Project management training is essential to understand the finer points of being a project manager and obtaining a formal qualification such as Prince II which is widely recognised throughout the world.
Project management is the management of a project which will include the scheduling of resources when they are people or materials. Normally a project manager will have people working for him and that will include a scheduler whose job it is to schedule the resources.
Programme managers are the same as project managers except they manage much larger and more complex projects that normally have higher budgets and last for more than a year.
A project a word to describe probably everything we do in modern life. We want to achieve something or build something to go somewhere. The usual questions asked by the project team at the start-up phase are what are we trying to achieve, what will it start, what resources will we need, how long will it take and what are the costs involved. All simple questions but in complex projects these take a lot of effort to answer.
A project manager introduces structure into the process and takes not only a holistic view but manages the detail either himself or through his experienced project team. There is normally a project board installed to answer strategic questions such as on overruns or if the timeline is slipping at all. These will be made up of the project sponsor and those that have a vested interest in the completion and any impacts to their departments.
The tools used are generally software such as Microsoft Project which can handle all the work loads and produce the relevant charts required by the project team and board. The most common used are Gantt charts which produces a pictorial view of the projects progress and the interaction between tasks representing the activities put down in the work breakdown structure (WBS).
The other most used is the PERT chart (project evaluation and review technique) and looks at the time involved in completing each task.
Project management software is essential in managing any project. Before software was available tracking timelines and milestones was done with pencil and paper and would take forever and the project team would be immense. These days there are many software programs to make managing a project really easy (or easier).
Some of the most popular computer based applications are Artemis, Microsoft Project, Primavera Project Planner and planner suite. These days there are also web based applications including Oracle Projects and a Microsoft version. What you use will probably depend on what your employer uses. Most use Microsoft these days as it's relatively cheap and very easy to use and learn and can manage most projects except may be the most complex.
There are various professional bodies who represent the interests of their members and promote project managers and the profession throughout the world.
APM is the largest in Europe and has 16,500 members. You can get qualified through various courses such as the introductory certificate to introduce new project managers the APMP for PMs with 2 years experience, the Practitioner Qualification for people with three years experience and Certificated Project Manager for more experienced project managers handling large projects. These all follow and aligned with the International Project Management Association programmes. You can find out more about their membership at the Association for Project Management (APM) website.
IPMA has three levels of qualification starting at level D the Certified Project Management Associate, level C the Certified Project Manager, level B the Certified Senior Project Manager up to level A the Certified Projects Director. The IPMA represents all the major project management associations around the world and you can find out more at the IPMA World website.
The PMI is the world's leading project management organisation with over 420,000 members worldwide and formed in 1969. Their main qualifications are Certified Associates in Project Management (CAPM), Project Management Professionals (PMP) and Program Management Professionals (PgMP). Learn more about the organisation at the PMi website.
Perhaps the most demanded qualification in the UK is the Prince2 accreditation and stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. The prince 2 standard is used extensively in government contracts and launched in 1989 simply as Prince. The Prince 2 solution started developed in 1996. There are various qualifications from foundation level, certification to practitioner which is the highest level and most widely demanded by employers.
The prince methodology structures projects as they are meant to be in that they should have an organised start, middle and end. There are over one million Prince2 trained professionals and you can learn more about them at their website.