Professional Development

Professional Development, Essential to The Modern Workplace.

There was a time when workers just went to work to work. When the driven and devoted were promoted into higher positions of responsibility and no one cared about the effectiveness of the team as a whole.

Those times are changing though. Businesses, whether large or small, are starting to recognise the importance of empowering their staff in order to bring about better results. In today’s target driven world, the results that your business gets can make or break you and the future you have planned.

50 years ago there was less competition. When you needed to increase your results you simply added more people to a shift to increase the number of units. When a worker wasn’t producing the results needed, you dragged them in to the office, told them to work harder or find another way of paying the bills.

The development of the person and the team is so important in business today that those companies (there are still a lot around), which don’t empower their staff will eventually start to see cracks appearing.

Control

There is an ethos in teams that in order to get ahead, you need to have one person controlling the ship and issuing the orders. Many leaders feel that simply delegating a task is the essence of control. “I’ve told you to do this – you need to do it.” This is a false control however.

By empowering your team to take control you can produce results that go off the chart. Tim Ferriss, gives 99% control to all of the distributors that ship his energy product (the single thing that allows him to go off experiencing the world). This giving of control to others greatly improves the results he gets. The players in his team are allowed to make decisions for themselves based on conditions that he has set in place, which subsequently increases their productivity and feeling of wellbeing and in turn increase the number of units he sells and ships.

Focus

When a member of the team doesn’t feel that they are developing within the business human nature will take over and they’ll find it somewhere else. If a business isn’t positively encouraging their staff to grow and develop; their focus will shift into other areas of life when growth can occur.

Some people within the business may find this development elsewhere like in a new job, while others will simply find something else to distract them. If a business is developing their staff consistently, then individuals will feel fulfilled and subsequently more focussed at work.

Every job I’ve ever left, I’ve left because I felt I’d run out of options and opportunities, so I went off to find them somewhere. If you’re not empowering your team to grow and develop within the business, you can bet they will also do the same. Money just isn’t a big enough reason to stay in a job anymore.

Productivity

If you give a person the opportunity to learn a new skill of their choosing, anywhere in life, you can bet they’ll want to instantly put it in to practice. If those opportunities come in the work place, team members become more motivated to produce results.

People who are motivated to improve will find ways to be more productive because they will want to do more of what they love and find better ways to do it. If in business you’re not providing the opportunities for this, then it’s no wonder your staff become demotivated and unproductive.

You need to provide these opportunities that will motivate your team and will increase their desire to become more productive.

How to sell PRINCE2 training to your Organization

If you are looking to go on a PRINCE2 course and need to convince your boss why it’s in his/her interests to pay for you, then read on.
Does your organization run projects? It would be a strange organization if it didn’t, so I’m assuming the answer is yes. Are all your projects delivered on time, within budget and according to expectation? I am assuming the answer is no. That’s because most projects are either late, over budget, or don’t deliver what stakeholders expect from them. How much would your organization save, not just in terms of money, but in terms of resource time if your projects were more successful? The answer is quite a bit or a lot.
The fact of the matter is that more and more organizations are undertaking projects more regularly. However, the skills required to direct and manage such projects are very specific and are not normally ones which people are equipped with either at school or at university.
Furthermore, project management as a profession has gained in reputation in recent years, as the London 2012 Olympics came to town, and as TV series such as the BBC’s The Apprentice popularized project management. The oft-repeated mistakes by the contestants in the latter shows that project management skills are certainly in need of improvement in many cases. That’s where PRINCE2 comes in.
Here’s 10 reasons why attending a PRINCE2 course will help your organization:
1. Your boss can focus on the return on investment
If your boss is providing the money to fund your project, perhaps the most important decision he or she will need to take is to decide whether your project is worth investing in.
It might be that there’s a dozen other projects all competing for the same funds and resources. Your boss will need to understand therefore the benefits versus the costs, timescales and risks. The benefits would need to outweigh the other things for your project to be worthwhile. Built into the heart of PRINCE2 – in fact it’s one of its principles – is a belief that project decisions need to have an understanding of these things.
In other words there is a focus on the project benefits which helps to ensure the project gives value for money.
2. PRINCE2 can be used on any project
No matter how big or how small your project is, no matter what type of project it is, you can still use PRINCE2. That’s right – it can be used on all types and sizes of projects. The terminology used in PRINCE2 is very generic – there’s no industry-specific terminology.
3. PRINCE2 will save your boss’s time
Nobody likes to attend meetings, especially the boring progress-type meetings. Your boss is probably already extremely busy and when your next project starts, he or she is probably dreading the extra meetings required.
Well, the good news for your boss is that PRINCE2 recommends not having regular meetings between the project manager and project sponsor because the information about progress can be conveyed in reports. Applying PRINCE2 therefore will save your boss time.
4. It’s popular for a reason – it works
PRINCE2 is the world’s most popular project management framework. More people are certified in PRINCE2 than any other project management certification.
It’s widely practiced especially in the UK, but increasingly internationally. That’s in both the public and private sectors. Many international brands use PRINCE2 to help them manage their projects. The United Nations, Tesco, DHL, Rolls Royce, Barclays, BP, Skandia and Sun Microsystems are just a few examples.
There’s a good reason why these organizations use it – it’s a proven and effective method which works. It can work for your organization too.
5. You’ll gain from the experience of others
PRINCE2 is based upon modern best practices in project management. In other words, it was developed by some very experienced project managers, so you will benefit from their enormous experience. There’s no need for your organization to create its own project management method. Just apply PRINCE2 and tailor it to suit your organization’s needs accordingly.
6. You’ll learn a common vocabulary
If you study PRINCE2 with others from your organization, you’ll learn a common vocabulary which you can use on all your projects. This can help to make your project communications more efficient.
7. Continuous improvement
There’s an inbuilt mechanism in PRINCE2 to continuously improve your organization’s project management practices. It’s one of PRINCE2’s most important features. Over time, if you use PRINCE2 you will learn to make fewer mistakes and your projects will become more efficient. This will help save your organization time and money.
8. You can use PRINCE2 alongside other methods
If you work in the IT industry, the chances are that you will have heard of Agile. These are development methods recently designed to assist teams of software developers deliver software more efficiently. If your organization uses agile methods, they will work alongside PRINCE2. In fact the latest version of PRINCE2 was designed to work alongside such agile methods and fills many of the holes which exist with agile methods.
9. Clearly defined structure
PRINCE2 is very clear about which project management role is responsible and accountable and for what. You mean there’s a bunch of roles defined in PRINCE2, not just project manager? That’s right, there’s team manager role as well as project manager. There’s a support role and more senior roles too.
A great thing about PRINCE2 is that it specifically describes which role is responsible for taking which decisions and when. This can be of enormous benefit to your projects because it helps everyone understand who is responsible.
10. Clearly defined decision points
Every project has a beginning, a middle and an end. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone involved knows what decisions need to be taken and when? Well, if you go on a PRINCE2 course, this is one of the things that you’ll learn about. This means that when you plan your project you can plan the key dates when your boss will need to be involved in taking decisions.
So that concludes our 10 good reasons why attending a PRINCE2 course will help your organization.
Conclusion
In summary then, we’ve shown you in this article how PRINCE2 can be of benefit to your organization. The relatively small cost involved in you attending a PRINCE2 training course will be far outweighed by the benefits once you start to apply PRINCE2 on your projects.
So, don’t delay any longer. Book that meeting with your boss and explain to him how you think PRINCE2 is going to help him and your organization better manage its projects.

Reasons to get an ITIL Certification

ITIL is the most widely accepted foundation framework, a set of practices, used by companies to manage IT services. It provides the structure to manage and deliver different services so that users have a consistent experience. The ITIL practices help achieve good quality service and also helps overcome difficulties that may crop up in the development of IT systems.  Many international companies like the Microsoft, IBM, Caterpillar and Boeing among others, have benefited from the successful implementation of ITIL in their IT service management.
Through the use of the ITIL Service Lifecycle, the framework helps organizations transform and adapt to the changing economic climate and the market place. This helps with implementation of further improvements to practices that are oriented at achieving high levels of business performance.
A good knowledge of the ITIL basics is therefore going to help the entire team working with ITIL. The need is so much so that more organizations are providing on-site training on implementing the ITIL framework and in some cases also sponsor employees’ ITIL certification journey.
 
The ITIL Certification Path
There are four levels to the ITIL certification:
  • ITIL Foundation – offers a basic look at the fundamentals of ITIL and gives those new to the concept, the information they need to understand everything the ITIL entails
  • ITIL Intermediate – details the five primary ITIL framework phases
  • ITIL Expert – gives more advanced students a look into the finer details of the ITIL structure
  • ITIL Master – shows that the certified person is able to take the ITIL phases and implement them into a real-world framework

 

Organizational Benefits
With ITIL, organizations are assured of the following benefits, resulting in heavy demand for certificed ITIL professionals:
  • Increased productivity
  • Greater customer satisfaction through a professional approach to
  • Right use of skills and experience
  • Improved Return over Investment (ROI) in IT
  • Reduced service cost by better and efficient utilization of resources
  • Prevents redundancy of the work conducted
  • Provides better third party services by improvising on the uses of available skills and expertise
  • Identifies weak areas and further offers solutions to strengthen it
  • With an increasing number of IT professionals getting an ITIL certification, organizations are able to save on training and L&D costs
  • Increased staff retention
  • Greater visibility of IT costs and assets
  • Why You Should Consider Certification
ITIL is a globally recognized set of best practices that finds implementation in the IT Services Management, in many organizations. And as is, there isn’t a dearth of ITIL qualified professionals in the IT arena. This adds on as a benefit for organizations as increased availability in ITIL qualified professionals translates to cost reduction on training and successful implementation of the framework.
Thus, getting certified in the different levels of ITIL gives you the edge over the rest of the competitors seeking the same role as you are, or rather as Neil Wilson, an ITIL expert states: it’s a foot in the door, and it gets you on the shortlist!
 
Benefits of being ITIL Certified
#1: Better Pay
As with other certifications, a certification facilitates a pay-rise and promotion to higher tier roles and positions. Payscale.com’s report on ITIL-skilled professionals in the US states that certified ITIL program managers earn an average salary of $119,248 a year, which makes ITIL experts among the highest-paid professionals in the IT industry. As per the report, certified IT architects can earn anywhere between $86,062 and $131,247.
#2: Skills Honed
Three main features of ITIL contribute to the growing demand and popularity of this framework across international organizations. They are:
a stable foundation or IT environment that the set of practices help achieve
keeping up with changing technological demands by constantly evolving and
yet being able to provide the reliability through maximizing the value of  new technological strategies.
With that said, it is evident that IT departments will need implementation of this framework at a greater scale. Furthermore, ITIL framework is simply a set of techniques and procedures that have been proven successful and effective than others. Gaining knowledge in the framework, will make the professional makes work easier and helps you accomplish tasks in cheaper, faster and easier ways; and also produce better results. This in turn makes employees as strong assets to organizations and professionals to be sought-after in the job market.
#3: Familiarity with ITSM’s Common Language
While getting onto the certification training, professionals tend to get familiarized with the terms, phrases and methods of conveying information that are common norms among IT professionals. This acts as a strong differentiator that identifies certified professionals from the non-certified. Using the right terms not only means that you can communicate the right idea to your team, but also saves up a lot of time and on wrongly directed functions/processes.
While on the preparation journey to the ITIL certification examinations, candidates will also find that access to preparatory materials is quite easy – there is a wealth of online study guides, practice books, and mobile apps that can help you with every level of the certification process. This eases their path to being certified.
#4: Growing Demand for ITIL Certified Professionals
ITIL is closely tied to the ISO/IEC 20000 standards, suggesting the framework’s popularity isn’t going to drop any time soon. Also, with a little over 800 organizations being ISO/IEC 20000 certified, demand for ITIL professionals continues to remain very high.
Professionals with the certification stand a good chance as being recognized as potential employees to roles that demand ITIL knowledge. The demand is especially high in the field of incident management, process management, service management, release management and ITSM related project management roles. Underlining the certification’s importance, ITIL has also been ranked among the top 15 highest-paying certifications for 2015 by a number of researchers on the web.
#5: Paves the Road to Better Roles and Organizations
With the number of acclaimed organizations implementing ITIL being large, the certification gives that edge to candidates to be chosen for the best jobs in the job market in ITSM arena. Also, certified candidates can make their choice of organizations and roles, rather than waste precious years of their career on roles that are a poor fit to their profiles. It is to be noted in relation to the previous statement that certified professionals no longer have to wait for recruiters to short-list them for a prospective role, but instead choose their desired role and organization.
#6: Global Implementation
As a certified ITIL, if you decide you want to move abroad, you won’t have to change jobs. There are over 10,000 companies and organizations world-wide that have adopted the ITIL framework. If you prefer to stay in the country, you can check to see if the companies you want to work for have adopted the framework. Even companies that would traditionally not be pegged as ITIL-implementers, such as Disney, utilize the framework.
In concrete terms, what this translates to is – no shortage of job opportunities for a certified ITIL professional!
The benefits that come with this demanded certification are thus plenty and with the growing demand of the framework itself, the certification is setting that essential requirement factor among employers and recruiters, to primarily filter-out certified professionals who get translated as candidates of assured potential. Being certified in the different levels of the ITIL certification, helps professionals in all levels of the IT sphere – from help desk workers to IT Directors. Hence, being certified helps fast-tracking your progress in the IT career-ladder. With a couple of years laden in professional experience and a couple of ITIL certifications in hand, one is bound for higher altitudes in their IT career.

 

Five Phases of Professional Development

Too often, professionals say that the professional development they receive provides limited application to their everyday world. Here The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory shares a five-phase framework that can help create comprehensive, ongoing, and — most importantly — meaningful professional development.

The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory has developed a research-based professional development framework that promotes ongoing professional development and encourages individual reflection and group inquiry into teachers’ practice. In practice, the five phases overlap, repeat, and often occur simultaneously:

Building a Knowledge Base.
The purpose of this phase is to acquire new knowledge and information and to build a conceptual understanding of it. Activities in this phase might include goal setting, assessing needs, participating in interactive workshops, and forming a study group.

Observing Models and Examples.
The purpose of this phase is to study instructional examples in order to develop a practical understanding of the research. In this phase, one might participate in activities such as school and classroom visitations, peer observation, using instructional artifacts, co-planning, and listening to or watching audio and video examples.

Reflecting on Your Practice.
The purpose of this phase is to analyze your instructional practice on the basis of new knowledge. Activities in this phase might include the use of journals or teacher-authored cases for collegial discussion and reflection.

Changing Your Practice.
The purpose of this phase is to translate your new knowledge into individual and collaborative plans and actions for curricular and instructional change. Activities might include action research, peer-coaching, support groups, and curriculum development.

Gaining and Sharing Expertise.
The purpose of this phase is to continue to refine your instructional practice, learning with and from colleagues while also sharing your practical wisdom with your peers. Activities in this phase might include team planning, mentoring or partnering with a colleague, and participating in a network.