A guide to project management courses

Project management is a skill that’s in demand across businesses large and small but in order to make it a success you need effective project managers who can bring together parts of your business that often don’t have to talk together in order to deliver on goals and deadlines.

Training good PMs can be done internally but often an outside qualification is a huge help and there are no shortage of project management qualifications and training courses out there.

So, what’s the best course for you? 

This depends to a large extent on what industry or business you’re going to be working in. Some project methodologies span a variety of sectors, while others are focused on a specific discipline such as manufacturing or software development. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular project management courses to help you decide which might be right for you.

PMP training

If you’re looking to make a career out of project management, a PMP (Project Management Professional) qualification will stand you in good stead as it’s highly respected within the IT and project management sectors and recognised around the globe. The training covers project management standards, best practices, current trends and techniques.

The course also covers aspects such as time management, dealing with stakeholders, communication management and more. In order to study for a PMP qualification, you’ll need to have 35 hours of formal project management training, together with either a secondary diploma with 7500 hours of project management experience or a four year degree with 4500 hours of project management. This is not, therefore an option for newcomers to the field.

PRINCE2 training

PRINCE2 is one of the most commonly used project management methodologies and is internationally recognised, so training in this methodology is likely to make you more attractive to potential employers in a whole range of industries.

PRINCE2 uses a standard set of systems, procedures and language, allowing it to be applied across a range of industries. It’s also highly scalable so it can be applied to companies and projects regardless as to size.

A PRINCE2 course can be at the Foundation or Practitioner level (with the former being a prerequisite to the latter). This gives you a grounding in the seven themes, principles and processes of the methodology. Once you’ve passed the Foundation exam you can move on to the Practitioner course. This teaches you to apply PRINCE2 in a practical way in order to control resources and manage project risks effectively. Qualified PRINCE2 practitioners will be better equipped to deliver projects on time and on budget.

Agile training

Agile is primarily associated with software development, but the method can be applied to other projects too. Agile concentrates on developing products and services incrementally so it can cope easily with change and stay on track with business needs. It also helps team members work together to meet those needs.

Again there are two levels of certification available, Foundation level covers the Agile process and the roles of individuals within the team. It also covers project management techniques and control of risk and quality.

The Practitioner course goes into the subjects covered at Foundation level in greater depth. There is a strong focus on project lifecycles and objectives. Once students have completed this, they should be ready to apply Agile techniques in a practical setting. 

MSP training

MSP (Managing Successful Programs) is made up of three core concepts. These are MSP Principles, MSP Governance Themes and MSP Transformational Flow. These concepts are used to divide large projects into smaller tasks in order to make them easier to handle. The MSP Foundation course will give students a grounding in these concepts before moving on to the Practitioner course. It’s usually possible to combine both levels in a single course.

The MSP Practitioner training courses cover project management governance and principles, the creation of a business case, generating a project blueprint as well as the management of quality, planning and the MSP process model. Having completed the Practitioner level course, students should be able to manage transformational change and adapt to changing project needs.

Lean Six Sigma training

Lean Six Sigma is a collection of tools and techniques that can improve an individual’s productivity and efficiency, also benefiting the organisation they work in. Lean Six Sigma methodology is based around collaboration in order to improve performance and cut waste. It also offers a framework for organisational change.

Although it has its roots in manufacturing, Lean Six Sigma can be applied to any business where there’s a need to streamline processes and cut costs and waste. Courses are at various levels and some focus on specific industries, with course names assigned coloured ‘belts’ echoing martial arts training. Training in Lean Six Sigma will equip students with a variety of skills that they can apply in different areas of their everyday work.