Project management is a challenging yet rewarding career. If you’re the sort of person who loves a good plan, getting the best out of people and delivering exceptional results that put gleaming smiles on the faces of clients and stakeholders - training as a project manager would be an excellent investment.
If you’re unsure how to get started in project management, we've got you covered. We’ll list some of the best ways to gain project management training and help break into this highly sought-after field. Before we get to that, let’s recap the basics of what project management is, and who a project manager is.
What is Project Management?
Project management is the use of skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to a client. There are many different examples of project management. This could be the construction of a new building or the development of a piece of software. It might be implementing a new healthcare service or running a marketing campaign.
Who is a Project Manager?
Project managers are responsible for the planning, allocation of resources (including personnel, budgets and tools), delegation, communication between stakeholders and clients, and the execution of projects. They oversee this process from start to finish and use project management frameworks to manage each stage of the project lifecycle.
The Best Ways to Get Project Management Training
There are several ways to gain project management experience. From certified training courses to self-learning through blogs and webinars - we’ll explore some of the most common ways to get you on a straight path to a project management career!
1. Flaunt your soft skills
Although you may not be in a position to showcase hard experience as a project manager, hiring managers will still look for certain qualities that can be fine-tuned in lateral roles. And coupled with the appropriate training, these can turn you into a fully-fledged PM!
Here are the soft skills you’ll want to prioritise:
Organisation: Project managers have a lot to manage at any one time which makes organisational skills a key component. You’ll need to have a knack for planning, including how to allocate resources like budgets, set deadlines and select individuals for projects with the appropriate skill sets. Attention to detail is a must when managing so many moving parts whilst ensuring projects run smoothly and on time.
Communication: This is a big one for project managers. A single project requires you to speak with several parties to get it off the ground and to keep it going. You’ll need to get buy-in from stakeholders, after drafting a project proposal, you’ll be talking back and forth with clients at each stage of the project lifecycle and then there’s your team, who need frequent collaboration too. - who all need instruction, frequent check-ins and need to be motivated throughout.
Leadership: Procuring the right resources and selecting the right team is vital to a successful project, but when it comes down to executing the project, the result is largely in the hands of your team. This is where your leadership skills play a role. It’s your job to keep individuals motivated throughout whilst maintaining a sane and sensible working environment. This involves hosting progress meetings, checking in on team members, gathering and giving feedback and galvanising interdepartmental communications. Possessing these traits can open the door to roles that may not be project management positions on paper but are aligned with project management. Be sure to tailor your resumé by focusing on these soft skills.
2. Find opportunities in your current role
It’s not uncommon for people to assume the responsibilities of a project manager before officially being sworn in as one. If you look around the office at your current job, see if you can identify opportunities to take on more responsibility and gain project management experience as a byproduct. Next time a project or a task comes up, ask if you can oversee part of the process. Whether that’s taking on client communications and feedback, or lending a hand in procurement, find ways to bolster your skills and show initiative.
3. Get a mentor
Project management is a demanding job, there’s no question about it. It can quickly turn optimism to overwhelm without knowing the right strategies to fall back on. This is why finding a mentor is a great way to help learn the ropes of project management. Mentors take the stress out of situations by imparting years of valuable, hard-earned experience. Here are some common places to find project management mentors:
Chat Forums: Reddit, Quora and Meetup.com are great tools for finding experienced project managers covering a wide variety of related topics.
Mentor Programmes: The PMI (Project Management Institute) offers local mentorship chapters for your specific region where you can connect with fellow professionals and develop your knowledge.
Active or retired PMs: In an ideal world you would have an active project manager as a mentor, someone who you can speak to weekly and lean on for support, but finding one who has the capacity to take on a mentee can be tricky. Retired project managers are another option as they’re now outside of the hectic day-to-day and more willing to carve time out to help.
Managers/Senior team members: If you can approach a senior member of staff at work and ask to be mentored, it’s probably the quickest way to start gathering experience. Project management is about organising teams and resources and making sure deliverables are met on time and on budget - a set of criteria that virtually all managers share, so regardless of industry, there are lots of transferable skills to be learnt. }
4. Get certified
The Project Management Professional certification from PMI is one of the most widely recognised certifications, however, it does come with a caveat of three years of project management experience. This rules it out for beginners or entry-level professionals. The good news is that there are stacks of courses that cater to learners just starting out (read our post on [The 7 Best Project Management Courses in the Netherlands]). Earning a certification that you can display on your resumè is a good way to show your interest and commitment to the role and catch the attention of employers.
5. Learn on the go with podcasts
With over 383 million listeners, podcasts are very much one of the largest-consumed media. Project management techniques and knowledge areas are always growing and developing, which makes podcasts a great way to keep up to date and gain valuable insights from industry leaders. Wrike published this handy post listing 9 Podcasts for Project Managers on the Go that’s definitely worth checking out.
Notable mentions are:
- The Project Management Podcast
- The Digital Project Manager Podcast
- The Biker PM
- People and Projects Podcast
6. Read project management books & blogs
Soaking up knowledge from some of the world’s most experienced project managers is made easy through a good book. Here you can learn about the fundamentals and the more advanced aspects of successful project management tools and tricks. Teamwork.com made a useful guide on 8 Project Management Books That Belong on Your Shelf. Some of our favourite picks would be:
- Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager - by Franklin Covey
- Product-led Growth: How To Build a Product That Sells Itself - by Wes Bush
- Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos - by Darrell Rigby, Sarah Elk & Steve Berez
Blogs are also a great source of learning with regular updates that are quicker to digest in short doses. Read Ganttic.com’s guide on The Best Project Management Blogs of 2022. We’ve picked out these highlights:
- Project Management.com (from PMI)
- Rebel’s Guide to Project Management
- Michael Hyatt and Company’s Blog
7. Attend workshops and networking events
Attending a workshop, conference or networking event places you right in the action. You’ll find senior project managers eager to share their insights alongside total beginners for a healthy mix of experience and intrigue. These types of places are perfect for connecting with like-minded people who can broaden your network and your knowledge. In-person events will vary depending on region but a couple of places to check would be:
- The PMI events page
- Meetup.com for local project management groups
- Eventbrite for virtual and local events
A career in project management is within your grasp! If you’re new to this exciting field or want to sharpen your toolkit, these resources for training and improving your knowledge will help you reach those goals. If you’re interested in learning more about project management, have a look at our Project Management Certificate. This course is designed for beginners looking to gain an understanding of the fundamentals and how to manage projects successfully.
Become Certified in Project Management for FREE*
Learn how to drive successful projects that create ecstatic clients, hyper-productive teams and super-satisfied stakeholders in under 12 weeks.
Our Project Management Certificate will cover:
- The terms, methods and different frameworks
- The stages of a project lifecycle from initiation to closing
- Identifying stakeholders and creating a business strategy
- Governing projects, preventing scope creep and budgets
- Managing teams, resources and developing a leadership style
- Post-project reviews, transitioning and facilitation
See the full course overview here.
Learning with Growth Tribe couldn’t be easier. All of our courses are designed to be flexible for the learner with self-paced content so you can manage your time and learning, to best suit your lifestyle.
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*Are you eligible for STAP?
The staff training assistance programme or STAP offers up to €1000 in funding to get fully certified for in-demand skills such as Digital Marketing, Business & Data Analytics, UX Design and Project Management.
To be eligible all you need is:
To be a Dutch citizen with a BSN number
Are aged between 18-67
Have earned Dutch income for at least 6 months
For more details on how to apply, click here