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Michelle Symonds
Michelle Symonds spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in SEO.

Reading, UK. 04 July 2012: An elite group of project managers from IFS, a major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) company, gathered recently at their UK headquarters in High Wycombe to embark on an exclusive, tailored training programme specifically designed to enable these international project managers to better deliver complex global projects with a common approach and a common working culture.

The 31 participants, comprising the top 10% of the organisation’s project managers, came from as far afield as Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. The aim of this bespoke training course was to develop the exceptional leadership qualities needed to manage increasingly global, multi-cultural projects for blue-chip clients in the Retail, Oil & Gas, Utilities and Telecoms sectors, often involving implementations in several countries and continents.

IFS project managers are one of the most important assets of the company, delivering customer needs in a fully integrated way, which is a key differentiator of the service offered by IFS compared with its competitors. The investment by IFS in this course represents their commitment to further developing their global capability to deliver complex projects.  Project Managers are responsible for the full implementation of IFS Applications™, including customised elements of ERP and end-user training. They include those with extensive hand-on experience as well as APM and PRINCE2 qualified project managers. However, the training program developed for them by Parallel Project Training used the Project Management Institute (PMI) Body of Knowledge (BOK) as a framework because these are more globally recognised best practise guidelines, which are easily adaptable to different regions and different cultures. Salient points from the PMBOK were used to demonstrate certain ideas and develop a common project management language amongst the course participants.

Whilst professional standards and competence in formal project management was expected, the aim of the training program was not to teach a project management methodology but simply use it to allow for realistic case studies. The bespoke Parallel Project Training course was designed, in close collaboration with IFS, to provide “real world” training to develop the leadership qualities that the project managers could immediately apply to real, complex international projects. And provide the techniques needed to deal with complex customer issues in a professional manner. The training program used extensive role play in a detailed case study to simulate typical, challenging project scenarios.

As Steve Boreham, Services Process Director at IFS, commented, “We chose Parallel Project Training because they completely understood our working culture and objectives and wanted to offer us practical skills not theoretical knowledge. Paul and John listened to our brief, showed initiative and did not try and sell us something we didn’t need. They proved to be consummate professionals when it came to delivery, and their style of engagement has resulted in an internal project management forum called ‘Ask Charlie’; Charlie being the IFS project manager in the role play conducted on the course!”

Paul Naybour, Business Development Director of Parallel Project Training remarked “The brief from IFS to deliver a behavioural and leadership development course for 31 delegates from 20 countries was very challenging but their commitment to collaborative working helped to make this training programme a real success. I am delighted that the feedback has been extremely positive and I look forward to the next running of the course.”

About IFS

IFS is a public company (OMX STO: IFS) founded in 1983 that develops, supplies and implements IFS Applications™, a component-based extended ERP suite built on SOA technology. IFS focuses on industries where any of four core processes are strategic: service & asset management, manufacturing, supply chain and projects. The company has 2,000 customers and is present in approximately 60 countries with 2,800 employees in total. Net revenue in 2011 was SKr 2.6 billion.

About Parallel Project Training

Parallel Project Training was founded in 2009 by John Bolton and Paul Naybour and is supported by a pool of associates, advisers and consultants. Paul’s background is in the management of rail and infrastructure projects, leading major training programmes for many of the key players in the rail and transportation sector.  In addition to rail experience, John has a strong pedigree in major programmes in the software and services sectors along with significant involvement in the management and development of professional project managers. Both are very highly experienced project management professionals, each having over ten years experience as project management development professionals.  Parallel Project Training is based in Reading and offers a highly innovative approach to project management training.


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