Evaluating training for your PMO

How to evaluate training in your Project Management Office (PMO)

It’s taken as given that it’s important to train your team, and the staff in your project management office (PMO) are no different. Training takes a lot of investment and it’s important to track the success of courses you offer. How can you evaluate the training in you PMO?

An integral function of a PMO is to report on the success of the projects under its banner. To show your office is open and accountable, when spending money on upskilling and training, you should report on and evaluate its effectiveness.

To that end, we’ll be covering:

  • The outcomes you can expect from offering training through your PMO
  • The Kirkpatrick evaluation technique for corporate training
  • Methods you can use to conduct evaluations

Meaning that you’ll have a solid basis to demonstrate the return on investment of the training you provide.

What differences can I expect to see in my PMO when we provide training?

Offering training to the managers and team members in your PMO makes good business sense. Working with your HR department, you can ensure that you have the hard and soft skills within your PMO to get projects finished on time and on budget.

Before you can evaluate the training your PMO offers, you need to know what you’re expecting. Generally, you’ll be looking to see:

  • An improvement in the skills within your PMO
  • Better productivity in terms of project completion and success
  • Higher rates of employee retention
  • A stronger brand with internal advocates

Each type of training will likely come with different expectations. You should define what you want to see from every course you offer and then choose how you will report and evaluate it.

How do I use the Kirkpatrick method to evaluate training in my PMO?

Bob Kirkpatrick developed a method to measure the success of custom corporate training back in the 1950s. Although much has changed in terms of the technology and delivery of training, his method still generally hold true.

There are four steps to completing a Kirkpatrick evaluation. You don’t have to use every step for each training course you offer, it will depend on what you’re expecting to achieve as to what you’ll measure.

Reaction

You need to understand how your employees felt about the training. This should indicate if they will implement what they learned and whether they are happy about the course.

Measure the reaction for every piece of training. It’ll help you improve the training you deliver in the future. You can test your PMO team’s reaction with quizzes and one-to-one debriefing sessions.

Learning

Measuring the knowledge your team have gained is vital. When you’ve trained someone in a new programming language or a project management methodology, you want to be sure that they’ve embedded the concepts.

The learning outcomes from a training course should be measured when delivering hard skills. Learning can be tested through testing or external certification. You should also see a long-term change in KPIs, such faster and more accurate project delivery.

Behaviour

Training should positively change the behaviour of your team. Offering soft skills training courses, such as updates on using Scrum methods or leadership skills, will make your team more cohesive and positive.

This is a less important outcome for hard skills training, so it’s less important to measure in that case. Tracking manager evaluations and using employee surveys should capture this data.

Results

You will want to see a return on investment for every training that you offer. As well as individual outcomes, there should be overall positive outcomes for the PMO.

Some training might be too small to have overarching results, such as fire safety training. However, larger deliveries of skills should be measurable through the PMO KPIs in general. Look at your project delivery ratios and total cost per project to see results.

The take home

Every investment needs to have an outcome by which it is measured. Training is no different. You need to understand how to evaluate the training your PMO offers.

Using the Kirkpatrick method and adapting it to the outcomes that you’re expecting will allow you to get a solid reading of your return on investment in your PMO training courses.