Alison in Action
9 Key Steps to Smart Project Management
There’s a world of difference between projects that are taken on and carried out willy-nilly, and those that are planned with precision and finesse.Read More
In a way, we all do ‘project management’ already. Running a household, keeping a family in good health and staying on top of all of life’s day-to-day tasks are continuous ‘projects’ that we all have to ‘manage’. But working as a qualified project manager takes things to a whole new level, and experienced ‘PMs’ are in serious demand with both big and small companies across the world.
Project management is a growing field that is becoming ever more specialised. Smaller organizations and projects may have one PM that oversees every aspect of the job, from timelining and hiring contractors to running the budget and troubleshooting. Bigger projects may take years and have a team of PMs, each looking after a specific aspect of the job such as the finances, staffing or logistics. But whatever route you hope to take, you have to start with the first step. Sign up for our introductory courses and modules on project management to get a sense of what it entails. From here, choose the direction that most appeals to you. All our training is completely free of charge and we don't levy monthly subscription fees.
You can’t build a house without foundations and you can’t be a successful project manager without understanding the basics of what modern project management entails. Before you specialise in Scrum or Agile as project management styles, you need a good grounding in the principles of modern project management theory. We have free courses in all aspects of PM: planning, scheduling, resource management, closeout, procurement and budgeting. You will understand the phases or lifecycle of a project, from conceptualization and planning to implementation and evaluation. Study how to allocate limited resources to the greatest effect, what you need to monitor on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and how to project costs so that your financial plan remains on track. Working with others is a big part of being a successful project manager so we also have expert courses on how to work with both your client (who pays the bills) and your team (who do the work). Complete as many of these online PM training modules as you can to cover every aspect of this exciting and in-demand field.
Agile project management was first developed by software developers working in IT but now ‘Agile techniques’ are spreading to other industries. Essentially, it is an iterative (or repeating) approach where you adjust your plan as you progress rather than follow a more linear or pre-planned path. As a methodology, it commonly uses ‘sprints’ or short bursts of activity to focus on continuous improvement and evolution. Each sprint generally has a set of tasks or goals that the team wishes to achieve. Agile project management is not applicable to every field: it makes sense if you are trying to improve a website but not if you are building a hospital. Our free Agile courses will show you best practices and when to implement its techniques. You will also learn how to write effective user stories and do user estimation, how to deal with backlogs and how to manage risk in your project. Agile techniques are becoming more evident in the financial and professional service industries where constant improvement is required to meet consumers’ expectations.
Growing out of Agile project management methods, ‘Scrum’ is a specialized technique dedicated to clearing obstacles in the way of a successful outcome. Generally, a small team is led by a ‘scrum master’ who convenes them daily to discuss and solve any problems or issues that have cropped up. The team then focuses on removing these roadblocks as quickly as possible. The term comes from rugby, where a scrum is a group of people who bind together to get possession of the ball and pass it onto the rest of the players so that they can score. Our free course on Scrum for project management will take you through everything you need to know, step by step. You will be immersed in Scrum’s key features, functions and main artifacts, which are the product backlog, sprint backlog and product increment. Once you’ve mastered the theoretical side, you will be equipped to lead the team to their goals. Scrum is especially used among website developers who have to work quickly in an often rapidly changing environment and who need to have an optimal workflow. If you become a scrum master, it will fall to you to enforce the values and best practices of your team.
Briefly defined, project management is the successful, efficient and on-budget steering of a team through their defined workload to reach their goal. As a product manager, you will have to set deadlines, lay down the plan of action, procure staff and resources, set a budget, deal with risks and overcome any obstacles that come your way.
An experienced project manager will have a wide range of tools to use, from ways of calculating budgets and timelines, to knowledge of local laws or regulations that have to be adhered to. Depending on the industry or field they are working in, they will have methods best suited to construction or a new product launch. In IT, for example, one of the most common methodologies is the Agile approach.
Yes! And you’re in the right place to enrol in them. Alison has a wide range of free project management courses to choose from, starting with the basics all the way to advanced. Each course has been put together by a knowledgeable and experienced publisher with the goals of online students in mind.
How you work as a project manager is up to you: you can freelance for companies that are doing specific projects; you can work full-time for a single firm; or you can set up your own consultancy and work to clients’ briefs. The industries you can work in are limitless: construction, IT, banking, engineering, pharmaceuticals, aerospace... You can even apply your project management knowledge to renovating your house, organizing a friend’s wedding or upgrading a space in your community.
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