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Two Approaches to using Microsoft Project: Training and Consultancy

Nov 11, 2007
Project management software gives a business a competitive edge. With a clear plan, an organization can allocate resources efficiently and prevent process bottlenecks. However, with a steep initial learning curve when learning the Microsoft Project software, how do you approach an application like Microsoft Project if there is no staff expert?

Training and consultancy are two common methods that organizations used with project management applications.

Microsoft Project Training and Consultancy: What's The Difference?
When you choose MS Project training, your staff attends courses to learn how to use the software properly and effectively. The end result is having employees with basic skills with which to start using MS Project.

The big different between Project training and consultancy is that with consultancy, an outside expert is brought in to architect the high-level project plan. Consultancy often includes light training so that the staff can make small changes to the project, but major changes require calling the consultant back in.

MS Project Training vs Consultancy: Benefits
The advantage of training is that you now have someone familiar with Project on salary, available at any time without paying an additional consulting fee every time you need a change made. However there is a level of proficiency that can't come from a classroom. Expertise only comes from using the software for months or years.

It can take a long time to benefit from Project training, and consultancy provides you an experienced specialist right away. A consultant creates a plan more quickly than a newly trained user and provides a solution that is more efficient and balanced. This is great - as long as nothing changes. Changes in strategy or new project planning can require a new round of consultation.

Which Is Better For Your Project?
Training and consultancy are both good choices but depending on your situation, one might be a better choice for your organization.

Training is a long-term investment. When the course is complete, you have someone with the basic skills to complete project planning but it will still take experience before this person becomes a pro. If you are working on a project with a very long duration, or if you are a business that gets involved in multiple complicated projects with clients who come and go, training is probably your better choice.

Consultancy gives you expert-level results in the short-term because you immediately get someone with the experience to provide a strategically designed project plan. However the more changes to a plan or the more new plans you need, the less cost-effective a consultant is. Consultancy is a good choice for a business that needs an initial project plan or a review and polish of an existing plan.

Combine Project training and consultancy to get the best of both worlds. Use a consultant to get started while your employees attend courses. Once the plan is in place, your newly trained employees can maintain and update the project plan and move you toward your project goals.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on Project training and consultancy, please visit http://www.microsofttraining.net
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