Opportunities to increase Project Management skills
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During 2004, Technology Block has been introducing new project management skills to a wide range of staff from across TNK-BP. A program of courses has been run and attendees at these courses have come from almost all parts of the Company. In 2005 there are plans to offer twice the number of these project management courses than in 2004. More of these courses will be run in the regions to bring greater local focus to the training.
“When we consulted the Leadership of the new Company on the technical learning needs for 2004, enhancing Project Management skills was the most frequently requested topic,” said Stuart Bowler, Technical Training Manager of TNK-BP. “From the feedback we received it was clear that there was a strong business requirement to provide people working on complex business activities with a common set of project management tools and to increase their project management skills. It was believed that we needed a program that offered general technical project management training for anyone who was involved with the management of large activity sets such as operations or projects. In addition, the program had to offer more specialised training to those people involved with the delivery of Major Projects where the capital spend is likely to be greater than $100 million”.
The program was designed and planned in cooperation with ESI International, a leading global learning organisation. ESI delivers similar training to a wide range of international clients, including BP. The courses delivered by ESI are accredited by one of the foremost business studies institutions in the USA, the George Washington University (GWU). As such, the successful completion of each course carries with it a certificate awarded by GWU. Furthermore, the University awards “Associate” and “Masters Certificates” in project management for the successful completion of three and seven of ESI's curriculum courses respectively.
Steve Watson, Director ESI International, said “ESI's Associate's Certificate in Project Management provides an introduction to project management for those professionals who require a less comprehensive approach or who need training in a specific area. Backed by The George Washington University School of Business and Public Management in Washington, DC, this certificate is ideal for project leaders, project team members, professionals from other areas who work with project managers or anyone seeking development in project management. The Project Management Program, therefore, rewards the individual with relevant qualifications, whilst introducing 'best practice' project management tools and processes critical to the profitable success of TNK-BP”.
The project management training program was presented to the Operations Committee and was endorsed to be implemented during 2004. Eleven basic Managing Projects courses, each of one week duration, have been run in 2004 and attended by a total of 190 TNK-BP staff. Pavel Alferov, Group Manager IT Projects Department TNK-BP says: “I have participated a in Project Management course held in Moscow late May. During the short period of the course I acquired much knowledge. The information was presented compactly, some of the materials were submitted excellently. While the largest part of material appeared not to be new for myself, I have focused attention on the way how to teach Project Management. We tried to use this approach in our CVP course for the specialists of IT Department. Concerning my wishes to the organizers, I would like to have closer implement to processes of TNK BP company and its Blocks (subdivisions). It will be also interesting to continue study the developing fields of Project Management – such as “risk management”, and “method of critical chains”.
In addition to the above 'general' courses, Four specialised courses have been run: Risk Management, Contracts and Contracting Management, Scheduling and Cost Control, and Project Management Essentials. A core of 20 people involved with Major Projects attended each of these four courses.
Cheryl Wiewiorowski has been acting as technical custodian of the program during the design and implementation phases of this program. Cheryl is Director of Project Resourcing within the -Projects and Engineering Group in Technology Block.
“There is so much value to be added to the business of TNK-BP by choosing the right projects and then doing those projects right. Proper planning and execution of a project, whether it is drilling a well, changing out a pump, developing a new oilfield or modifying a refinery, is essential to ensuring that the project achieves business objectives in the end. The Managing Projects course is designed to provide reinforcement of existing practices and introduction of new concepts to enhance the success of our project teams and TNK-BP's Capital Construction Business,” says Wiewiorowski.
“In addition to this general course, a pilot series of Major Project “Specialist” courses is being run to for professionals who are actively
involved in Major Projects, and would like to enhance their learning in specific areas. The debate and challenge amongst the participants that occurs during these courses is exciting to witness. I believe it is this type of learning and challenge that makes us all better project professionals, and helps us add value to the Corporation via successful Major Projects” she added. In 2005 it is planned to continue to offer training in project management skills. There will be 15 general Managing Projects courses and focused Major Projects training will also be offered. Information about next year's program will be posted on the company website and published in this magazine.