The first project management certification exam was given to 43 people in 1986 and today there are hundreds of graduate programs that confer a master’s degree in project management. Project management is an industry built around education and certification, with many established methodologies such as Lean and Agile which ensure that customers, regulators, sponsors, portfolio managers and customers are satisfied with project deliverables.
Many professionals work in managerial capacities and perform some project management functions in their roles, yet have no formalized training. This is especially true of Baby Boomer and Generation X managers who started their careers before project management became the structured discipline it is today. Over time, many managerial roles have morphed into project management positions, so there can be a career risk in not making professional development in project management a priority.
Lacking this training, it is more difficult to bring leadership and an orderly direction to projects. Project management provides the continuous oversight, specific vision, clear focus and objectives, motivation, problem-solving, and coaching techniques that executing successfully demands. It ensures that expectations are set realistically, and projects can be delivered on time and on budget. Just as important, it also ensures consistent quality and cost control, as well as resource and risk management over time.
If you have subject matter expertise and general leadership experience and capabilities, but lack project management training, there are excellent online self-paced courses you can take at your convenience. Best of all, several are FREE. Here are three that stand out (including one that offers a certificate and one that offers a diploma) with links to learn more and enroll:
This is an introductory course on the key concepts of planning and executing projects. The course identifies factors that lead to project success, and students learn how to plan, analyze, and manage projects. Students are exposed to state-of-the-art methodologies and to considering the challenges of various types of projects. Students learn how to develop a project plan, including scoping, sequencing tasks, and determining a critical path, and learn to execute projects using the earned value approach for monitoring progress. The course takes 9 hours in total and can be completed in four weeks.
This online course is suited for anyone looking to better manage their projects for work, including junior project managers, business owners or those looking to start out in project management. The course is presented in 15 lessons on how to effectively manage projects from start to finish through a range of topics including project initiation and closeout, scope, schedule and resource planning, project execution, and control. The course can be used as a stepping stone into a project management career, or as a way to build solid project management fundamentals. Course content is based on The Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).
At the end of the course, students receive a certificate that has been approved by the Project Management Institute and can be used to enhance a resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile. Though GoSkills is a paid membership site, they offer a seven-day free trial, which can allow you to complete the Basics course for free.
This course guides students through the most important aspects of project management in a clear and simple manner. The course goes through the crucial phases of the system development lifecycle, including analysis, planning, design and evaluation, and then describes project management methodology in detail. Tools including Gantt and PERT charts are introduced and the course concludes with a case study in which the various phases are carried out.
This is a longer self-directed course with 27 modules that students can complete on their own schedules. The diploma – issued after passing the course assessment – can be used to enhance a resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile. If you are tasked with managing projects, even as an irregular function of your duties, it pays to invest some time in training on the specific concepts and methodologies used in project management. At the very least, you will gain added expertise and confidence, and you may just find out that these skills unlock your fullest career and leadership potential. So go for it; these courses are FREE! Let us know what you think of them.