Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hello Project Management Academy. Fare-well Project Management!

This past week I've been away from the office (and home, and the blog) for AVI-SPL's in-house "Project Management Academy". Along with Tech 2 Academy, Tech 3 Academy, and Sales Academy it's a part of our training and  consistent standards to our team. It is also a requirement for my new position as a Project Engineer. So, ironically, I had to take Project Management Academy to leave my current position in Project Management!

Project Management, as defined by the Project Management Institute, is the application of knowledge, tools, and skills towards the completion of a project (which in turn is described as a temporary endeavor to provide a unique product or service. Ongoing or recurring work is, generally speaking, not a project). AV project management generally involves the design, installation, and testing of integrated audio-video systems.
What happens in a week of AV project management training? It starts with a brief technical review, including information about not only AV wiring connectors and standards, but also touching on construction, reading architectural drawings, and types of hardware. After two days of that (plus a test!) we moved on to project management principles. Most of these (ie managing the classic "triple constraint" of quality-cost-schedule) were somewhat familiar to me, but it was valuable to put it in a standardized framework which we can all use together.

A page of notes on structural things
Some of the best parts of the class were tangential to the formal instruction. Not only did meeting my  peers give me a good feeling of the commonality of our work together - we share many of the same struggles, feel the same excitement at overcoming a technical challenge,  and all love technology - but in reminding us what a genuinely broad and deep talent base AVI-SPL has. No matter what challenge a lesson would bring to mind, be it a technical issue, relationship with a tough subcontractor, or a resource issue, There was always someone in the group who had not only met that challenge but found a solution. Someone, for example, mentioned a serious vibration issue with a projector. We had more than one engineer who knew that the right solution, as shown my notes, would be a spring-isolation system uniquely engineered for the given size and weight of the projector. Do I know enough to perform the calculations to create this kind of solution? No, but I do know what it looks like and, better yet, who to ask for help if the problem comes up for me. The week was filled with delightful surprises like that, and reminders that if we need anything from a set of 3D Revit drawings to audio programming to network engineering to structural design of a rigging system,  we not only have people for that, but we very often have experts. It was one of those "proud to be part of the team" moments.

Was it a positive takeaway to know that when I finish my last couple of projects I'll be running the post-mortem meeting with the same form everyone else is using, or to know exactly what to expect from an engineering perspective when I'm called  on to participate in a project kickoff meeting for another PM?
Absolutely. I took this class because it was a requirement, but at the end I felt that it was a week very well spent. It was, as our instructor said, "more fun than fighting a wildcat in a phone booth".


  1. Hey, Leonard. :-) I'm passing the Kreativ Blogger award your way!

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  3. I need help in rising quality management plan. please help me. I am a student of Project management and its my job.

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