I ran a 3 day training course last week. I received the only content I was to be given (311 slides in a power point presentation) at 5pm the day before via email and did not have a printer to cope with that volume of presentation.
IAPA: The 311 is the actual number of slides not some made up statistic as occurs with 87.25% of the stats in my blog.
I did attend a train-the-trainer a month ago, but my notes and working papers were quarantined due to their secret and market sensitive nature
IAPA: The course reveals how IT projects can actually be run successfully without too much effort- which everyone always suspected, but that the IT world wants kept secret from all but an inner enclave of 3,445,621 members of the industry.
So I went through my 311 slides online and turned up ready to be fried by the students for being underprepared. But my co-trainer Shane demonstrated that if you know what you are doing, 311 slides can actually be made interesting and relevant.
IAPA: If you are wondering what the IAPA things are, they are “inconvenient and pointless asides”. They do not add much to the flow of the article but allow the expulsion of waffle I have contained within me. They apparently annoy old english teachers and provide them with Kamic revenge for some of the books and assignments they inflict on young students, who would otherwise develop a love for the english language.
Shane kicked off the day with stories of adventures in agile projects and he got people interested enough to start asking questions and challenging ideas. And after that the day went well and based on that so did the rest of the course.
It was fascinating to hear how many of the challenges faced by the students were consistent across the group, and with my own adventures in past projects.
For example I was able to provide a student with the following advice on stakeholder management
“ouch, that would hurt, maybe you should try being firm but collaborative while you ask him to put the baseball bat down”
… and then I nodded in a knowing but understanding way. I think he understood my advice and we both understood that it is a lot more fun giving advice in training courses, than dealing with well armed but poorly civilised stakeholders in the wild.
So the main trick for training seems to be to get the students interested in debating with you early, and keep them from realising how much less painful it is to train people that run projects, so they don’t cross the fence and run training courses.