations seeking to develop personal learning plans should contact us via e-mail (info at yourpmpartner.com) or by phone at 205.329.3794. We are happy to provide you with free confidential assistance in determining personal learning plans for both individuals and/or employers.