In March 2021, Anke Becker passed the online Project Management Concepts course after maintaining a consistent study habit. During that period, she also contributed insights to help hone the course for future participants. Here’s what she said about her experience.
What Project Management insights that you gained during the course have been most useful to you?
I have been an employee on projects for over 10 years, with a project manager and deputy project manager and the majority of the concepts I have learnt were completely new to me (in terms of project management). I have faced various frustrations on projects as part of a team and I never understood what the underlying problem was. It always just seemed like “bad management”.
Now I can clearly see that there was a lack of clarity within the authority structure, the scope of the project, the management of the scope (and budget) and there was absolutely no risk management (it was all issue management). This causes a lot of tension and stress for everyone as you are always trying to put out fires.
It has brought home to me the fact that so many people have the qualifications and they have experience in one area (such as HR or Project Schedules etc) and yet that doesn’t mean they can successfully combine and manage the entire project, its a team effort for sure. There was also no attention on all 3 dimensions within management roles. This too has such an impact on everyone on the project. The key learning for me is that I need to focus on myself and developing the 3 dimensions that I bring to the table. So that I can be there for the team in all aspects and not only within the realm of what interests me.
Have your writing skills improved as a result of the course? If so, in what way?
I have always enjoyed writing; however, it has always been for fun. I have regained newfound respect for professional writing and it has inspired me to improve my own as it is an area where I definitely can improve greatly. It is something I enjoy and want to continue to practise where ever possible. I would be very interested in a writing course that could possibly help me in this area. Or any recommendations on writing courses would be greatly appreciated.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable were you with reading basic schedule information* before the course and by the end of the course?
0 before and 10 by the end.
* Schedule information refers to plans drawn up in project scheduling software such as Microsoft Project, using the Critical Path Method (employing a network diagram), and Gantt charts.
What personal changes have you made as a result of the course?
I have been resilient with my schedule and remained disciplined throughout, this is a characteristic I had prior to starting the course. I was challenged in my way of thinking especially when we reached the Rule for Risk sections, as I have been exposed to certain environments where things are a certain way. And at first, it was uncomfortable for me to accept that in fact there are environments where things are very different. The feedback and the pause period between the information really gave me time to process and change my perspective. I would get the most interesting insights while on a walk or right before bed at night. My critical thinking and systems thinking has definitely improved and I would also say my creative thinking. I have more clear ideas and am better able to put these ideas into concrete plans that can be implemented.
What advice do you have for others to prepare for the exam?
Don’t delay your exam date. If you remained consistent throughout the course, I would say give yourself 5 days OFF to relax completely and not even think about the exam. Then schedule your exam within the next week. That is what I did. I completed all the exam preparation quiz/tests and did the Practise Exam 3 times. I read through all my notes and I read through my List of Terms.
How would you describe your overall experience of the Project Management Concepts course?
I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am quite sad that it is over. I learnt so much, Tania was so attentive and patient and helpful. She is the reason I decided to sign up for the course, her genuine interest in what is best for me is very evident over the phone, in her emails and in her messages. I truly felt supported and guided throughout the entire process.
How did this course and method of learning differ from other formal studies which you’ve done (or which you’re doing right now)?
It was so much more enjoyable. I felt that I learned so much easier and better. I actually learned something and didn’t want to stop. I wish that all of my studies had been offered in this way.
At only R2,760, Project Management Concepts is a unique gateway to personal growth in the world of Project Management. Find out more.