Within a year of accepting a new position as a junior program officer with the Project Management Office (PMO) at a public institution, Pierre was asked to schedule a meeting with his manager Marla in order to review his career training plan (CTP). The CTP is a contract between the employer and the employee outlining expected work objectives, competencies required for further development, workplace skills, learning objectives and a developmental learning plan for a five-year career path. When Pierre was hired, it was explained to him that every new employee in the PMO is eligible for up to $1,500 per year for training related to professional development. He was looking forward to his meeting with his manager to request approval for an upcoming course on operations and control in project management. The topics covered in the course were important for his current position and would allow him to further develop his understanding of processes and procedures related to the projects he worked on. Not only is the course necessary for Pierre to carry out his work duties, but it would also be beneficial for his future career goals.

The Meeting with the Manager

Pierre: Manager: Pierre:

Good morning Marla, how are you today?
Very well, and you Pierre? How are you enjoying your new projects at PMO?

Overall, they are great. However, I do need to improve my analytical skills in processes and procedures. Do you remember some of the challenges we faced at the development stages of our last project? I believe we had briefly discussed them before as a team. In fact, since we are here to review my CTP today, I would like to talk to you about the possibility of attending a training course in project management offered in July.

1 GiovannaStortiisaffiliatedwithLaCite´colle´giale,Ottawa,Canada.
2 AbderrahmanHassiisaffiliatedwithAlgonquinCollege,Ottawa,Canada.

© HEC Montre´al 2010
All rights reserved for all countries. Any translation or alteration in any form whatsoever is prohibited.
This case is intended to be used as the framework for an educational discussion and does not imply any judgement on the administrative situation presented.
Deposited with the HEC Montre´al Centre for Case Studies, 3000, chemin de la Co^te-Sainte-Catherine, Montre´al (Que´bec) Canada H3T 2A7.



Manager: Pierre:




Pierre: Manager:

We’ll get to that in a moment Pierre. Let’s begin with the review of your CTP. I see here you have clearly outlined the expected work objectives and the measures you intend to take to best meet them for your current EC-03 position. However, we still need you to explain in greater detail how you intend to demonstrate that these results will be achieved.

No problem, Marla. I will note them down in more detail and send you an updated CTP by the end of the day. Could we briefly discuss the section about the Career Training Plan?

Sure, I was about to move on to that part.

Since I faced some challenges with the previous project we worked on, I would like to enhance my skills in project management by attending a workshop. As a matter of fact, I was recently informed that a renowned professor from abroad would be giving an intensive workshop on operations and planning over the summer at a local university. I believe this would be an optimal opportunity for me to improve my knowledge of processes and procedures. The workshop is scheduled for the second week of July and only costs $850. Marla, would I be able to register for the workshop as part of my CTP learning objective?

Unfortunately Pierre, there is absolutely no way that you could be absent for an entire week in July! It wouldn’t be a problem for half a day or one whole day but not an entire week! We need you here over the summer, especially since most of the team including myself will be on vacation. If I remember correctly, you already took your vacation in the spring. Were you not aware of our summer schedule? Unfortunately, it will not be feasible for that duration, Pierre.

Yes Marla, but this is an important opportunity for the professional development of my career. Isn’t that consistent with the spirit of the CTP? Besides, it’s only early May and there is still plenty of time to make any necessary arrangements for someone else to cover my tasks at PMO for that one specific week. It also tends to be slow in July and August anyway.

The team has already confirmed their vacation and there is nothing that I can do at this point. And regarding funding for the course, are you aware that all requests are subject to budgetary allocations and there is no more money in this year’sbudget for PMO employee training? The yearly quota has already been spent!

I wasn’t aware about those details, but I thought all staff had access to $1,500 for training and development. I haven’t used any funding since I started with the PMO.

Yes, but as you’re aware, other members of our team had urgent and significant training needs at the beginning of our new national project and we had to send them on various courses. The budget allocations for our division have already been spent for this fiscal year.

Access to Training: Between Time Constraints and Budget Restrictions

© HEC Montre´al


Access to Training: Between Time Constraints and Budget Restrictions


Manager: Pierre:

Manager: Pierre:



After Pierre’s CTP review meeting with his manager, he went back to his cubicle, discouraged and disappointed at professional training and development prospects in his new working environment. He reflected on what appeared to be an unfair practice and was determined to schedule a meeting with the director, particularly because he just wasn’t accustomed to this way of doing things. In fact, when he was working as a financial analyst for a multinational firm, access to training for employees at all ranks was not limited at all. Employees at the company would even receive the approval by email without having to meet with management. Pierre sent an email to the director and Marla to schedule a meeting regarding the unjust nature of the practices related to employee access to training in the PMO division.

Questions ; the answers of the questions should be 400 word in total

  1. What do you think about the way Marla handled the issue?

  2. Is Pierre’s request valid and justified?

  3. What should Pierre do now?

  4. If you were the director, how would you approach the situation?

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