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A Guide To Project Management Courses

To an entrepreneur or small business owner, achieving a project management certification may seem unnecessary. What’s the point of being certified? Why not just fly by the seat of your pants? After all, business is all about innovation and ideas, surely you can make it up as you go along? Well…

Project management is actually not that simple. Methodologies such as PRINCE2 and Six Sigma have evolved over many years and their practitioners are highly skilled professionals. Running a project requires training, skills and experience. Even then it’s challenging. Simply making it up is guaranteed to sink a project.

A recognised certification such as a PRINCE2 will not only improve your chances of successful timely project delivery, it will help you win business in the first place. The client will pick up on the fact that you are a qualified professional, especially if your bid includes a credible plan. By showing that you understand risks and resources, you will reassure the client that you can execute the project.

Here we look at 5 of the most popular project management certifications, covering the reasons as to why they might be relevant and a thumbnail of the content.

PRINCE2 Foundation.

PRINCE2 is the world’s most widely adopted project management method. It’s highly robust and scalable, making it suitable for large and small projects across a range of industry sectors. The PRINCE2 2017 update has introduced additional flexibility, allowing the project manager to tailor the methodology to suit the project characteristics. 

PRINCE2 Foundation is the entry-level certification, giving delegates a good grounding in the methodology and its principles, themes and processes.

Training runs for 3 days and can be undertaken either online or in a classroom. The exam is 60 minutes in duration using multiple-choice questions.

PRINCE2 Practitioner.

PRINCE2 Practitioner certification identifies the individual as a competent project manager, able to run successful projects.

Delegates are trained to apply the methodology in realistic situations. This gives them the confidence to tailor the project according to its characteristics and needs.

PRINCE2 Practitioner requires delegates to:

Training runs for 2 days with a 150-minute exam using objective, multiple-choice questions.

Agile.

Agile is widely using in software development and is especially suitable for projects where requirements are uncertain at the start. It is also useful for managing remote teams and allows development work to start early in the project lifecycle, giving clients and stakeholders early sight of deliverables. 

Training and certification are available for both Foundation and Practitioner levels and can be combined in a single course. 

The Foundation course runs for 3 days with a 60-minute examination using multiple-choice questions. The Practitioner course runs for 1 day with a 120-minute exam using multiple-choice questions. Alternatively, a combined course is run over 4 days, including both exams.

Lean Six Sigma.

Six Sigma is used as a process improvement methodology, principally in the manufacturing industry. It is used to reduce defects during manufacturing, thereby improving efficiency and product quality. Whereas Six Sigma is focused on achieving consistent results, Lean Six Sigma aims to increase flow by reducing wastage and shortening cycle times.

Training is typically based on Lean Six Sigma and uses a system of belts based on Karate colours. Yellow Belt and Green Belt training give delegates the ability to participate in Lean Six Sigma projects. Black Belt training builds on these techniques but includes project management skills such as meeting management, team management, business cases and leadership skills.

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training has pre-requisites:

The course is run over 5 days, including a 60-minute exam using multiple-choice questions.

Project Management Professional (PMP).

The PMP course has a wide syllabus covering all aspects of project management, including:

  • Processes
  • Time management
  • Quality
  • Stakeholders
  • Communications

PMP certification identifies the individual as a true project management professional, able to run high profile projects worldwide. Delegates must have at least 7,500 hours of experience in leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

The course is run over 5 days with a 90-minute exam using objective testing.

Managing Successful Programmes (MSP).

Programme management is a tool for running simultaneous projects, each with its own goals and project manager. MSP training uses 3 key concepts to manage organisational change and bring together people, activities and information:

  • Principles
  • Governance themes
  • Transformational flow

Training is available in both Foundation and Practitioner levels and requires pre-course reading of Managing Successful Programmes.

The combined Foundation and Practitioner course is run over 5 days. The exams are 60-minutes and 150-minutes respectively, using multiple-choice questions.

Choose the Right Certification.

By choosing the right methodology for their market niche, an entrepreneur or small business owner can achieve a certification that will help to win business, reassuring clients that the project will be delivered on time.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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