Recommend project management training for the intermediate PM
February 3, 2022 7:28 AM   Subscribe

My job has a large responsibility for executing internal projects, and work is offering to pay for some project management training. What should I take? I'm not looking to get a full PMP certification but definitely am beyond the basics. More details inside.

Most of my projects will be internal, yearlong (at the outside, 2 years), and small in terms of direct financial resources. Think: defining and rolling out a talent assessment initiative, not constructing a new production site.

I'm familiar with the basics of project management and have used WBS, Gantt charts, RACI grids, etc. I would probably benefit most from a learning that focuses on topics like defining project scope, how to do early stage planning when there are large unknowns around what the solution will look like, and managing stakeholder expectations. I don't need a hyper-technical focus around building schedules by determining if tasks are end-to-end or end-to-beginning, looking at percent availability of people resources, etc.

I'm looking at some courses offered by my local university, but I'm also interested in recommendations for online providers. Budget is roughly $3,000 or less. A reputable name is a nice plus but I'd prioritize something that will be a better learning experience for my needs.
posted by philosophygeek to Work & Money (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
... learning that focuses on topics like defining project scope, how to do early stage planning when there are large unknowns around what the solution will look like, and managing stakeholder expectations

sounds like the kind of thing that an agile approach would be great for - it helps you get started when you don't know the exact shape of the end goal, and if stakeholders aren't super old-fashioned and stuck in a "waterfall" mindset, they can in some ways manage their own expectations because the process is (or should be) really transparent. Doesn't mean you never have to create some dumb management reports but it's not the whole focus of your life.

Everything from manufacturing to HR to design to, probably, babysitting has some brand of agile approach associated with it, but a self-guided certification from as a level 1 scrum master is well-respected and is only about $100 (plus the value of your time to do your self-guided study) and will give you a good idea if it's something you want to take further.
posted by cilantro at 7:49 AM on February 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Have you looked at online courses at Coursera or EDX? A lot of their content are very good and accessible at low cost. Both have project management courses affiliated with well-known universities. Some of these universities offer certification thru Coursera or EDX. (In general, I am somewhat skeptical that traditional course structures teach much beyond the basics. And you probably have that already. But these two will allow you to explore a lot of content before you spend a lot of money).

One suggestion - if you are in an industry where PMP certification is valued, I would suggest planning to get that out of the way and choosing courses that will allow you claim credit for taking the PMP certification. I am not big on what you learn while cramming for PMP exam, but if you suddenly have to sit for a lot of interviews for other jobs, this will be one of the criteria for getting through the door for an interview (in certain industries)

After preview - Cilantro's suggestion is excellent IF your business is organized for /open to agile approach. I guess it really depends on the type of business you are working in and how flexible and open they are. If they have never done agile,, but they are open to this, they need to grant themselves a certain amount of forgiveness as they learn through the process. If you are new to this too, it may be tricky. But it is very worthwhile to at least get a scrum certification for yourself.
posted by justlooking at 8:01 AM on February 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

joseph phillips courses on udemy are what helped me get my pmp. i found his videos to be informative, not too dry, and broken down into short enough segments they weren't overwhelming.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:57 AM on February 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

PMI, the organization that supports the PMP certification has a variety of other certs, including CAPM (which people usually pronounce as "cap-EHM.") That one covers many of the same topics as the PMP, but is aimed at people with 0-3 years' experience. They offer their own branded training for this as well.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:26 AM on February 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is centered on product management rather than project management, but there's a lot of overlap in these subjects, and it's free so you can check out whether it suits your interest: Lectures on Lean-Agile Product Management by Jez Humble. I worked with Jez at a past job and appreciate his balanced perspective.
posted by dreamyshade at 12:34 PM on February 3, 2022

This is somewhat UK-focused but I found the resources and community very useful (IT project manager with 10+ year experience here) And it does cover things like scoping, stakeholder management etc.
posted by coffee_monster at 2:24 AM on February 4, 2022

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