Dave Litten…

…Welcome To The Home Of My Project Management Primers – Training That Sticks!

Dave Litten Primers

Psssst … Dave ‘007’ Litten here – Greetings from a (not so) secret location in the sun!

After years of working undercover as an IT boffin and project manager in England … for the Americans … I dropped my guard one day and was captured!

Despite it being highly classified information – somehow the mastermind of a huge training company had discovered I was one of a very select underground group who actually had PRINCE2 lecture credentials – so I was bundled into the back of a truck and made an offer I couldn’t refuse.

And that’s how, in 1995, I mysteriously disappeared one day only to re emerge, re invented with a new identity, appearing in public … boldly teaching PRINCE2 … LIVE!

However … unknown to my new masters … I was also working on a secret side-project of my own. I had a VISION – a much better system of PRINCE2 training delivery than they had ever imagined. But this time, no one was going to steal my genius ideas!

Frustrated with the quality of the materials I had to present with every day, I just knew I could create a far easier and more structured learning environment for my more renegade and adventurous students.

Thanks to constant vigilance, the end of the nineties saw me secretly publish my first online book for those wishing to master the PRINCE2 methodology … using The Litten Method™

My new method made use of the way we all naturally learn. I had always known that we humans think in pictures, so without permission, I went ahead and harnessed that power by making the learning fun and easy … now using PowerPoint slides full of colourful graphics and videos!

The Litten Method™ was an instant hit!

By ‘painting’ the key points into my students brains using simple structured colour graphics sequences, something almost magical happened – I doubled and even tripled my students ability to learn and remember – and they were passing their exams – hundreds of them!

It WORKED. I decided there and then I HAD to break out and go it alone

It was now or never.  After months of careful planning, one day I slipped past the HR department, through the main gate, and made my bid for freedom … and never looked back.

I was FREE to create an elegant yet simple series of online project management related VIDEO ‘Primers’ which have since been constantly tweaked and honed to perfection – and this, my ‘magnificent obsession’ has given me a great lifestyle, doing what I love, living large on the Costa Blanca coastline in Spain while helping HUNDREDS of previously overwhelmed PRINCE2 and project management students pass their exams with ease

Fast forward to the present

Today, on this website, I am proud to have over 1200 potential student visits every day, where my Project Management Primer range is sold in nearly 163 countries and regions across the world.

Back when I was a gun for hire it would cost you £650 a day to have me teach PRINCE2 live, and that was 15 years ago – so even those large and expensive classroom training organisations that you can find in major cities couldn’t afford me to teach a room now.

Good news – you CAN hire me as your virtual mentor, to coach you through PRINCE2 using The Litten Method™.

I’m excited to show you a much more practical, step-by-step and cost-effective approach to become accredited in the exciting aspects of project management, so you can grow your career opportunities, promotion and salary increases!

Any questions? – Email me at:  dave(at)davelitten(dot)com

Project Management Training

You know that investing in growing your knowledge, skills and experience is the single best personal objective to have, but much like me, it is sometimes difficult in our busy professional and personal lives to find the time (and money) to invest in ourselves.

Classroom training takes you away from your work and family, while books are harder to read and absorb, let alone have opportunities to apply the ideas within them.

Classroom training is always intensive and with a high learning curve – not to mention stressful as you try and cram in as much information as possible while competing for the tutors attention and time. Hungry and exhausted, you trudge back to your hotel for…homework assignments and more studying – OUCH!

project management trainingIf you are like me, it varies when you are in the ‘best’ frame of mind to absorb new information, annoyingly, these times seem to occur at inconvenient points in your regular work week. If you do take time off to attend classroom training there will inevitably be interruptions let alone calls and emails from questions and crisis back in the office! So you are distracted, with only half your mind and energy applied to the learning.

But what if you could have (on any of your devices – mobile, iPad or notebook for example), a set of structured easy to listen and absorb ‘how-to’ project management videos?

The Project Management Training Solution.

I have developed a wide range of project-related downloadable video training products under the PRIMER brand name. In addition, I also run project management training seminars across the world, and I am a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

Dave Litten Primers

The PRIMER Range

dave litten primers

I founded the PRINCE2 Primer product way back in 1999 to promote and provide a step-by-step downloadable high quality video approach to provide PRINCE2 Practitioner candidates with a self-study preparation for the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner exams. The PRINCE2 Primer has since been granted a License by the APM Group as the official approach to prepare for their exams.

PRINCE2 primer project management

Since that time I have created many more Primers – all specialising in downloadable, easy, step-by-step project management online training video courses.

I spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and have deep experience in project management

I believe in challenging the current way that project management training is delivered. My video training Primers are beautifully designed, simple to absorb in easy steps, and are downloaded direct to your computer.

Project Management is a life-skill.

No matter what industry you work in, no matter what position you hold. No matter what specialist skills you have acquired. Project Management knowledge, skills and experience will help you become better at your life’s chosen profession.

Most traditional ‘0ff-the-job’ project management training courses have been done in the classroom. Books may be used to supplement this, but it has been proven that face-to-face multimedia training works best in terms of the delegate absorption and their ability to apply it after the course.

The trouble is, that classroom training is expensive and intensive. It also has a very high learning curve. Add to this the fact that the individual delegate has to compete for tutor attention, and you can see how traditional classroom training has not always been effective.

This is where online training scores hands-down.

Creating high quality, high-definition, downloadable videos with clear and structured supporting documentation has been my objective since the year 1999. I call these Primers – want To Own One?

My list of available Primers covering many disciplines within project management leading to certification, grows every few months, and as I write, I am currently creating a new Agile Project Management Primer.

You can see a clickable link for each of them to the right and below.

Take Action Now – Click on a link to find out full details of each Primer.

I wish you Good Luck on advancing your project management career and salary!

dave litten

 

 

 

Want To Own One of my PRIMERS? >

CLICK ON A LINK ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE: >>>

http://www.agileprojectmanagementprimer.com 
(Prepare for your AgilePM Foundation and Practitioner exams)

http://www.prince2primer.com
(Pass your PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner exams!)

http://www.pm-primer.com
(Pass Your PMP Exam First Time!)

http://www.directingaproject.com
(Learn the art of Advanced PRINCE2 Governance)

http://www.project-management-primer.com
(Introduction to Project Management)

http://www.apmic-primer.com
(Introductory Certificate exam for the Association Of Project Management)

http://www.msproject2010primer.com
(Master MS Project 2010 – comes with PRINCE2 Project Templates!)

http://www.taskpack.com
(Hone your personal assignment skills)

 

 

Where Are The ‘bleeding edge’ Thinkers?

I’m just chewing here. I’m in the mood for a rant, and it’s a balmy 25 degrees-plus on my patio in Spain, so I have returned to the cool of my office PC…

By a sheer accident I was a teenager in Aldershot (UK) in 1958. This just so happened to coincide with the explosion of rock and roll that became the beat/pop boom of the early sixties…I was a young spotty nerd that fell in love with the guitar.

 Felix MendelssohnMy dad had an excellent collection of 78 rpm records, mostly piano and band music, but several records by  Felix Mendelssohn and his Hawaiian Serenaders. He also had the Theme From The Third Man  by Anton Karas on a guitar-sounding zither. At the tender age of ten, these were the first tunes I had ever heard where the GUITAR was the main instrument.

I was In Love.

62 stratocaster

I got my first guitar at 15 years old and practiced ’till my fingers bled…Nothing special so far.

Within 3 years of playing, I had my dream guitar, and it has never been bettered – A USA designed and built Fender Stratocaster – launched around the mid 1950’s…Leo Fender was an inventor and creator from Santa Ana California, no one in the rest of the world could come close to designing and building such an innovative product (2014 update….still can’t!)

You can see me at 18 years old playing my 1963 salmon pink Stratocaster in the picture opposite – made just 7 years after Leo first started production. Although only costing me £60 UKP (a fortune to me back then), it would probably fetch around £5000 today…Ah! nostalgia ain’t what it used to be….

Also back then, the USA had ALL the creative talent and a thriving music industry, while us post-war Brits could do nothing more than copy their creative originality…

“Before Elvis, there was nothing.” – John Lennon

I was not only a participant (which put me in the rare 1 percent), but an observer of this post-war evolution. Here’s my point.

joe walsh

Those individuals that become icons and millionaires were those that contributed to the CREATION of either tunes, beats, or styles/methods.

It is no accident that folks like John Lennon etc, wrote tunes and lyrics on the back of table napkins…their brains were wired that way. The list goes on, Knopfler, Dylan, etc. Seems to me, that there are practitioners of music (me), and then there is the upper echelon – the creators of music.

Such creators couldn’t help themselves, they were compelled to create…

Sometimes the creators don’t do the best version, yet others refine it, sometimes the reverse.

This seems to be true for any industry or profession, including my own, electronic engineering.

Many times average guys and gals reflect back on what ‘could have been’, but most times it is because they were not compelled to write stuff on a napkin, work through the night, or do 50 takes of a song until they heard the sound in their heads.

Translate that point also to any industry or profession.

David OgilvyI’m currently reading David Ogilvy, one of the finest copywriters and marketers that you will never have heard of. The words, visions and application of his craft explode with passion from within his book.

He was an American Citizen and by his name was probably either born in Scotland or had Scottish ancestry. Like many other entrepreneurs, he, along with Claude Hopkins virtually invented direct marketing.

Here was a great creator…

There are many chefs but only one Keith Floyd.

Keith Floyd

You can watch Keith’s old TV programs and imagine that you could note the ingredients and the instructions…and maybe even cook a passing resemblance to his dish.

But you could never find the energy and passion that took him to create and produce such dishes and programs that were shown and loved world-wide. He was a driven man.

Therein lies the difference. And taking a positive note, this is the extra mile that true entrepreneurs naturally energize themselves to do….

On this laid back Saturday afternoon, I understand perfectly why I was not a rich and successful ‘rock star’ but instead just have a fabulous set of my local musician and friends reminisces of great times…(I didn’t look that sexy either!)

Thank Goodness for the difference that ‘great’ has forged, verses the more commonly found ‘good’.

Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, and Hank Marvin, just to mention three, have enriched my life in ways that traditional musical education and experience could never do…Anyone, just like me could play their tunes, but we mortals could have never had the talent and vision to create them in the first place.

In my twilight years, I relish replacing time restrictions with my life passions, and return to what I am naturally good at, even if it flies in the face of what traditional ‘granddads’ should be doing…

About one year ago, I had several ideas for a revolutionary music synthesizer. I had all the schematics down apart from a small but key piece of discrete component logic circuitry. Long story cut short, I put that part up on eLance as a project since it had been some 40 years since I last designed digital logic circuits.

The responses I got spoke volumes about how modern engineers are educated these days. Almost without exception the design approaches utilized a standard microprocessor chip programmed with machine code.

Total overkill.

This, despite the fact that I emphasized that the design should use simple cheap, discrete logic components.

Oh, yes, and most projects (obviously from USA citizens),  wanted around $600 plus 30 days or more to come up with the design.

So one Saturday morning, I bit the bullet and dug out my old logic text-books, did a bit of searching on Google, and within three hours had the design down cold. I estimate it used about $20 of components, some analog, some digital.

Albert EinsteinIt was telling that the most creative project solutions for my request came from countries such as China and India.

Back in the day, it was said that ‘a degree qualification teaches you HOW to think’.

Hmm, it seems that my project request highlights the way electronic engineering is taught these days – particularly in the USA. It’s all about stuffing knowledge and passing exams. And the UK does that too….

So where were the budding John Lennon’s of electronic engineering when I needed them? Where were the sparks of original thinking and application. As rare as hen’s teeth.

Here’s my final thought.

Knowledge does NOT equal Power.

…however,

Knowledge Plus Application Equals Power.

It’s no accident that you can’t patent an idea – only the application of that idea…

If the USA (in particular) wants to regain the excellence high ground, it needs all training and educational services to include how to apply that knowledge – whatever industry such artisans ultimately choose.

push against the bleeding edgeStudents must learn how to innovate, sometimes fail a little, take risks, but whatever they do, push against the bleeding edge of our knowledge.

Oh yeah, and keep religious creationists out of science. Such buffoons bamboozle their brains with unproven circular thinking. Innovators need application – not faith.

I look at some of the magnificent exceptions to my observations, such as the NASA space program, Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, and what the USA has brought to The Free World.

If the USA education system doesn’t stop learning by rote, then my favorite country bar none, will not generate sufficient wealth to fund it’s imagination and future growth, and will ultimately whither into just a backwater set of States.

After 300 days of development, my Agile Project Management Primer has been launched!

Agile Project Management is the only approach that complements and works with PRINCE2

You can get more information on http://www.agileprojectmanagementprimer.com

Agile Project Management TrainingHi Everyone,

At Last, after 300 days in the making!

I have launched my Agile Project Management Practitioner Primer!

This is the new ‘must-have’ qualification developed in

collaboration between the APMG and the DSDM Consortium.

This new Qualification also brings Agile to the PRINCE2 Community

and is delivered via traditional classroom training.

The Official Handbook is a 174-page text-dense, size 8 font reference manual –

printed on shiny paper. Sheesh!, that’s no way to learn, and can you

afford to pay up to £2000 for premium training, YET STILL FAIL?

But now YOU can prepare well before you attend any

course – at your own pace and place!

And frankly, do you really need to take the exams?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

But just think for moment what the knowledge of setting up, managing,

and controlling an Agile project will do to your credence, credibility, and

ABILITY to make a quantum leap of such knowledge and skills ahead

of others with just TRADITIONAL project management experience?

THEY are your promotion prospects and career competition.

My Agile PM Primer consists of a comprehensive video library,

two Workbooks and a comprehensive set of Sample Foundation and

Practitioner exam questions complete with answers and

justifications. Not to mention my fast-track EXAM CRAM…

agile_master_pic

 

 

 

 

So hop on over , and check out my new AGILE PM Primer here:

http://www.agileprojectmanagementprimer.com

Agile Project ManagementYes Folks, the launch date of my Agile Project Management Primer is still to come, and right now I estimate around June 2013.

You can however, download my free Agile Project Management Overview eBook HERE! but as yet, I’m still up to my ears in recording multiple video modules for my Primer…

Now you might be asking “If you’re such a great project manager, how come the launch date is slipping?”

Fair question.

The answer is ‘priorities’

See, I’m currently in the Philippines and due to return in 4 weeks and find a new home in Spain, as you may imagine, there’s lots of priorities being snatched from my time and energy, let alone the transition into a new timezone.

Add to that, there was a new PMBOK  launched in January of this year, and the new exams come into effect on 31 July – OUCH!

My PMP Primer is also being totally re-recorded in HD to ensure you pass the new PMI syllabus

So although I’m poised to start video recording on my Agile Project Management Primer, I’m quite rightly, getting bucket-loads of emails asking when I am going to update my PMP Primer…

You may know that the Agile Methodology takes the project requirements and prioritises them using the MoSCoW technique, but unfortunately, both are ‘Must Haves’. So I’m balancing my time between doing both at once, and as the 31 July comes closer, the PMP Primer update becomes ever more vital.

The one thing you can be sure of, is that my time and energy are working flat out on both of them…I’ll keep you all posted.

Check out my latest “how-to” video for caluclating the critical path of a project – AND passing this type of question in the PMP Exam….

 

If you are looking for easy step-by-step project management online training that can be instantly downloaded onto your PC – then you’ve come to the right place!

Click on any of the button graphics to the right and find out more…

To Your Success!

If you stumbled across this article thinking that this was going to be a technical synopsis of the art of critical chain application, then you would be dead wrong.

I would rather like to think that it is a large chunk of common sense applied to an innovative technique.

You see, up until now, project managers would determine the activities, their sequences and dependencies, in the form a project schedule with the focus on the time-critical aspects.

So far so good.

But here is the thing.  This schedule was the plan, and a good project manager would track what has actually happened, compare this to the plan, and based on any variance, take corrective action and forecast the future.  This still works.

The main problem with this approach was assuming that all resources were just robotic sheep.

Whereas critical path analysis focused on task duration and their scheduled start and finish dates, critical chain method for more emphasis on the resources – those are required to execute the plan, and also their availability. 

The ‘peaking’ of resource levelling is seen as a problem, and the focus is on levelling down while being flexible in their start times while being able to quickly switch between tasks to keep the whole plan on schedule.

So far still so good.  The secret all along was something that I had already learned many years ago from smart project managers.

And that was to keep some ‘time and effort fat’ up your sleeve as a contingency in times of need.

It turns out that at the heart of critical chain is the use of ‘buffers’ in the form of extra time that is kept secret from the specialist team.

This buffer time is either added as a time-chunk at the end of the project, at the end of the stage, or at the end of a package of work.  The key is in their flexibility on start times, and their ability to quickly switch between tasks when needed to do so.

All the time, the project manager has planned in some form of buffer at key points within the plan, so that the team are working to an agreed end date, while the project manager has this buffer in terms of time and effort, to apply as and when needed.

I have simplified the description of critical chain here, but its principle remains intact.

Our brains are hard wired to find food, to reduce risk, find partners, and to survive.  As part of being human we also have a tendency to use available time to fill the tasks and activities that we need to do.  A self fulfilling prophecy if you will.

Why should projects be any different?  And the answer is that they are not.

Give a team a critical week to carry out an activity, and they will creatively find the effort to fill it. If they finish early, they will ‘gold plate’ the task to use the time available.

Seth Godin tells of the lizard brain that we all have – surrounded by the evolutionary layers that separate human kind from animals – such as lizards and chickens…

Human-kind is creative and believes that this is the secret to success. Maybe it is.

But once we get near to task completion, Lizard Brain kicks in. We thrash around and do extra stuff that stops us completing. We are wired this way, and it gets in the way of success.

I guess we would not need critical chain if we could stifle Lizard Brain from mouthing off…

So, I celebrate critical chain, not from the perspective of the brilliant mind that thought it up, but rather to celebrate the pragmatic thinking that lay behind it…

I was surfing Google the other day, and ended up looking at discussions on the ‘next big thing’ in project management. Turns out that the world of quality has its fair share of gurus with the likes of Demming and Juran, but the world of projects does less well – Henry Gantt is about the only one that comes to mind…

But what piqued my interest was a statement not pointed directly about projects at all.

It talked about the need for a generally transferrable organizational model for projectizing work. It was something I had dabbled with years ago, but had not fully nailed down…

My subconscious must have picked up on this, because I awoke very early for several mornings thinking about how that could come about. I did some research, and found out  that although a typical organization might have a handful of high visibility projects, it also had a whopping 90% of its enterprise success coming from simple personal assignments given to individuals just like you.

This type of thing, “Dave come into my office for a moment, I’ve got something I want you to take a shot at”. Maybe you’ve been asked to write a report, give a presentation, resolve some operational problem or prepare for a special event. Whatever.

These are certainly not projects, but you know full well that the equation:

Your Career = Assignment Success is at play here….

Goof it up and your reputation and career are lower than the stomach contents of a whale.

It doesn’t matter what your job or position is within an organization – you’ll get assignments at many points in your professional life – do them right and you’ll become the Assignment Hero!

Over a period of two weeks sweat, blood and toil, I knew I had found and developed it – a universal model for projectizing work assignments. I harnessed a tailored and simplified version of the framework and controls that projects used, but one which will bring success to any personal assignment, and I named it TaskPack. It takes just moments to apply and is an easy to follow step-by-step system.

It will put you ahead of the pack and turn you into the ‘go-to guy or gal’ – the person who gets things done and delivers every time.

You can find the result and see how it works HERE

 

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