While project management is a key component of many roles, most professionals find themselves learning on the job. But effective project management is more than just a bullet point on a resume—it’s a specific competency that drives an organization’s success. Most employers and managers are looking for proof that you can make a valuable impact on their business, on time and on budget, so what’s the best way to show you have what it takes?
Through a suite of classes at the University Learning Store, you can get credit for the interpersonal skills you’ve honed over the years or establish new proficiencies like writing effective emails and scoping for success. Earning digital badges (or credentials) in these areas can help you quickly learn and share your mastery with a manager or prospective employer. Most badges can be completed in days or a few weeks, so you can focus on your professional responsibilities while mastering these project management essentials.
- Gaining Support
No matter your title, you likely need to get support from internal stakeholders to advance your project. The most effective project managers make sure all parties understand their roles in advance by outlining a charter. A project charter is a summary document that clearly defines objectives, stakeholders and scope. Thinking broadly about project parameters requires practice, and you can master this essential talent on your own time with a digital badge. Developing a Project Charter is a University of Wisconsin Extension course that covers how to write a thoughtfully detailed project charter that helps you start strong and move a project forward quickly.
- Scoping without Surprises
Defining (and sticking to) the scope of a project is critical to its success—and your reputation. A project manager is responsible for making sure all the stakeholders stay true to the scope outlined in the project charter. Yet once a project gets under way, it’s easy to start adding new elements without properly vetting them with stakeholders. Known as “scope creep,” the phenomenon can quickly cause projects to veer off course, jeopardizing positive outcomes, budget and other resources. The best way to prevent scope creep? Clearly define your objectives at the outset. Then when new ideas arise, you can easily decide whether or not they fall within your plan. So how do you write a bulletproof scope of work? Fortunately there’s a badge for that. Enroll in Defining Project Requirements and Scope, a course developed by a UW–Parkside faculty member, and learn how to avoid surprises that could cost you or your employer money.
- Communicating Professionally
It seems straightforward, but communication can make or break a project. As a manager, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open: share updates, answer questions and celebrate successes. One strategy to maintain engagement is to switch up your communication channels. Mix in phone calls and face-to-face meetings with your regular email updates. A certification in Business Communications can help you brush up on skills you haven’t practiced in a while, like communicating confidently and professionally by phone. When your communication is consistent, your team members will reciprocate by keeping you in the loop on progress and sharing noteworthy insights. Effective communication in the workplace will pay off again and again as your project teams develop a culture of transparency.
- Documenting Results (The Right Way)
The final piece of a project is reporting results. As the group leader, it’s your responsibility to share your team’s work with the rest of your organization. You’ll want to celebrate accomplishments while capturing key takeaways and lessons learned. This project evaluation will serve as a starting point for future assignments, so you want to get it right. But what’s the best way to balance data and analysis? How do you decide which insights pack the most punch? This is the perfect opportunity to supplement your experience with a digital badge. Master your documentation skills with Writing Meeting Minutes and Follow-up Emails, an affordable online class supported by the higher ed partners of the University Learning Store.
With the right mix of project management skills, you can avoid surprises and drive positive results for your organization. Sign up for a class that’s perfect for project managers.