Essay, 2012, 4 Pages
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Students and business people in the Czech Republic are hungry to learn the skills of Project, Programme, Portfolio and General Management. Dr Eddie Fisher presents his work with ACSA (Academic Centre for Students Activities) in Brno, Czech Republic, in the hope that others will be inspired to follow in his footsteps. He argues that knowledge and practical experience do not add value until we share both with the widest possible audience.
Eddie and Pavel (ACSA member of staff) during one of the many training sessions at the University of Brno in the Czech Republic in 2009.
There is a growing demand in many Eastern European countries to learn the tools, techniques and people skills of professional project management. One country, the Czech Republic, has seen a dramatic rise in the demand for teaching project management. ACSA in Brno has taken proactive steps to fulfil this demand by offering students and business people from across the country and all industries project management courses that cover the theory and practice of professional and effective project management. The content is fully aligned to the current edition of the International Project Management Association’s Competence Baseline to give it the necessary credibility. I will discuss my work in the Czech Republic since 2004, how I have done it, some do’s and don’ts and what I suggest other practising project managers should consider doing to build on my work.
I first met with Ing. Jaroslav Svec and Mgr. Zuzana Jezkova (both ACSA) at the annual PM Days event in Vienna, Austria, in 2003 where I regularly presented papers on topical issues in project management. They were particularly keen on finding out more about the skills of managing people well and effectively in project environments. I started to promote the practical application of professional project management the following year when I presented one of my academic research papers on the people side of PM-Emotions and Feelings- at a project management seminar in Ramzova, Czech Republic. I combined theory with lots of practical examples from projects I managed in the real competitive world. Students liked this approach because they could immediately relate to the examples. And I must have got something right as many of the female students queued up after the lecture to ask me for some practical help and advice to sort out their boy-friend problems such as ‘He never listens to me’.
They appreciated that someone, in their own time, made such efforts to travel to the Czech Republic to share knowledge and experience of practical project management with such passion for the profession. They saw the benefits and value for doing something in a certain way, perhaps different to their own cultural way of doing things. For example, if you want to build a strong rapport with project team members, you must be open, honest and genuine with them. Behaviours are observable. People will ‘see’ if you say one thing but do something different!
Over the years, the number of my presentations grew from just a single paper to nine plus. Soon I covered all aspects of project, programme and project portfolio management. Although students and business people wanted to know much more about the people side of project management, particularly in areas such as virtual project teams, effective communications, conflict management, negotiations and team building, they also developed a keen interest in tools and techniques and processes such as Prince 2 and MSP. This meant that I had to change my approach. Pure lecturing was no longer adequate. I began to use lots of humour and told anecdotes to keep the interest and attention span going!
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