Project management certificate programs - how to choose the right one

Gain the skills necessary to master the project lifecycle to successfully manage projects of all sizes.
Gain the skills necessary to master the project lifecycle to successfully manage projects of all sizes.

You know the right Project Management Certificate Program can accelerate your career by honing your tactical and leadership skills and increasing your visibility to senior staff, but choosing a proven and trusted resource for your project management training remains a crucial step toward that goal.

When searching for a project management certificate course, look for a provider that is not only a proven resource, but a progressive one. You need a program that is designed to train you in the latest in project management thought and tactics, so you can offer the most advanced project management methodology to your organization.

Don't skip the "basics"
Though you may have an innate talent for organizing, scheduling and driving a project through a rough timeline, the right project management training will refine those talents, so you'll sharpen the project management skills you already have and bolster them by acquiring new strategies and tactics.

The project lifecycle can be bloated by inefficiency, but a good certificate program will help you minimize that problem, closing gaps and weeding out opportunities for waste. Look for programs that lay a solid foundation of project management training such as proficiency in using a project charter, creating informed responsibility assignment matrices, and accurately estimating durations for each step of the project. A sound understanding of the more rudimentary pieces of a successful project gives you every advantage as you guide stakeholders and resources through processes to project completion, so don't skip the basics. Even experienced project managers can learn new ways to run more efficient projects.

Communication is key
Communicating with stakeholders and resources, and then helping them to communicate effectively with one another, is one of the unique challenges project managers face every day. To become an expert at leading team communication, you'll want to find a project management certificate course that teaches business-focused communication with a convincing personal touch.

Look for courses that include training in determining stakeholder information needs and project communication requirements. Gathering the right project goals and steering a team towards the desired outcomes depends entirely on hearing those goals accurately, so it's imperative that your project management certificate program can provide guidance in identifying stakeholder expectations and creating project strategies to satisfy them.

Likewise, effective project team leadership depends on your becoming a skilled motivator of others, communicating project goals, priorities and changes to them in a way that resonates and inspires. Good training programs train project managers in skills such as developing project scope statements and decomposing a project to build a work breakdown structure (WBS).

For experienced project managers, you'll want to find a program that delivers everything described above, plus educates you on the strategic alignment of an organization's project portfolio and developing a project management office (PMO).

Project managers are in the uniquely powerful position of being able to influence the financial performance of the organization, so it's important to learn to communicate the value of projects to senior leadership in a language they understand.

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