How you organize a business project is crucial. It’s often the only real difference between your team delivering high-quality work and missing deadlines more often than they meet them. Many people, however, never work to improve their skills as a project manager.
That’s where courses come in.
This guide will outline the benefits of project management courses, how they can make your life easier, make you more productive and advance your career.
1. Developing your skills
Courses are the best way to develop your essential project manager skills, because they offer practical, structured guidance.
When you’re learning by yourself, it’s easy to misunderstand difficult topics, pick up bad habits or assume you know more than you really do. The structured learning and assessments of a project management course ensure you get a good grasp of the subject as a whole and have a clear-cut idea of your strengths and weaknesses.
They’re also great opportunities for measuring your professional development.
You can, for example, take stock of your skills before and after a course and reflect on how it’s helped you improve. That kind of structured self-assessment is hard to structure when you’re learning by yourself, but it’s vital to staying motivated as you learn.
2. Broadening your knowledge
Do you know your waterfalls from your scrums?
If that question doesn’t make sense, it means you need to brush up on your project management styles. A key benefit of project management courses is learning about these different styles – their history, differences, use-cases and how they apply to your everyday work.
Courses on management styles you’re not familiar with can give you new ideas on what would work best for your company’s specific circumstances. Even if you don’t fully buy into a style, they all have valuable ideas that you can adapt to your own uses.
Take the Agile project management methodology, for instance, with its focus on short turnarounds and constant communication with the client. Thousands of companies have implemented the popular daily meetings and small team sizes, without adopting Agile principles for everything they do.
3. Learning that’s useful everywhere
Improving your skills as a project manager helps you everywhere, even outside the office.
Being able to effectively plan and organize tasks is an essential life skill, even for things we don’t typically think are anything like workplace ‘projects’.
If you want to become a writer, for instance, you’ll need those skills to structure your creativity and keep working when your inspiration deserts you. For a more colorful example, many people put on project manager hats to plan their own weddings.
Even if you don’t work as a project manager, a course will give you skills that you can apply to almost any area of life.
4. Advancing your career
Skilled project managers are always in high demand. If you’ve got what it takes to turn a failing campaign around, or coordinate hundreds of people at a time, you have the leverage to negotiate hefty salaries and climb the ranks of the corporate ladder.
Numerous studies back this up. According to one by PMI, for instance, some project management qualifications can reliably lead to an over 20% increase in salary.
Even if you don’t plan on being a full-time project manager, it’s another skill in your toolkit. More and more hiring managers want well-rounded, adaptable professionals, and getting a certification from a course shows you have those qualities.
Career advancement alone is a great benefit of project management courses!
5. Building up social networks
Project management courses can be great networking opportunities. They’re ways to meet other professionals, get guidance from experts and build a network of colleagues.
Having strong social networks helps you stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field, get different perspectives and run ideas past industry experts.
Meeting the right people is, of course, also a prime way to help your career.
Imagine you’re applying for a job and someone you met taking a project management course works there. A good reference from them could tip the balance in your favor over someone else.
6. Helping you communicate
If you’ve never had formal training in leadership or project management, it’s often hard to explain in words why you think something is the best course of action.
One benefit of project management courses is that you learn a common ‘language’.
Learning industry guidelines and standard methods for organizing teams gives you a common language you can use to talk effectively with other professionals.
High-ranking executives, for instance, might not have much experience with the nitty-gritty details of team management. Communicating with stakeholders and other managers clearly and consistently means you’ll be able to set appropriate expectations and get the resources you need for high-quality work.