Project Road Training helps folks advance in their careers by providing project management training. We focus in particular on teaching PMP exam prep. We are a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P. #4338) and we have held this status for coming up on three years now.
What makes us unique?
The positive side of us being a small company is that you know exactly who your instructor will be: Bill Baxter. This is valuable because the capability of the instructor will absolutely make or break the course experience. Our students are always happy with their course experience. Many positive course reviews can be found here.
Our Founder & Chief Instructor
Our founder and chief instructor: Bill Baxter
Bill has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University. He worked in the aerospace defense industry for nine years, doing stress and vibration analysis of flight-weight hardware at Pratt & Whitney; General Dynamics; Hughes Aircraft Space & Communications; Bell Helicopter. After business school, he worked in the IT industry: Product marketing at Anixter; Sales Engineering at MCI; Engineering Design as Telecommunications Practice Lead at OWP/P (an A&E firm now part of Cannon Design); and Data Center Strategic Planning at UBS AG. Project management was an overlay skill that Bill applied in many of his different roles.
Bill cares deeply about the long-term career success of his students, and delivering value toward that end.
For an overview of our training materials see this brief video
For a sample of Bill at the whiteboard, see this lesson on the Point of Total Assumption (PTA).
Agile Project Management
We are fascinated with the promise of 'Agile' and of 'Lean Startup' and continue to study these concepts and techniques. Bill has been on a quest for the past several years to identify the elements of 'Agile' that can and should be embraced within 'traditional' or 'classical' project management. We were way ahead of the curve when PMI embraced 'Agile' within the 6th edition of The PMBOK® Guide. This enabled us to address 'Agile' competently in our updated course materials, as we aligned them to the 6th edition of The PMBOK® Guide.
We enjoy working with US Military veterans and are actively involved in the PMI military liaison program, including especially the Black Diamond Charities (BDC) partnership with the Chicagoland chapter of PMI.
Bill speaks to each Transition Assistance Program class at Naval Station Great Lakes (NSGL) to present project management as a useful skill -- or potential career path -- for service members planning their transition from military service into the civilian workforce.
Bill also volunteers as a mentor for Veterans who are interested in project management and in getting their PMP certification, through several other channels, including a LinkedIn group called Veteran Mentor Network, a mentoring portal called Veterati, a networking group called Roll Call Chicagoland. Through this activity Bill increases his understanding of the challenges Veterans face during their transition from the Military, which enables him to help them more effectively.
How We Roll:
Bill spends his 'free time' studying news, emerging trends and lines of thought related to project management, learning theory and memory science so as to be able to continuously enhance his course materials.
We are in business to make money because we need to pay the bills... but we are really here to be the very best that we can be at what we do, and to help our students advance in their careers. Their successes become our successes, and give us our greatest satisfaction.
We do not seek or accept job placement referral fees.
We are not a staffing firm.
Our business is training our students. We want to help them advance in their careers.
We want to maintain transparency and avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Students can be sure we put their interest first — that we are not trying to make a buck off of placing them with one employer over another.
Recruiters can be sure that when we recommend a student, it is because we believe in that student.
Employers can be sure that we will not direct a student or former student to another employer in the quest for referral fees. We have never accepted referral fees, and we never will.
Sometime it pays to paint bright lines and stay within them.
History of How Our Course Materials Were Developed
Bill has been teaching PMP Exam Prep in the form of a weekly study group for over seven years now. The result of conducting all these study groups is that Bill obtained a whole lot of deep practice working with students over long periods of time — months instead of just four or five days of class.
Through this deep practice and rich feedback, Bill gradually developed a PMP Exam Prep course from the bottom-up. He started with schedule network diagrams and earned value management — the two areas where almost everyone needs a boost up the learning curve. He refined these modules as he searched for ever more effective ways to get the concepts across to students. Some of the students having the most difficulty with the concepts pushed Bill hardest, leading to some of the most valuable innovations in his course materials, like the clearly defined scenarios in his treatment of earned value management.
Gradually Bill added additional course material, always aiming for the next most-important concept that needed to be conveyed. With weekly feedback from study group sessions, he refined the flow of how the class sessions were conducted. Lecture was added before practice questions, to prime students to handle the practice questions better. The sequence of practice questions was refined, and eventually all the practice questions were replaced with new ones written by Bill to better reinforce important concepts and surface certain material that was not included in the lecture because it could be taught better through example. The dynamics of how practice questions were conducted and discussed was refined, resulting in an artifact which has become a key part of our class experience which we call ‘poker cards’.
No Forced Marches Here
Bill then instructed over a dozen 4-day boot camp classroom sessions for another company, where he was permitted to use his own course materials. Glowing feedback from students provided Bill with additional confirmation that the course he'd created was valuable and even energizing -- where so many 4-day boot camp classes can feel like a forced march into an energy-sapping stream from a fire hose. Only after this confirmation did we go through the process to become a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.)
Result: students who have previously taken other courses tell us that our lectures are very unique and particularly helpful.
Relevance in the Real World
During class, the moment a student gets the feeling that the endeavor is only about getting the PMP certification, the whole endeavor begins to feel like a pointless waste of time and energy. Bill realized that students need a sense of purpose — a belief that the PMI framework for project management can indeed help them in their work. So, while Bill is focused like a laser on helping students prepare for the PMP exam, he realized that he needed to constantly strive for a resonance with work in the real world. Through the design of practice questions, and through what is said in lectures and discussion, drawing clear parallels to the work environments faced by the students has become a key strategy to maximize relevance. This is critical to maximizing student engagement and learning during class, and to motivation during subsequent study.