Whether you’re considering a career change or just trying to get ahead of the curve, beefing up your skills in project management can put you a step ahead of the competition. Nearly every job requires some form of project management. The Project Management Institute publishes the Project Management Body of Knowledge that documents key elements. To learn about applying project management processes to your work, explore some unique training activities to learn about and practice your planning, executing and monitoring skills.
Volunteering on a Community Project
You have probably already planned a big party, family vacation or housing move. Use those skills to contribute to a local community project. This helps you learn how to participate in an endeavor that has a specified start and end date and figure out the best way to handle time and budget constraints. Contact local schools or professional organizations to get involved in projects they are planning, such as fundraisers or community outreach events. You will get a firsthand look at important areas of project management, ranging from securing space for the event to setting and meeting deadlines for key milestones.
Learning How to Communicate
Leading projects typically involves communicating with sponsors, stakeholders, team members, suppliers and customers. You can learn these skills by enrolling in free Internet courses on public speaking and similar topics. These courses teach you how to design and deliver informative presentations, speak confidently and defend your position. Online courses typically include viewing video lectures, taking quizzes and participating in discussion forums. You can even upload videos of yourself to get feedback from your peers.
Designing Project Templates
The Internet also provides access to many free project management tools and templates. Customizing one of these templates for your own business represents a unique training activity for project management that can suit your development needs and also fulfill organizational needs. These templates allow you to capture details about project management processes such as initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and closing the project.
Managing Project Functions
Typically, a project manager performs control functions throughout a project. Job shadowing can help you learn how to do this as well as manage change, schedules, costs, quality, communications or risk. For example, use the SCORE network to locate a mentor or an experienced project manager so you can learn on the job. Also, the Project Management Institute recommends using social media technology to locate seasoned professionals who can help you learn the tricks of the trade.
Playing Games to Learn
Online games and simulations provide opportunities to learn new skills and have some fun at the same time. For example, online business simulations, such as those available on the Virtonomics website, let you try out risk management techniques or manage a virtual business. In some cases, access to these games is free as long as you set up an account, though there are also sites that charge a fee to participate.
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