This page provides a brief overview of project management options that you may want to explore. If you're already experienced in project management, the courses and resources listed can provide some more targeted tips for your particular needs. If you're new to project management, you may be overwhelmed by terms like "scrum master, scope" or "six sigma." Depending on your needs and the path you choose, you may need to become familiar with some terms but not others. If you wonder where to start, this page is here to help by providing brief descriptions and links for further learning.
How can I start learning?
If you're interested in overall project management, the Project Management Foundations course on Lynda.com covers nearly every topic. This is a great starting point. The entire course gives you an introduction on all of the topics listed below. If you're looking for help with specific topics, Lynda.com makes it easy to skip to labeled modules within the course.
- Types of project management and the project life cycle
- Organizational culture and structure and how those effect the project
- Software options
- Scope, schedules and project costs
- Managing quality
- Communication and risk
- Procurement of products and services
- Setting goals and strategies
- Developing requirements and criteria
- Identifying deliverables, assumptions and risks
- Creating a project charter, work breakdown schedule (WBS)
- The critical path
- Managing teams
- Closing a project
What are some different types of project management?
"Waterfall" is also known as "traditional" project management. This is linear and sequential. Much time is spent in planning at the beginning, and each step will be followed in order until the final outcome is reached. The drawback to this method is that mistakes may not be found until the end. At that point, it is more costly to go back and fix things. If a test version is used before a final rollout, that may offset some of the cost by finding mistakes a little earlier.
Agile project management is used in software development. It is based on iterations or many "test versions" throughout the path to the final product. "Sprints" and "scrum" are two common terms you'll hear associated with Agile planning. Projects evolve over a series of iterations or "sprints."
If you have a particular interest in Agile, access Agile Project Management Foundations in Lynda.com
Lean Six Sigma is focused on quality control and process improvement.
Six Sigma and Lean both come from the manufacturing industry. Technically, there are slight differences between Lean management and Six Sigma. However, you'll often hear of "Lean Six Sigma" as there are so many commalities and reasons to use both together. Both originate from Japan and are used in manufacturing to improve quality. Both are focused on eliminating negative variables to increase the process efficiency and product quality.
Six Sigma has a ranking function in which practitioners may be a "green belt, black black, master black belt", etc. The ranking system is based on the practitioner's extent of using six sigma in his/her job, in duties beyond that job, coaching, mentoring and how much time is devoted to Six Sigma. The highest level is the executive leadership" ranking which are the top management and visionaries of Six Sigma.
If you're interested in delving deeper into Lean Six Sigma, access Lean Six Sigma Foundations in Lynda.com
The Kanban method originated in manufacturing (by Toyota). Marked by the use of divided visual boards, Kanban boards are often used in conjunction with other methods of project management. The visual boards serves as permanent tracking systems that everyone can see. Trello boards are based on the Kanban concept.
The original Kanban board was used to identify bottlenecks in the process system. Today, there are endless options the use of Kanban boards. One group may find it useful to focus on process, while another group uses it to track who does what. Individual notes or cards on the boards are often color coded for a variety of reasons. Some groups track employee morale throughout certain processes. The labels at the top of the boards can be as different and creative as every project. As such, Kanban boards may use specific software (Jiro and Trello are big ones) or they may be simple white boards with tacky notes. The main idea is that there is a visual with defined areas, and the individual items move to give a visual summary.
Learn more about Kanban here:
See Trello's inspiration page for ideas and examples: https://trello.com/inspiration
For a wall and paper example that shows many ideas to use in Kanban, watch this 4 minute YouTube video of "How to Build a Kanban Board."
Project Management Certification: What is it? Who does it? What resources do I need?
*Please note that the steps to certification do have fees attached.
PMI stands for the Project Management Institute, a non-profit organization. Although it is not the only form of certification in existence, it is commonly accepted as the authority on setting the industry standards for project management and certifying project managers.
The general certification is the PMP (Project Management Professional). The PMP credential is globally recognized.There are many different certifications depending on your focus (general, risk-focuses, agile, etc).
The general process to get certified includes meeting educational and professional requirements; You must take a certain amount of PMI-approved courses for the educational requirement and have a certain amount of experience with project management in the professional domain. If those requirements are met, there is an application process and a certification test. Upon becoming certified, certification must be kept current by continuing to take PMI–approved courses. Lynda.com is one option for accessing PMI-approved courses.
The Project Management Institute also produces the Project Management Body of Knowledge book, affectionately referred to as the PMBOK Guide. Most courses in any type of project management will reference this book.
For a list of FAQs and quick project management definitions, see this extensive resource from Wrike.com