Managing By Project with Davis & Dean

Managing By Project with Davis & Dean

Practical project management experience is difficult to gain in a classroom. Ideally, we would like our project management teams to have prior experience however, this is not always possible.

Davis & Dean, project management training experts, have developed Managing By Project (MBP), an extensive workshop where students are able to navigate through online project management scenarios, combining both the science and art of project management.

i-Fundi has partnered with Davis & Dean to give students a holistic training experience when completing their Project Management NQF 5 qualification. The three-day workshop is built into the 12 month programme where students take the concepts and principles taught and put them into practice.

MBP is a simulation of actual management processes programmed in artificial intelligence allowing participants a complete, realistic experience. Projects unfold differently based on each learner’s decisions upon randomised situations. Learners have a realistic experience applying the principles of project management.

The MBP workshop achieves the following outcomes:

  1. Core Skills Integration: –
    Integration of leading, managing and team work as learnable soft skills that each student develops.

    • Leadership: Building strong relationship with relevant stakeholders to later leverage off;
    • Management: Planning, organising and controlling project approach with a time-phased and task-oriented approach;
    • Teamwork: Introduction to science of teamwork and develop teamwork skills for a high-performance team.
  2. Project Fundamentals: –
    Fundamental project planning tools.

    • Project definition: defining the scope of work;
    • Task List: tasks to achieve project objectives;
    • Work breakdown structure: List of tasks are grouped or ordered;
    • PERT: Relationships between the tasks are defined and the critical path found;
    • Gantt: project timeline developed from PERT diagram, start to finish.
  3. Analytical Techniques: –
    Applying analytical techniques during the iterative process of planning, executing and monitoring and control to overcome project deficits and take advantage of opportunities.
  4. Stakeholder Plan:
    Identifying stakeholders and their interest and influence to develop a stakeholder plan which then is implemented through workplace simulation.
  5. Communication Plan:
    Developed alongside stakeholder plan, followed through project implementation.
  6. Human Resource Planning: –
    Ensure optimal usage of available resources through a levelling exercise.
  7. Financial Plan: –
    The human resource plan together with additional budgetary items are developed into a financial plan using a bottom up and top down process.
  8. Project Implementation: –
    Planning reports are generated, results analysed and control tools updated on a weekly basis.
  9. Project Reporting: –
    Effective project reporting from task managers to projects teams, thereon to management.
  10. Project Controls: –
    Additional control tools are introduced for maximum effect.
  11. Risk Management and Contingency Planning: –
    Integrating risk management and contingency planning exercise.
  12. Project Management and Leadership: –
    Level, timing and influence of management and leadership principles.
  13. Project Monitoring and Control: –
    Key Performance Indicators established are used in managing the monitoring and control processes.
  14. Project Closure: –
    Complete necessary administrative duties and prepare final project report.

QCTO and the coming changes to the skills development landscape

In an effort to understand the imminent changes in the skills development landscape, i-Fundi were fortunate to host Vijayen Naidoo, Chief Director of Occupational Quality Assurance at the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) on Friday, 29 July as part of our monthly Community of Experts workshop series.

The QCTO is one of three Quality Councils – alongside the Council for Higher Education and Umalusi – established in 2010 in terms of the Skills Development Act. As per the Act, the QCTO is responsible for establishing and maintaining occupational standards and qualifications. Occupational standards specify what a person should know and do in order to effectively carry out the functions of a particular job. They form the key components of a QCTO qualification and should be industry driven.

“The overall vision of the QCTO is to qualify a skilled and capable workforce. We need to find a balance between skills, job creation and a credentials shortage in South Africa” Naidoo stressed. He revealed that, in terms of the White Paper on Post School Education and training, the QCTO is required to take over the Quality Assurance functions for trades and occupations previously conducted by the Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) through their ETQA divisions. This is the 2018 vision.

Naidoo noted that one of the key challenges for the QCTO is to simplify the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). He gave an example where there are currently multiple electrician qualifications registered by various SETAs that are not portable across industries, whereas the ideal is to have one qualification with specialisation options for employment in various sectors. Streamlining and reducing the number of qualifications registered on SAQA is one of the tasks facing his team.

Another challenge the QCTO has to deal with is integrating two different qualification systems, historically registered qualifications and the new QCTO occupational qualifications. The QCTO will need to align these two systems, which is labour intensive. However, this realignment of qualifications remains at the top of the QCTO priority list.

Participants were interested to know what changes can be expected in the new skills development landscape, post-2018. In summary:

  1. The role of the QCTO is to oversee the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF).
  1. Qualification design and development will be managed by Development Quality Partners, with input from industry through Communities of Expert Practice (CEPs). “By industry for industry” is a key concept driving the new approach to skills development. Industry is actively encouraged to get involved in the qualification development process to ensure the relevance of the qualification.
  1. Assessment Quality Partners (AQPs), comprised of industry experts, will be formed by the QCTO. One of their key functions will be to develop, organise and implement final External Integrated Summative Assessments (EISA) for qualifications within their scope.
  1. EISA will be a national, external, standardised assessment system, replacing the final summative assessment currently in place, where competency must be proven to receive a national certificate.
  1. Qualifications will comprise three components: Knowledge, Practical and Workplace, with a minimum of 20% for each component, depending on the requirements of the qualification.
  1. Learning modules will replace unit standards, as modules are more substantive, allowing for better integration, portability and transferability.
  1. Fundamental Learning Components [FLC] replace fundamental unit standards for qualifications at NQF levels 3-4.
  1. There will be two entry points onto an occupational qualification, either through the workplace, or via an accredited skills development provider.

Naidoo made a telling remark regarding learnerships, internships and apprenticeships. In a recent visit to Germany to look at their ‘dual system’ for apprenticeships, he was impressed that industry there did not see formal occupational skills development as a burden, but rather a fundamental component of their success and ability to grow talent. He suggested that South African employers could learn from this approach.

Attendants were happy to hear that Recognition of Prior Learning remains an integral part of the new qualification framework and that RPL learners will write the same EISA as a route to competence.

According to Naidoo, the 2018 SETA landscape transition is an ongoing process in which the Minister of Higher Education and Training will make a determination. Meanwhile, preparations are in full swing for the QCTO to assume its role and responsibilities in the new skills development environment.

Managing Team Performance for Exceptional Results

Successful team leaders need to know how to manage their team’s performance effectively, so that the team and the organization achieve the best results possible, this is according to Beth Miller. 


group linking hands with each other

An ongoing process of objectively reviewing the work of team members individually and the team overall is fundamental to managing team performance.

One thing to consider before you begin to evaluate your team is that 100 percent objectivity isn’t always possible.

However, leaders can do two things to strive for objectivity:

  1. Practice and encourage open communication among everyone , and
  1. See the whole picture rather than limiting themselves to a narrow point of view.

To put it simply, managing team performance is about identifying where the team is performing well and where it needs to improve and adjust. Some organizations use computers for managing performance while others are less technical. Research has shown both ways to work about the same; what really matters is that performance is evaluated in some way.

Whatever method leaders use to measure performance, they must be consistent for everyone and develop a common language for discussing and recording the way things are going and what has been done. Doing this ensures that all team members are focused on achieving the best performance and gaps in performance can be spotted early so that action can be taken to improve.

What not to do when measuring team performance

Most team leaders try to manage team performance to some degree. Here are some of the most common mistakes made for you to avoid with your teams.

  • not establishing expectations and goals when the team is formed;
  • not consistently following up throughout the process and not establishing a schedule for regular review;
  • not establishing individual performance plans;
  • not documenting performance in a systematic way;
  • not holding people accountable for their responsibilities;
  • not retaining objective data to measure performance; and
  • not rewarding the good performance of the team and of individuals.

7 Step process for measuring team performance

In his book, How to Measure the Results of Work Teams, Jack Zigon presents a seven step process for measuring team performance.

Following these steps will prevent many of the mistakes mentioned above.

  1. Review the existing organizational measures with the team.
  2. Define team measurement points that will identify milestone accomplishments.
  3. Identify individual team member accomplishments that support the team.
  4. Agree to the importance of each accomplishment.
  5. Develop team and individual performance measures.
  6. Develop team and individual performance standards.
  7. Decide how to track performance.

In my previous work with teams I have added a pre-step to #1 and that is to clearly define the goal of the team and make sure that the team members are aligned with the goal.

Managing team performance is important to the success of the team and a company. If everyone is focused on the right things, then the team will have exceptional results.

For more information, visit: Executive Street, The Business Leader’s Resource: http://blog.vistage.com/

Visit our website to view the qualifications we have on offer.



Financial year-end learnership specials

Is your company on track to meet its BBBEE and WSP targets for Skills Development this financial year-end? It’s not too late to boost your scorecard and build talent by enrolling staff on learnerships now.

i-Fundi offers over 15 accredited qualifications and 100 short courses that cover the most common technical skills needed by business. Programmes can be run in-house, or at our centrally-located campus, commencing in April.

We invite you to take a look at some of our popular qualifications and contact us to discuss discounted year-end rates and getting started.

National Certificate: Business Administration NQF4

Admin New Size

Every business needs an efficient team of office administrators to provide support on projects and business tasks. The role of an office administrator in an organization is significant because they ensure that senior staff can work efficiently and effectively.

Empowering your admin team with this professional qualification helps them to:

  • Deal with customers
  • Manage service providers
  • Deal with fraud
  • Control stock and fixed assets and much more

Read more

National Certificate: Project Management NQF4 


The project management approach has become an important part of running the modern economy. It is used extensively in business, construction, engineering, manufacturing, the public sector, the military and NGO’s to plan, manage, control and evaluate projects.

This qualification provides a solid grounding in the theory and practice of project management to improve the quality of your organisations key programmes.
Read more

National Certificate: Generic Management NQF4

Transformation V5

Are your managers operating at peak performance? Effective management is the cornerstone of any thriving business. People get promoted into managerial positions because they excel at what they do, but often they have not received adequate training in the principles of management, including delegation, communication and leadership. Lack of these critical skills can lead to stress and poor personal and business performance. Through this qualification, your senior staff gain skills to:

  • Comprehend the principles of management
  • Set goals and make the right decision
  • Lead people to success
  • Communicate effectively
  • Motivate individuals and teams  

Read more

About i-Fundi

i-Fundi is a private Further Education and Training institute, registered with Umalusi and the Services Seta. i-Fundi is a Level 2 Certified Contributor  in terms of the BBBEE scorecard rating. We offer end-to-end learnership management services for business wanting to up-skill existing staff, or train new-hires. Having managed nearly 10,000 learners for some of South Africa’s leading companies, we have the skills to help you succeed. 

For more information about our programmes, or how to implement learnerships in your organisation, contact Reggie Leseane: reggie@i-fundi.com, or telephone 0861 678 882 / 011 290 5900.

A helping hand goes a long way!

There is a saying by James Keller which says, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”.

Siphiwe Ngwenya (23) is a prime example of a young man who has risen above the challenges he’s faced in life, not solely of his own doing, but through the care and help of several guiding hands.

After graduating with an NCV certificate, Ngwenya was faced with a financial stumbling block, which meant his hopes of enrolling to a higher education institution were somewhat derailed.

He chose to remain undefeated by the predicament, and applied for what would be his first job, in 2012 at a UTI Warehouse. It was through this opportunity which the young man heard about African Bank’s learnerships.

“The turning point in my life was when I actually completed my 12 months learnership via I-Fundi Customer Solutions and became permanently employed by African Bank as supervisor, from being a consultant”, he says.

“When I think of people who have shaped my life, outside of my mother, I think of a woman called Ros Rome, who worked as a facilitator at i-Fundi. I admired Rome’s work ethic, and the woman encouraged me to have a target driven mentality. I have carried what she taught me to this day”, he says.

“I looked up to my facilitator because she believed in my abilities and made me believe that I could achieve- and so I did”, he continues.

African Bank’s Learnership Manager, Karmini Pillay (28) has been employed at African Bank for five years.

Pillay, in her position as Learnership Manager recognises the importance of being a mentor to the pupils, as she herself was groomed by another to finally take up the position of Learnership Manager and facilitator.

“I had a wonderful mentor whom I admired deeply and will forever be indebted to”, she explains. That woman was so strong, yet soft – in a motherly and nurturing manner. Her name is Esmë Britz. She absolutely changed my life and career path, as I became her successor when she left the post”, she says.

“At African Bank, learnerships have become entrenched in the company as the only way in which we recruit our employees”, says Pillay.

Pillay says that African Bank launched the unemployed learnership programme in 2011 and it has been a, major success. “Not only do learnerships lower the company’s attrition rates, and contribute to the unemployment rate in the country at large, the very good news is that – of the pupils who go through our learnerships, we have recorded an average of 77% hire rate through the years”, she says.

“I love the fact that as a company, we are invested in community growth. Learnerships are not just an easy way to increasing our BEE scorecard, – to the contrary. We implement strategies which will shape the future of South Africa. Beyond that, I love waking up knowing that I will be a mentor- a positive guide in someone else’s life”, she concludes.


Stand a chance to win a bursary with i-Fundi!

i-Fundi would like to offer a learnership bursary to one deserving person. You are invited to submit a motivational letter of no more than 350 words, motivating why you should be awarded the opportunity to be placed in a learnership with one of the host employers in our database.

Three lucky winners will be announced and placed in a 12 month learnership. The announcement will be made on Monday, August 31, 2015. i-Fundi staff will be in contact with the three winners who best motivated their reasons why they should be selected as winners.

Email the motivational letter to: nyeleti@i-fundi.com.