Project Management Courses

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Project management is the practice of planning, organizing and managing projects from their commencement through to completion. If projects are to yield some manner of profit then they must be tightly controlled, and the project manager must always remain focussed on the project s objectives.

Yet they must do so while bearing in mind such issues as time and budgetary constraints. This means that in order to accomplish their objectives, a project manager must know not only how to prioritise their workload, but they must also be capable of delegating tasks, encouraging teamwork, managing resources and monitoring activity in a way that achieves the desired results.

Given the responsibility with which they must cope, it is not surprising that project managers are required in a number of sectors, including ICT, energy, healthcare, financial services, construction, aerospace and government. This is particularly true of the fast-growing ICT sector where the demand for skilled project managers is especially pronounced. Thankfully, there are plenty of courses for those hoping to receive training in project management training and to gain a qualification from it.

What does it involve

Learners can obtain a certificate in project management via either class-based programmes or by distance learning. Some options in the former category can be quite short and are designed to give participants a fast-track introduction to the skills that are required to manage projects of all sizes effectively. Learners will be guided through the basic principles and concepts of project management, which will include areas such as strategic planning, risk and quality management, team management, and preparing and producing budget estimates and work schedules. Much of the same material will be covered by online/distance learning courses (some of which are NFQ Level 6), though they will be run over a more extensive time frame normally about one year.

Students who wish to build on their existing skill set can do so by enrolling on a part-time diploma course. Most programmes will have been accredited by the PMI (Project Management Institute the world s largest project management-related organisation) and many will also cater for those without prior experience in the area. Typical modules include Cost Management (ensuring that the project is completed within the allocated budget), Communication Management (identifying the target audience and ensuring that their communication needs are met) and Integration Management (the coordination of the different strands of a project).

It is also possible for learners to study for a dedicated Diploma in Business Project Management. Such programmes will cover many of the same topics as the more general programmes but will apply them specifically to the practical business environment. They will also encourage students to develop a pragmatic approach to overcoming any unpredictable or unforeseen project obstacles

The Advanced Diploma in Project Management is another option for progressing your level of training. Certain programmes at this level are available to those without project management experience and so represent an excellent opportunity for developing a high level of training in a relatively short period of time. Modules include: Planning and Scheduling; Nature of PM; Computers and PM; Financial and Commercial Framework; Managing Works and Costs; Purchasing and Materials Management. Certain Project Management Advanced Diploma programmes are also well recognised and awarded by the ICM Institute of Commercial Management (UK). Many graduates go on to successfully secure project management positions not only in Ireland, but in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United State and the Middle East too.

Why do it

Having project management training and experience will prove hugely beneficial to workers in almost any industry. This is because project management is a highly transferable skill that uses tools and processes that are widely applicable, no matter what sector you are in. The ability to lead and focus a team, adhere to a strict budget and timeline, and deliver results will always win favour with employers.

What comes next

Project Management courses are ideally suited to aspiring project managers, business executives, team leaders and people from variety of industry backgrounds.

At a glance

Obtaining your Project Management Certification can take between 4 days and 1 year depending on the comprehensiveness of the option you take. A diploma-level course in Project Management will take between 12 and 15 weeks. Advanced Diplomas in Project Management run for approximately 20 weeks.

*Image courtesy of basketman/freedigitalphotos. net

Frank Bolger

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