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The various project management courses reflect the different project methodologies in the discipline. Therefore, it’s important to be sure that you take the course that will best serve your project management career.
In essence, this means selecting a widely recognized methodology. What’s more, the course you choose should be applicable to the highest number of jobs and opportunities.
Generally speaking, choose project management courses that give you a grounding in a methodology that you can then apply in practice. These project management courses are the most valuable.
Many project management courses require a significant commitment of time and effort. Then, of course, there are course fees for any training course you attend. So do your research before you commit yourself. Read on for an overview of the main types of project management courses.
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1. PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Courses
The PRINCE2 qualification is widely recognized. It frequently forms one of the requirements for project management jobs. This is particularly the case in larger companies, as well as in local and central government. Basically, the Foundation level gives newcomers to the subject a good grounding in how the structured PRINCE2 method works.
Even experienced project managers may find it helpful to start with the Foundation level. This is especially the case if they don’t have experience with using a structured method. The Foundation introduces the core concepts, principles, and terminology. It’s an ideal quick starter for someone who is new to a team that uses PRINCE2. It will instantly demystify terms such as “exception report” and “product based planning.”
The PRINCE2 Practitioner course applies the knowledge of the methodology to practical problems in project management. Its approach is both structured and pragmatic. You can take the examination at your course provider if they are an accredited center, or online or at a public examination center.
2. Project Management Professional (PMP)
Project Management Professional (PMP) is a respected qualification. However, fewer people in the UK use PMP than use PRINCE2.
It is an amalgam of candidates’ experience, face-to-face courses, web-based learning, and key texts. These texts include the PMBOK, or the Project Management Book of Knowledge, the project management bible for PMP professionals.
The PMP training is sponsored by PMI, the Project Management Institute, a global organization. The method prescribes process groups and knowledge areas. It is popular with project managers who work in many different countries. Courses usually include looking at case studies and preparing for the kinds of questions that feature in the exams.
3. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP)
From the same stable as PRINCE2 originally, Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) prepares you to take on the big beasts of the project world. These are the programs and portfolios containing related projects. MSP takes a more strategic view of the program management function. It is strong in areas such as stakeholder management and communication. Ideally, it’s a next step after PRINCE2.
A good Agile course will cover the basics of the philosophy and some of its key aspects, such as the use of Scrums to discuss work, the role of the Scrum master, and so on.
Agile is mostly used in software development. An Agile qualification is a worthwhile extra for a project manager. However, on its own, it’s unlikely to kick start a project management career. Most employers will be looking for knowledge of one of the structured methodologies such as PRINCE2. Therefore, Agile is a useful add-on, especially if the job centers around software development.
5. Lean Six Sigma
The same applies to Lean Six Sigma. This philosophy originated in manufacturing. However, now it is applied in many other contexts. One of the underlying ideas is to reduce variability in work processes, thus improving quality and productivity. Lean Six Sigma suffers from the fact that those who haven’t been trained in it sometimes struggle to understand the underlying philosophy. This can lead to problems in implementing the method across an organization.
In addition to these project management courses and qualifications, there are many courses in specific aspects of project management. These include risk, budgeting, and planning. But as with some of the courses outlined above, you should really take training in specific subjects as an addition to a qualification in one of the all-encompassing methodologies such as PRINCE2. These more inclusive courses will cover risk as part of their course content. Therefore, when you have completed this type of course, you’ll be in a much better position to identify any specialist training you may need.
About the Author
David Baker is marketing manager at PRINCE2 Training, who provide courses and certification in PRINCE2, Agile, Lean Six Sigma, ITIL, PMP, and Scrum project management methodologies. You can connect with David and PRINCE2 Training on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.