I’m a planner at heart; I plan everything from my social life to my food shopping! And now I’m making a career out of it. So, I thought I would take my project management skills to the next level…
I spent last week on a PRINCE2 project management course delivered by a company called Knowledge Train. I chose Knowledge Train because it’s had great reviews and its courses are competitively priced. Each morning I went to London, commuting on a packed train and ready to learn.
I was surprised to see the variety of people on the course. I was training alongside people who worked for the UN, The Foreign Office, Microsoft and local borough councils.
So, what did I learn?
The course was all about the PRINCE2 way of managing projects. Rather than learning ‘how to be a good project manager’, The PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) methodology is based around the customer/supplier relationship. It’s perfect training for working at Oculus as we work with many clients and many external suppliers, including freelance designers, developers, printers and photographers.
A structured project management method like PRINCE2 ensures all projects are managed in a logical, organised way, following defined steps, and that roles – project manager, the executive (who oversees the project manager and ensures the project is completed), senior users (in charge of the end product) and senior suppliers (in charge of the design/functionality of the product) – are correctly utilised, preventing duplicated work and miscommunication.
The seven themes of PRINCE2
- Make sure you have a valid business case before the project starts
- Choose the correct members of the organisation to work on the project
- Ensure there’s a robust quality control system in place
- Plan the project
- Carry out a risk analysis
- Assess any changes as soon as they occur
- Always monitor progress of the project
It’s vital that these themes are assessed continually throughout the project, so in the event of any change or unexpected risk, the business case and/or plans are always updated.
Project management at Oculus
Here, we manage projects that involve a number of people with a variety of skill sets. My PRINCE2 training means that I’m able to accurately delegate roles and responsibilities to ensure any issues are escalated to the correct people. For example, my senior account director provides me with a budget. If a developer is spending too much time on a website, they can come to me and I can confirm whether this is OK. If not, I can escalate this and ensure actions are taken to prevent over-spending or further complications.
At Oculus we write a number of documents when kicking off a project and PRINCE2 has taught me the importance of keeping on top of these. Writing additional documents when projects are in progress, for example lesson logs, will come in handy at the start of new projects to ensure no errors are repeated.
In general, I think I chose the right course for me, especially as this course is recognised in the UK and Australia, rather than Project Management Professional (PMP), which is more useful in the US). I can apply my theory and put this into practice here at Oculus, ensuring projects are structured, managed efficiently and delivered to the best standard possible.