With more than one million positions to be filled each year, project management is a growing field. Enjoying national median salaries in excess of $80,000, the PM profession attracts the best and the brightest. Aspiring project management professionals can benefit from taking advantage of the many professional organizations, open courseware and other industry resources freely available online.
Offering networking and educational opportunities, professional development, certification and online resource libraries, professional organizations are a good place for young project management professionals to begin building their careers.
- American Management Association (AMA) – The AMA involves its members “in a global community of peers and practitioners via one of the world’s most sophisticated knowledge-exchange networks.” A variety of memberships are offered including student, individual and its unique, less expensive e-Membership that provides online-only benefits. Student members enjoy discounts on seminars and other resources, access to webinars and podcasts, and subscriptions to the online journal MWorld, along with two e-Newsletters, Executive Matters and AMAs Management Update.
- Green Project Management Association (GPM) – GPM fosters a “three pillar approach” to project management including its PRISM (Projects Integrating Sustainable Methods) methodology, training and either GPM-b or GPM certification. Several memberships are available including student and standard. With a student membership, benefits include the GPM Reference Guide to Sustainability in Project Management, access to the GPM-b Certification Practice Exam, discounts on accreditation and PM books and access to project management resources.
- International Project Management Association (IPMA) – Founded in 1965, IPMA was the world’s first project management association. Today, the organization is dedicated to ensuring “PM best practice is widely known and appropriately applied at all levels.” Members enjoy access to the bi-monthly International Journal of Project Management, a quarterly newsletter and the annual Project Perspectives. Networking happens in workshops, local member associations and at national and international conferences and congresses. Younger professionals benefit from joining IPMA’s unique Young Crew, and can take advantage of a variety of certification opportunities.
- Project Management Institute (PMI) – PMI membership helps PM professionals earn “credentials that certify project management expertise.” Open to students as well as professionals, membership includes online access to PMI’s reference library where members find the PMBOK Guide and the Standard for Program Management. Other benefits include a job board and educational opportunities through PMI’s e-Learning On Demand courses and eSerminars World.
In the 21st century, some of the top colleges and universities in the world have made the content of their courses freely available online. With these open access classes, aspiring project management professionals can develop skills and expertise in the field, without breaking the bank.
- Introduction to Project Management – UC Irvine – Offered through the University of California Irvine Extension, this open access course covers the “basic concepts of the discipline of project management.” Students will explore a variety of PM topics including stakeholder identification and analysis, risk analysis, communications management, procurement, contracts, scope statements, work breakdown structures and conflict resolution. PMI’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge is required for this course.
- Project Management – MIT – Taught by Prof. Fred Moavenzadeh of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, this undergraduate level class “focuses on the management and implementation of construction projects, primarily infrastructure projects.” The three main areas of coursework focus on financing, evaluating and organizing projects. Basic skills and knowledge in the field, sufficient to take a project from inception to completion, will be covered. Lecture notes and a list of suggested readings are also provided.
- Rural/local Development Project Management: Competence Baseline – UPM – Offered through the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, this OCW Consortium course is designed for graduate level students and is available in English. Students will explore the fundamental principles involved in rural and local project management, including the contextual, behavioral and technical skills and knowledge needed to succeed. Methodologies for evaluating and monitoring the project will be covered as well.
- System Project Management – MIT – This graduate level course taught by MIT’s Profs. Olivier de Weck, James Lyneis and Dan Braha “focuses on management principles, methods, and tools to effectively plan and implement successful system and product development projects.” Four main topics in PM will be covered: preparation, planning, adaptation and monitoring. Classical techniques will be reviewed but new methodologies including Design Structure Matrix, system dynamics and probability simulation will also be explored. Selected lecture notes and a list of suggested readings are provided as well.
Open Access Journals
Like universities with open courseware, many of the top academic publications are making at least some of their content freely available online as well. The scholarship provided via open access in these journals helps project management professionals stay current.
- Construction Management and Economics – Articles of interest to project managers can be found in this journal, which states it strives to publish “original research concerning the management and economics of building and civil engineering.” A hybrid between paid subscription and open access content, not all articles are freely available. Representative scholarship from this journal includes “Quality Management in Construction Projects” and “Managing Project Supply Chains.”
- Journal of Engineering, Project, and Production Management – Articles in this double-blind, reviewed journal cover a wide range of “topics related to engineering management, project management, and production management.” PM professionals can freely access the scholarship available in this open publication, and recent posts include “Planning, Interface, Decision Making and Sustainability: Common for Engineering, Project, and Production Managers” and “Criticality of Schedule Constraints – Classification and Identification for Project Management.”
- Journal of Project, Program and Portfolio Management (JPPPM) – This peer-reviewed academic publication hosts qualitative as well as quantitative research from across the fields of project, program and portfolio management. Articles in this scholarly journal may be read free-of-charge. Recent scholarship found in the JPPPM includes “Workforce issues and their impact on projects: study on the Indian IT and ITeS industry” and “Cost-benefit analysis of a staff recreation centre project: build or lease? A Case Study.”
- Production Planning & Control – In this international journal, research that “can guide the activities of managers and future researchers” is highlighted. Theoretical, simulation-based and merely experimental research is not accepted by this applied, peer-reviewed journal. Although some content requires a subscription, many articles are freely available via open access including “Development of supplier relationship including cost of defectives in the cyclic production” and “Challenges in apparel production planning and control.”
Longer reads offer experts more time to develop significant insights and explain strategies. The tips and advice found on this list of books will help aspiring project managers to step into leadership roles with confidence and competence.
- The Lazy Project Manager: How to Be Twice as Productive and Still Leave the Office Early – Peter Taylor brings 30 years of project management experience to this book of successful PM case studies. Building upon the idea of “productive laziness,” Taylor demonstrates how focusing on the “Bare Necessities” will help project managers achieve success without being chained to a desk.
- Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management – Author, blogger and project management expert, Scott Berkun, presents tried-and-true strategies for seeing a project through from inception to completion. Many of Berkun’s proven strategies are derived from his years of working as a program manager for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
- The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive – Bringing balance to project management, professor Terri L. Griffith describes effective methods of incorporating technology into a project without losing track of the people involved. Strategies and best practices are found in case studies and interviews from major companies including Microsoft, Intuit and Zappos.
- Project Pain Reliever: A Just-in-Time Handbook for Anyone Managing Projects – Writer and CEO of gantthead.com, Dave Garret has arranged this collection of effective solutions to the most common PM challenges. Organized by project management issue, readers can quickly find the insight and strategies needed to address problems as they arise.
Online Industry Magazines and Sites
Shorter reads and online delivery allow these sites to post articles, opinions and analysis on the latest developments in project management.
- Project Accelerator – Offering “the latest project management news, views and project management sites from around the world,” this online news outlet from the U.K. helps PM professionals stay on top of current trends. Specific focus is given to software, leadership and program management issues, and recent posts include “GPM Releases First Organizational Standard; The P5 Standard for Sustainability in Project Management.”
- Projects at Work – This site hosts “a community of practitioners and thought-leaders breaking down barriers and building bridges to better manage projects, programs, portfolios and teams.” Opinions, research, professional development and other tools are available. Under its Bridges page, readers find insight and analysis specifically tailored to project management issues including “Be Agile: Eliminate Waste” and “Planning: Objective/Subjective.”
- Project Management Times – Exclusively online since 2006, PM Times strives to keep PM professionals “abreast of what’s going on in the world of project management.” Articles, webinars, free white papers and a job board can all be found on this site. Representative articles include “If You’re Not Tracking, You’re Guessing: 4 Tips to Improve Project Tracking” and “The Entrepreneur Project Manager.”
- The Project Manager – Intended to be a “reliable reference within the planned project environment,” this online magazine, published in South Africa, has been endorsed by the Project Management Association (PMSA). Best practices, reviews and articles are found on this site and include “Birth of Project Management” and “How to Lead Effectively as a PM.”
With their informal and often humorous tone, blogs are an entertaining way for PM professionals to learn the latest trends in the field.
- Deep Fried Brain – Singapore IT manager and certified project management professional (PMP), Harwinder, provides advice to PMs who are studying for certification exams. Recent posts include “Book Review – PMI-ACP Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths” and “100+ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about PMP Certification Exam.”
- Fear No Project – From this site, Bruce McGraw shares “thoughts, experience, tips and tricks on issues affecting managers and project management.” Recent posts include “Maintaining Team Morale When Your Projects Get Tough” and “How to Get Them to Love Your Project.”
- A Girl’s Guide to Project Management – Career project manager and author of Shortcuts to Success: Project Management in the Real World, Elizabeth Harrin, “aims to provide some direction in the world of project management.” Recent posts include “Social Media for Project Managers: Q&A” and “Successful Project Management Balances Hard and Soft Skills.”
- Leading Answers– Canadian project manager, Mike Griffiths, posts “leadership and agile project management ideas, observations and links” on this blog. Recent articles include “20 Years of DSDM” and “Agile Horrors.”
Who to Follow on Twitter
Keeping up with the latest in project management in 140 characters or less, following experts on Twitter is an easy way to stay informed.
- @galleman – Glen B. Alleman, a blogger, tweets with links to topical performance based project management articles.
- @pmstudent – With “project management, career and PMP study advice that works” from Long Beach, CA, this site helps aspiring project management professionals find useful tweets. It also links followers out to longer reads like “Project Management is Risk Management. No Wait, it is Communications Management.”
- @ProjectNetwork – Styled the “social network for project managers,” tweets from this feed provide links to Project Network’s daily publication, as well as employment opportunities. Recent posts include “Job: Senior Project Manger – Gyan Infosystems LLC – Vienna, VA” and “Job: Technical Project Manager Sr – PNC Bank – United States.”
- @shim_marom – Shim Maron, project management consultant and self-described “free thinker,” posts advice and tips for project management professionals, including links to his blog quantmleap.com. Recent tweets with links to longer articles include “Avoiding Project Failure” and “From the Quantmleap Archives: Guest Post – Project Risk Management.”