[MBA] Case Study : Project Management And Next Steps At HP

[MBA] Case Study : Project Management And Next Steps At HP

When Hewlett-Packard's (HP's) Services division decided to focus more on external IT consulting, Ron Kempf, the director of project management competency and certification at HP, brought together the firm's various stakeholders to conduct a needs assessment to determine what type of training would be needed to achieve the new goal.  HP's decision to expand its consulting and integration business meant that 2,500 client-focused project managers and support staff around the world would need to improve their skills. 

Based on the cost of training and the resources it could provide, ESI International was chosen to train Kempf's division so employees could achieve the "project management professional” designation.  The designation has become a standard in the industry, and clients ask for the certification when requesting project bids.  As a result, HP needed its project managers to be certified in order for the company to be competitive. Kempf worked with ESI to provide training in various formats in order to meet the needs of the worldwide workforce. The training methods included using HP's knowledge management system, networking participants so they could learn from each other, e-learning, self-paced instruction, and formal training conducted at a "project management” university. 

The training initiative, which has been refined as needed over the years, has been very successful.  Kempf credits it with boosting HP's profit margins and keeping projects within budget.  Now, however, HP needs to decide on the "next steps” to ensure that it doesn't lose its competitive edge since many other companies have the same certifications for their project managers. Also, about 20% of the first group of employees who were trained will retire in five years.

Answer the following questions by applying the concepts learned in Chapter 8. Also, conduct literature reviews on the subject of discussion and use to support your case study answers:

  1. Discuss the role that a needs assessment played in planning the training program for project management staff.
  2. What are the issues HP now faces? What role, if any, will training need to play in addressing those issues?
  3. How would you begin the process of creating a new training plan? Who should be involved? What would be the desired outcome of this training?
  4. HP is a very large company.  How might the planning process for training be different if HP were a much smaller company?


Hewlett-Packard (HP) attempted to make its company competitive on market by receiving certification at HP. An assessment called between various stakeholders suggested expand consulting and integration to focus benefit of clients. Some employees are selected to achieve "Project Management Professional" by taking training and certification. Training is conducted using KMS (Knowledge Management System) from HP, distance learning and instruction of formal training focusing particular section for skill enhancing. They wished to see effectiveness of training measuring performance of employee. HP wish to achieve competitive advantage over other competitors. But the challenge is that 20% of trained employees are retiring in next 5 years so they want to initiative "next steps" in the company to ensure of not losing market position. (Lepak & Gowan, 2010)

Need assessment in planning training program

Need assessment is first step for effective training process that will boost employees' competency and achieve competitive advantage over other companies. Company should analyse whether employees have required prequalification or not. The director Ron Kempf decides running an assessment to find employees competencies on job. Need assessment finds gap of knowledge they have and they need. The company decides that their managers who are responsible for handling clients need training for performance improvement.

Need assessment plays role in identifying importance of training and the priorities. Need assessment detects who are in need of training, and type of training they need. Need assessment plays role in finding competencies which is to be improved. There are different training methods among which need assessment decides to choose best one. The methods be Job Training, E-learning, and Procedural Manual. With assessment test HP decides using KMS, Self-Placed, instruction and formal training conduction. Need assessment helps estimate effectiveness of training program and expected outcomes.

Issues on HP and roles to address issues

Need assessment shows need of training for supporting staffs for skill improvement. They hired an ESI agency who trains employees receiving "Project Management Professional" certifying course that can deliver needed technical support in market. The main issue is all competitors are also using same certified training management system. So HP need think differently to achieve comparative advantage. Other issue on HP is that 20% of those trained employees are retiring soon letting the skilled position empty. It means HP should plan for Job Rotation and train new employees too. So company should choose employees who are in need of training and the process training is to be conducted. Company should perform task analysis that helps finding gaps between knowledge.

Training plan creation, involvement and desired outcome

Training process determines type of training, trainer, time and place of training. Manger should have clear objective and goal for training plan. Training plan specifies needed competencies achievement for a defined time period. Training being provided is to be focused on company objectives. Training session is followed by need assessment, design, implementation and evaluating those results.

In HP Company the new managers who are not trained already are in need of training. So that the gap created by going manpower is fulfilled. Company might face lagging with competitors if the manpower are not fulfilled soon after aged professional retirement. The training session will remove possible threats of frustration on management and staffs too.

Training process on larger and smaller companies

In smaller companies small number of employees are known to each other well and they know others competencies, easier to find who is in need of training. HP company in given case is large having thousands of people involved on it worldwide. It's hard to find the ability of employees and possible improvement for them. Resources need for conducting training on large company is very high as compared to smaller one. For small companies selecting few employees would count high on percentage of participation but for large one the figure would be very low. Large companies have separate department for training and skill improvement, they could hire consultant before conducting training but for smaller one they could have only few trainers hired for market for conducting training session. In larger companies the coverage being wide is not possible to move same training group or trained employees for training other part but for small companies' managers take training from outside and train remaining lower level or co-workers.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In the given case director Rom Kempf conducts need assessment on managers needing training. The large volume of mangers are seeking for certification "Project Management Professional". Training methods followed on HP includes participatory interaction as well as e-learning, self-paced instruction formal sittings etc. The company should make clear vision on "Next Step" to be taken. HP company on other hand need cross cultural training to address problem prevailing on workplace. Company having large number of mangers in need of training should conduct training dividing employees into groups rather than on single. So that training session become more interactive and efficient.



Lepak, D., & Gowan, M. (2010).  Human resource management: Training and Development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall

Zeromillion.com,. (2015). 4. Employee Training and Development . Retrieved 4 October 2015, from http://www.zeromillion.com/business/personnel/employee-training.html