The only Project Management course you’ll ever need



What’s so special about this course?

The short answer is that it results in behaviour change.

This is the reason why ten, fifteen, twenty years after having attended the course, we receive emails from people that begin with words such as “Hi Fergus – About 10 years ago I attended your workshop as part of a Product Management diploma in DIT. It was the most practical project management course I ever had, and it has really helped me.”

Or this one:

“I have been using Fergus O’Connell’s project management methodology for over 20 years. I have used it on small projects, I have used it on big projects, I have used it on massive projects where the stakes exceeded $1B. It works. To me, Fergus has developed a system that doesn’t fail so long as you follow some very simple steps. I bow in honor of the man who helped make my career and my reputation for getting hard stuff done.”

– Kevin Barrett, SVP & CIO, Elan Corporation (retired)

Or this one:

“I think I did your course in 2009 or 2010 and it’s stuck with me ever since. I use what I learned almost every week.”

– Colm Doyle, Director of Client Enablement EMEA at SEI

Whether you want to learn project management, update your project management skills or disseminate project management throughout your organisation, this course will do it for you.

The book that started it all

“I think it was about 1997 when I was 1st introduced to Fergus O’Connell’s wit and wisdom on project management matters through the Silver Bullet and it is still as relevant today as it ever was. Consistency in a world gone mad.” Daire Lawlor, Interwoven Ltd., Ireland.

“That book became in the 90s one of the basis to my approach to projects as it provided a consistent, logical approach and, at the same time demonstrated the actual subjective priorities to achieve things.
I constantly use the “let us define the goal first” for whatever task, meeting, report.Thanks a lot for it, I still have it! (2nd edition).” Carlos Blanquer Bogacz, Fujitsu, Sweden.


Some of the organisations who’ve done this training

For a full list of clients, see:


The course that’s influenced a generation of Project Managers:

  • To date it’s been taught to nearly 10,000 people
  • It’s been refined and improved since 1991.
  • Other project management courses teach you how to drive or pass the driving test – this course makes you a good driver.
  • Already attended by thousands of people in hundreds of organisations on every continent expect Antarctica!
  • It’s – quite literally – the only project management course you’ll ever need.


The 12 Pillars of Successful Projects teaches you everything you need to know to run any project successfully

Learn everything you need to know in just 2 days

No death by Powerpoint

Common sense, light, best practice project management that works

It’s like having a world class project management coach sitting beside you while you work

You learn on the job

The modules come in small, bite-size chunks

Learn light project management – everything you have to do to run any project successfully.

It’s a masterclass that produces behaviour change in those who do it.

No heavy duty, complex methodologies to service – just common sense techniques to get your project out the door as quickly as possible with absolutely minimum effort.

Learn the only project management method that is correlated to project success.

No playing games with LEGO or working on case studies – Learn the method by working on your own projects and doing ‘real work’.

Indefinite support after the Workshop by email and with Q&A’s.

Get Fergus’ book on project management for kids – How to Put a Man on the Moon if You’re a Kid

Teach the method to your team or colleagues using the Presentation slide deck.

Demand for Project Managers is expected to grow by 33 percent, or nearly 22 million new jobs over the next 7 years. (Source: PMI (2017). Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027.

Who’s it for?

This Workshop is equally applicable to new and experienced project managers. If you are new to project management, you leave the Workshop saying. ‘I’m a Project Manager’.  If you’ve been doing project management for a while it reminds you of the essentials or things you’ve maybe forgotten the significance of or – quite possibly – opening your eyes to some new things.

While the Workshop can be run online via Zoom or MS Teams with no loss of quality, we prefer to run it face to face.


Benefits of the Workshop

This kind of training has enormous benefits for both the individual undertaking the training and for the organisation to which they belong. 


  • Can make commitments on project budgets and delivery dates with maximum confidence – and deliver on these commitments.
  • Far less ‘fire fighting’ and unpleasant surprises on projects, thereby saving / freeing up much valuable time.
  • Able to build a track record of consistent project delivery.
  • Renewed and enhanced focus on the things that really matter.
  • Greater job satisfaction.
  • Far less stress and working long hours.


  • Has a common language for dealing with projects.
  • Projects done as quickly as possible with minimum wasted time, effort, resources and money
  • Far better visibility by senior management into the status of projects as they are executed.
  • Much more predictability in terms of project delivery dates and budgets.
  • Significantly less surprises – especially unpleasant ones. 


What people have said

“This is a master class in course presentation, content and delivery. ‘The course is brilliant in its simplicity.” Feena Coughlan, Ericsson, Ireland

“It changed my approach to the PM’s responsibilities.  I will use the things I have learned in my every day job – Thanks!” Skawomir Chimiiel, Moravia, Poland

“It’s very difficult to convey such a depth of knowledge in such a straightforward and simple way … Even though it was remote after a while it became quite intimate, the use of the whiteboard helped, and the examples, and the humour always helps.” Dr Johnny Connolly, University of Limerick, Ireland

“Presentation was brilliant.” Paulo Correia, MOG Technologies, Portugal

“Very practical – Having to use your own project is a great idea – makes everything seem more real.”  Rachel Long, Development Officer, National Youth Council of Ireland

“I loved all the example / experience shared. Amazing way to teach.” Douglas Senra, Boston Scientific, Brazil

“I am currently finishing an engineering degree. A large part of this degree was project management with emphasis on MS Projects, the use of network diagrams and the forward and back pass method for identifying slack and critical paths. This workshop had great contrasting views on how to manage a project. In terms of best value for time spent this workshop offers much more practical methods for assessing and managing projects which I would be inclined to use going forward.” Joseph Daly, Ei Electronics, Ireland

“Has already helped me rethink my worklife, how I approach a project and my stakeholders – I will use as my bible of P.M.” “Helen O’Malley, Barretstown Children’s Charity, Ireland

“Incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic throughout.” Seamus Winters, Xeltis, Netherlands

“Opened my eyes to project management and gave me invaluable tips to running my projects successfully.”  Karl Dunne, Beaumont Hospital, Ireland

“I really learned a lot and am clear about what I need to change to get the difference I am looking for.” Catherine Joyce, Barnardos, Ireland

“I would (and will) recommend this course to anyone.” Dustin Thurgood, CTO, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland

“Clear, direct, never boring – rich in examples – will recommend to my management team.” David Guerra, Hertz Europe, Ireland

“Extraordinary experience – learned a lot.” Hannah Bauer, Xeltis Netherlands

“One of the best, if not the best, presenter I have come across.” Brian Mulvihill, Elan Pharmaceuticals, Ireland

“Thanks for a really enjoyable workshop… I will miss it! Fun. Practical. Grounded. Applicable . Worthwhile. Delivery was …….. Funny. Memorable. Honest. Dripping with justifiable confidence.” Sam McCarthy Gomez, Ei Electronics, Ireland

“Fresh and dynamic approach. Excellent course, well worth doing. Really engaging and useful.”   Declan McEnearney, Boston Scientific, Ireland

“I love the old-fashioned way – no laptop, no slides, only human contact.” Dimitris Stergioulis, Xeltis, Netherlands

“The best instructor I’ve ever had”. Leandro Puche, Boston Scientific, Brazil

“First time I believe I have given the highest score in all categories! Very much hands on and practical.”Clare Connolly, Takeda Ireland

“Very, very funny and charismatic”. Valeria Pepe, Xeltis Netherlands

“I have done many trainings in my time but this was the best one.” Lucas Zapulla, Boston Scientific, Brazil

I was honestly hanging on every word while watching this course. It’s so comprehensive, simple, practical. It’s everything I needed, and even better; it does not overwhelm you with the stuff you don’t need.

Clear, simple, and with a dry sense of humour; honestly a pleasure to watch the videos.

The learning environment is easy to navigate through.

It’s convenient to be able process the videos when you are in the right mindset, and you’re able to rewind them when you haven’t properly understood something. Also, because of the simple flip chart setup and Fergus’ great story-telling skills, it feels personal, even from a distance.

I like that the course teaches you not just how to do a good job as a project manager, but also, in a sense, how to ‘protect yourself’. E.g. how to say no, how to handle planning/resource discussions with your boss or your boss’s boss, etc.

I’ve used this course to propose a project management process for the projects I will be working on in our company. I’ve presented this to the management team and the sales team – and got them all on board 🙂 Furthermore, I’m cherry-picking from the templates and I’m very regularly referring to the material (flipchart slides or ladybird book) if I feel a little stuck or overwhelmed.
Nina Rooijakkers, Additive Industries, Netherlands


Workshop Leader

The Sunday Business Post has described Fergus O’Connell www.fergusoconnell.com as having ‘more strings to his bow than a Stradivarius’.

Fergus has a First in Mathematical Physics from University College Cork and is one of the world’s leading authorities on project management.  His first project management company – ETP (www.etpint.com) – was founded in 1992.  Fergus’ disruptive, common sense project management method – The Ten Steps – has influenced a generation of project managers.  In 2003 this method was used to plan and execute the Special Olympics World Games, the world’s biggest sporting event that year. 

Fergus’ new company, Fast Projects (www.fastprojects.org) is again disrupting the project management space by focusing on speeding up projects / shortening time to market – the only company in the world to be doing so. 

Fergus’ experience covers projects around the world – in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.  He has written on project management for many publications including The Wall Street Journal.  He has lectured at University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Bentley College, Boston University, the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, the Irish Management Institute and on television for the National Technological University. He holds two patents.

Fergus is the author of sixteen business and self-help books http://www.amazon.com/Fergus-OConnell/e/B000APF0KK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1, including a book on project management for children entitled, How To Put A Man On The Moon If You’re A Kid.  His book, How to Run Successful Projects – the Silver Bullet, has become both a bestseller and a classic and has been constantly in print for over twenty years.  His book on common sense entitled Simply Brilliant – also a bestseller and now in its fourth edition – was runner-up in the W H Smith Book Awards 2002.  His books have been translated into twenty-eight languages.

Fergus is also a novelist and screenwriter.  His 2002 novel, Call The Swallow, was described by The Irish Times as ‘better than Schindler’s Ark’[itself a Booker Prize winner].  Call The Swallow was short listed for the 2002 Kerry Ingredients Irish Fiction Prize and nominated for the Hughes & Hughes / Sunday Independent Novel of the Year.

Fergus has recently completed a screenplay based on his novel, The Paradise Ghetto, his second about the Holocaust, which is now in development. 

He has two children and is currently implementing the New Year New Country New Novel plan.  Having lived in France and for the last year just outside Florence in Italy he now lives in England.  


Typical problems that the Workshop solves

  1. You’d like to do projects better but you know you don’t need a full-blown project management methodology;
  2. You’d like a stripped-back project management method which newcomers can learn quickly and which reinforces the knowledge of experienced project managers;
  3. You’re not sure if you need project management at all or you just need to manage time more effectively;
  4. You’d like to hit deadlines and meet promises without late working;
  5. You’d like to reduce stress levels;
  6. You often have unpleasant surprises – projects that ‘go long’ suddenly and out of the blue;
  7. You’d like to be able to estimate accurately;
  8. You have project managers with different backgrounds / styles / experience and you’d like to have a standard way of doing things – a basic structure and language which describes what to do and what not to do;
  9. Individual people, or the organisation as a whole, overcommit;
  10. You need to become better at managing scope change;
  11. You need to become better at dealing with impossible deadlines.


Skills and behaviours taught

  • How to identify all of a project’s stakeholders
  • How to establish the goal of the project – the goal which will satisfy the win conditions of all of the stakeholders
  • How to implement effective change control while still successfully managing the expectations of the stakeholders
  • How to accurately estimate projects – even those phases of the project which lie very far into the future
  • What exactly the project manager is required to do, what s(he) is responsible for i.e. the roles and responsibilities of the project manager
  • How to identify the resources required for the project
  • How to ensure that those resources will be available and what to do if they are not
  • How to play to the strengths of the project team [The word ‘team’ is used in the widest sense i.e. it includes the stakeholders]
  • How to put a margin for error into the project plan through the use of contingency and risk analysis / risk management
  • The correct response when the project given to the project manager is impossible to achieve within the given deadline, budget or resource constraint
  • How to negotiate with the stakeholders, and resolve conflicts when their win-conditions are impossible to reconcile
  • How to lead / work with / influence other people so as to get the best out of them
  • How to use the plan as instrumentation to drive the project
  • How to correctly assess the status of the project
  • How to do truthful, accurate and useful status reporting
  • The project manager’s daily routine
  • How to do audits / post mortems / reviews at the conclusion of projects
  • How to assess any project in five minutes using the Probability of Success Indicator (PSI)
  • Working less and achieving more


Learning approach

  • Tell – the instructor teaches attendees a particular step; explains why it is important; how the step is carried out and any other issues they need to be aware of
  • See – The instructor and the class apply a particular step to an attendee’s project.  Attendees see how what they have been taught is applied in a real-life situation 
  • Do – The most important bit.  Attendees apply what they have learnt to their own projects
  • Assess – By assessing how likely their project is to succeed, attendees can gauge how well they have absorbed what they have been taught. 


 Full supporting documentation including:

1 A Powerpoint slide deck of course material

2 A second Powerpoint slide deck show Fergus’ flipchart drawings.

3 How to Run Successful Projects – a Quick Reference Guide containing everything you need to know to run any project successfully.

4 ‘The Pack of Stuff’ – thirteen templates / articles for use in a variety of project management situations:

  • Template for a Light Status Report
  • Full instructions on ‘How to Assess a Project in Five Minutes’ – can be used in a variety of situations including assessing a project, assessing a project plan, if you inherit a project from somebody else, if you have to rescue a project
  • How to deal with irrational behaviour in project stakeholders
  • Availability Calculator – calculate and track your availability so you don’t become overloaded
  • Estimating Score Card – for capturing and comparing Actual and Estimated
  • A Gantt Chart template in Excel – Excel was never intended as a project management tool but – if you have nothing else available – it can do the trick
  • 1-pager on holding effective meetings that we use ourselves
  • Ten ways of saying ‘no’ nicely
  • Status Report template for tracking a portfolio of projects
  • A template for a Project Charter, if you don’t already have one
  • A Risk Analysis template and the 12 most common reasons why projects fail – to be used together
  • A template for a Scope Change Log.

5 A 23-page manual giving full, detailed instructions on How to Scope & Plan a Project in a Day.

6 Added September 10 2020 – ‘How to Put a Man on the Moon if You’re a Kid’ – Fergus’ book for teaching project management to children.

7 Added September 23 2020 – 40% discount on all of Fergus’ books. for a full list see Fergus’ Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fergus-OConnell/e/B000APF0KK/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1.

8 Indefinite support via FAQ and email.



Why You Wouldn’t Cook Dinner Like You Do Projects

Imagine this. 

It’s early evening and you decide to have dinner. 

You think you’d really like some pasta, tomato sauce and garlic bread, washed down with a glass of red wine. 

So this is what you do next:

  1. You go into the kitchen and light the gas. 
  2. You look in the cupboard and find you don’t have pasta – you’re going to have to go down to the store.  Hopefully you remember to turn off the gas (and if you didn’t remember, this could potentially burn your house down!)
  3. You return from the store with the pasta, get some water boiling and start the pasta cooking. 
  4. You have bread, butter and garlic so you assemble the garlic bread.  That takes you about the same length of time as it does for the pasta to cook.  So now the pasta is cooked but you’ve still got to do the garlic bread in the oven.  You do that, trying to keep the pasta warm meantime.
  5. The garlic bread is done, so you warm up the sauce – which happily you happened to have a jar of.  You tip that over the lukewarm pasta. 
  6. All set.  But hey, wouldn’t a salad go perfectly with all of this?  You look in the fridge and mercifully you have the ingredients.  You whip that up while the pasta and sauce continues to cool. 
  7. There’s no oil for the salad dressing.  That’s a bummer but you decide you’ll have to do without the dressing
  8. Garlic bread, tepid bowl of pasta with lukewarm sauce, salad with no dressing – wasn’t really what you first imagined.  Anyway, you head for the table.
  9. Damn!  Where’s the wine?  You drank the last bottle over the weekend.
  10. Back down the store …

It’s ridiculous, right?  Nobody in their right mind would cook dinner like this.  Instead you have a recipe, either in your head or on paper.  The recipe tells what materials and equipment you need to get the job done.  It tells you the order in which things have to be done.  In other words – it’s a plan.

And this is why we have plans – to save us lots of grief; to enable us to sort out lots of things in advance so that we’ll have less unpleasant surprises along the way. 

So too with projects – we plan for exactly the same reasons.  If you’ve ever heard somebody say, ‘We don’t have time to plan it, just go do it,’ it’s always the wrong thing to say.  You’ll get the thing done quicker, cheaper and with minimum effort if you do a little bit of planning first. 

And this is not so-called ‘paralysis by analysis’ i.e. spending prohibitive amounts of time planning leaving no time left for the doing. 

Instead, as you’ll see for yourself, it’s the investment of a small amount of time to do some critical thinking and thereby save yourself potentially untold amounts of grief down the line. 

This is the promise of this Workshop.