Actually Learning How To Manage Projects

A year ago when I started using Trello to manage and track my tasks, I didn’t think of it as project management. As I refined my process and started applying what I saw as project management concepts, I started seeing it more and more as a project management tool.

Today there are thousands of Trello boards and board templates that help with project management, with lists defined for different stages and add ins that enable many useful features for managing projects, such as recurring items, custom fields and scheduling.

Now that I’ve moved onto using Process Street and Plan, I’ve noticed that while the bulk of what I do is recurring tasks, I am also doing some projects. While most are small in scope (turn around time can be a couple of days), there are those that require a bit more work and planning, and my impression is that while the tools I have are probably adequate, my knowledge is lacking.

For some time I’ve been thinking of taking a course in project management and PRINCE2 is one that was recommended to me several years ago from someone who gave me one of the first steps up into my current career path. Now, whenever I look up things like this online, I do get a sense of it being outside of my comfort zone as I didn’t have a great experience in formal education, but I finally bit the bullet tonight and looked into it properly on my favourite online learning websites (Udacity, Udemy, Coursera), but didn’t get the results I was looking for. I turned to my favourite search engine and found a course at Pluralsight, a subscription model online learning website with a 10 day free trial (or 200 minutes, which I’m probably going to use up!).

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I’ve just started the course and am a little regretful that I hadn’t started doing one sooner, because I’m beginning to understand how little I knew about managing projects but also, how easy it is to start off. In less than an hour, I’ve learned that the principles of PRINCE2 are actually rather appealing and managing a project in this way is a great way to ensure its success. Not only that, but one of the principles is to tailor your approach, which means that both my small and larger projects would be able to have the PRINCE2 method applied because you basically fit it around what you really need.

I have started some other courses that are waiting for me to finish them, but those are mostly for things I would like to have done rather than things that will be immediately useful to me. After my brief experience so far learning about PRINCE2, I can see many applications it will have to my work simply because I am always doing some project or other, just not with a proper methodology (yet).

For me, the most important thing here is learning something useful and applicable. A lot of people talk about qualifications and accreditation and that is important for some people and companies, but you get to decide whether or not it’s important to you.

Now that I’m actually learning how to manage projects instead of just figuring out what I could do next, I think they’re going to work out a lot better than before and once again lead me to better ways of working!

 

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