Why do you want to learn to use Microsoft Project well?

By Tania Melnyczuk

To some extent, the rationale behind the requirement to use Microsoft Project well also determines the best route to fulfilling that requirement. Do you want help right now, or is becoming an expert user part of a longer-term career move? Or do you want better overall planning and reporting in your organisation?

1. Getting help with a specific project right now

You may want help with a specific project, right now. In fact, this would be the best way of learning. You’d make with maximum connections in your learning, and greatly enhance your ability to make contextual decisions, because you will be learning how to take real needs and use your best thinking for solving problems. Consultative Tutoring in Microsoft Project can make a significant diffence.

Through the years, I’ve assisted many project managers throughout Africa who have found themselves stuck, not sure where they are with their schedule or what to realistically tell the client. Working with the relevant stakeholders to build or clean up the plan, Consultative Tutoring in Microsoft Project can help you understand where the time, cost and scope are heading.

Consultative Tutoring in Microsoft Project from ProjectManagement.co.za

2. Becoming a professional project planner, project scheduler or project engineer—or simply a better project manager

If learning Microsoft Project is part of a career move, my advice is simple: do the PCP. Over many years, I’ve seen a workplace demand for people who not only have a certificate from Microsoft, but who have mastered the use of Microsoft Project real projects. Some of these people are project managers, whereas others are professional project schedulers.

The Practical Certification Programme in Project Management (PCP) is a part-time programme with an incremental payment model. It provides both the certificate and the real-world competency.

International competency standards for Project Management, such as the PMCDF, emphasise the importance of scheduling. But most degrees, diplomas and certificates in Project Management do not require candidates to truly master project scheduling in order to earn their credential. As a result, graduates of these courses tend to make career moves unequipped for what lies ahead.

Through the years, and after all these years…

Through the years, we’ve encountered many experienced project managers who were unwittingly crippled by not having thorough practical skills and ability in project scheduling using suitable software.

We developed the PCP based on years of working with people tasked with the management of projects. (Before that, we spent years delivering excellent academic syllabus-based training that unfortunately does not make a significant difference to people’s work!)

3. Implementing Microsoft Project in the organisation

This is where we help organisations manage their risk.

The most common fallacy about Microsoft Project can be summed up in this sentence: “Send someone on a Microsoft Project course and our projects will go better.”

When we view Project Management as an organisational discipline, we begin to realise that implementing Microsoft Project is part of implementing Project Management.

Training people to use Microsoft Project without linking the endeavour to strategic considerations, becomes expensive and ineffective. I’m not talking about making this into a bigger thing than it needs to be. It just needs to be done step by step, with the bigger picture and the end in mind. There has to be a significant return on the investment!

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Tania Melnyczuk

Tania is the Director of Programme Design at ProjectManagement.co.za and the Collaboration Director of the Autistic Strategies Network. She also works as a project specialist at Marius Cloete Moulds, and as a professional artist specialising in ballpoint and multimedia.


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