Alumni Story – Troy CrystalIPM2016-05-29T09:47:37+00:00
The Institute of Project Management has been delivering the Diploma of Project Management via the Tasmanian Government Skills Fund for three years. In this time, more than 100 learners have had the opportunity expand on their project management experiences and knowledge, and apply them in both theoretical and practical contexts.
Once such student is Troy Crystal. Prior to starting the course, Troy worked in public policy and planning, and identified a lack of formal project management skills as a hindrance to his current employment capabilities. “I started working on a planning project where I was the key supporting resource for the project manager. I quickly learned how much I didn’t know about formal project management procedures. This wasn’t a project where I could just ‘get by’ on what I already knew; I needed to know how to do it properly.”
The value of Troy studying this course was also officially recognised when an opportunity arose for a different position in his Department. The Diploma in Project Management was a complementary fit for previous study Troy had completed in environmental management (he has a Masters degree), and allowed him to make the shift into the field of environmental approvals and compliance.
“While I’m not actually a project manager, 95% of the work I do is project management. I now provide information to project managers for just about every aspect of the project management lifecycle, and knowing exactly how that lifecycle works is critical to the success of my work.”
During the course of completing the Diploma, Troy came to realise the value of the many skills sets covered in the course. “I was still studying the Diploma when I changed into my current job. Within about two weeks, I was managing the approvals on five different projects which were all in different phases of the lifecycle. I was really glad I had learnt what I had.”
When asked which components he had found useful, Troy said it was understanding the procedures around scoping and risk management reporting, as well as the importance of developing a sound contract. “I always felt that clearly articulating the scope of a project was one of the most important aspects, and having a clear documentary path for doing this has become really useful. Variations to scope can be a minefield when complying with approvals, and having evidence of what was originally scoped is vitally important to maintain.
“Risk management is bread and butter in the approval process, and knowing how to define risks and their implications to project managers – in a language they understand – ensures you’re all on the same page. If your project manager doesn’t understand how or why something is important, they often won’t include it in the contract; if they don’t include it in the contract, it will cost you time, money and multiple headaches down the track.
While the Diploma requires a significant investment of time by the learner, and a certain level of self discipline in order to make the most of the online learning environment, Troy found that he was well supported throughout the course. “It requires a bit of extra reading and research, if you really want to make the most out of it.”
Troy also suggested that when he really struggled to understand a concept, a chat to his course mentor helped him to fill the gaps and get on-track. “Kath was a big help. There were occasions where I just couldn’t get my head into the space, and since my mentor had followed my project and progress all along, she knew my background and how best to lead me in the right direction.”
Troy’s manager, Selena Dixon, noted:
“…when Troy did commence his new position in the demanding environment and heritage area, he truly hit the ground running. He continues to gain respect within his project teams because of his ability to manage several tasks at once, deliver quality outputs and meet customer expectations. His recourse to project management principles is evident and clearly underlies the way he gets things done!
Selena went on to say, “Troy can work with very experienced engineers with ease because he is familiar with the project management process, the importance of critical time constraints and operating within tight budgets. Troy has demonstrated the value that accrues to an organisation when staff members have sound project management skills, to the extent that it is a pre-requisite for his position and also a focus of professional development planning within the unit.”