We’ve all worked on a project at some point in our lives. Whether that’s been a group project in school, planning a party, planning home renovations, or working on a new initiative at work, these projects build skills in organization, leadership, problem solving, and critical thinking.
But… isn’t it crazy that we’ve always just jumped right into projects without any background understanding in project management? Imagine how much more efficient our projects would be if we learned more about projects and how to make them successful.
First things first!
You don’t have to want to become a project manager to benefit from taking a project management course. It doesn’t matter what industry or role you plan to pursue, taking a course in project management can positively impact your success in both your personal and professional life.
Here’s a few of the perks of having a background in project management:
- You’ll become a pro at setting goals
Few projects can become successful without well-defined goals. Although you probably already know what SMART goals are, it’s likely one of the first things you’ll learn in a project management course.
A quick background on what SMART stands for:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Realistic
T - Time-bound
Knowing and understanding how to set goals is important in all aspects of life, even outside of work, so having an understanding of the best methods to set goals is great to have!
2. You’ll learn how to plan effectively
After establishing and setting goals, you always need an action plan (who cares about the what without the how?).
In project management, an action plan means determining:
- Who needs to be involved in a project
- The difference between short- and long-term goals within a project
- Each individual’s responsibilities and deadlines
- Realistic and appropriate timelines for completing tasks and achieving goals
There’s no secret that a plan is great - but what really matters is the execution. In addition to understanding what is essential for an action plan, through learning about project management, you’ll also learn how to:
- Distribute and delegate tasks within a group effectively
- Monitor execution and ensure the high quality of each person’s work
- Spot problems and solve them before any major issues come about
- Provide resources and support as needed
Being organized and planning projects accordingly can only make your life easier having trouble getting started on a cover letter? Break the goal into smaller, shorter-term tasks and set deadlines. Want to organize a surprise party for a friend? You’ll learn how to delegate tasks and make sure everything happens on time!
3. You’ll develop sought-after resource management skills
First of all, project management is an in-demand skill. Pretty much every single industry (engineering, financial services, healthcare, etc.) requires individuals who have a high level of organizational, leadership, and resource management skills. Project management is a comprehensive subject that will help you navigate the following:
- Time: Let’s be real. You’ll have a hard time succeeding in the “real world” without effective time management. A project management course will teach you to think in terms of timelines, schedules, and deadlines (which, if you think about it, are all essential to managing your time effectively).
- Finances: Learning about project management really gets you thinking about budgets and how they affect projects and the operations of them, accordingly. Most project management courses have a financial management section, which can be really helpful in understanding how to allocate costs and budget effectively.
- Other resources: While time and money are arguably the most important resources to many people, project management also considers all of the other resources at your disposal, such as connections, knowledge, and other competencies.
4. You’ll get a head start in any career
Any skills you gain from taking a project management course will set you up for success in any career, regardless of if you plan to pursue something directly in project management. Of course, soft skills learned make you a more desirable candidate and overall a better employee.
At the end of the day, skills learned through understanding the essentials of project management are great as both life skills and professional soft skills.
Taking a course in project management will make you more organized, goal-oriented and productive, both on your own and as a part of any team.
And as someone currently taking a project management course, I couldn’t recommend it enough. There are so many things I have learned and feel more comfortable doing as I navigate projects!