You are here: Home / Communications / News / The Art of Project Management: Doing It Right and Having Fun

The Art of Project Management: Doing It Right and Having Fun

Faculty member and lifelong teacher, Marguerite Langlois, MEd, shares her wisdom on project management in NWCPHP's Summer Institute and Management Certificate.
The Art of Project Management: Doing It Right and Having Fun

Langlois teaching at the 2012 Summer Institute

Faculty member and lifelong teacher, Marguerite Langlois, MEd, shares her wisdom on project management in NWCPHP's Summer Institute and Management Certificate.

April 25, 2013

Marguerite Langlois, MEd, is a natural teacher with nearly a lifetime of experience. Her first classroom was around the campfire where she taught outdoor skills to kids as a junior camp counselor. Since then she has trained others in instructional design, healthy aging, small business management, spiritual development, and retirement planning. She has worked in community, business, and college settings.

Langlois is semi-retired now but says she cannot give up teaching because “it’s too much fun.”  She brings that same enthusiasm to her class at the Summer Institute for Public Health Practice.

Langlois teaches the project management portion of the Systems and Strategies in Public Health Management course and provides strategies to help anyone struggling with a current project or starting a new one at their agency. She explains: “My teaching style is highly interactive. I don’t lecture. I give people practical information and then help them practice the skills in class.”

According to Langlois, rushing through the preparations is the biggest pitfall of project management. Her course helps people step back and see the whole picture before they begin. Her motto is: “Use time up front to save time later.”

“We often skip this initial step because we get busy, not because we’re bad at our jobs. But, if we pin down exactly what we want to accomplish in the beginning, we’ll save time in the end,” she says.

Langlois begins by asking people to consider the problems they are experiencing and the goals they want to achieve. She says goal setting is particularly difficult for public health professionals because they "want to do it all" and must often consider a wide range of external factors. Her course offers hands-on activities to help practitioners visualize multiple factors and prioritize them.

For Langlois, refining goals, planning resources, and considering the risks are all part of the fun of bringing a project to life. Over the years she has coached a variety of public health project managers on topics such as asthma control, rural water quality, and applying data collection for project implementation. She says strategies for managing projects with diminished staff capacity are also a hot topic.

Attending the 2013 Summer Institute is the perfect opportunity to pick up those important management techniques, which Langlois considers life skills that can be applied broadly. This course emphasizes thinking through and applying the basic procedures and processes of project management, and learning how to manage the “people part” of projects like engaging stakeholders and leading teams.

Langlois considers the Summer Institute “a learning retreat with a rich mix of people” and encourages participants to “join the community and get a new perspective on our problems.” Best of all, she says, “it’s a lot of fun.” Registration for Systems and Strategies in Public Health Management is now open. Enroll today to learn project management skills for all aspects of work and life.

Related content
Public Health Management Certificate

STORY TO SHARE?

We love public health stories! We feature them in our postcard series, Spotlight on the Field, and news items. Please contact us to share your story!