Five Free Online Project Management Courses

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At first glance, you may be wondering what project management has to do with marketing. You may be surprised at how much project management goes into marketing. Effective project management can help you deliver marketing campaigns that are not only on time and on budget but more effective. A project plan can help you to coordinate and handle many of the uncertain activities that happen because let's face it not everything in marketing is predictable and we deal with a lot of unknowns. Using project management and planning you can increase the chances of your success.

Some would say that project managers are good with scheduling, record keeping, and budgets, but lack strategic and creative thinking. Using the same line of thought some would say marketers are great at creative thinking but lack in the details.

In today's market, it's not uncommon for one person to have to do both, project manage and market. As a marketer, you may not only have to think and strategize, but it also may be your responsibility to carry out the program.

Project management offers many benefits to marketing including:

  • Creating a clear plan in the coordination of activities and resources.
  • Identifying a baseline that serves as a reference when managing your marketing project.
  • Development of a timeline and schedule that everyone can follow.

Your project plan will serve as an active document that is updated on a consistent basis and will help you in managing the process. It will help you with overseeing individual tasks, schedule durations, resources, flow, milestones, and responsibilities and dependencies as well as start and finish dates.

Most marketers are not project managers. Often in big corporations, you have project managers that work directly with marketing teams. However, in small businesses or in solo operations you may not have this luxury. I think we will all agree that the skillset in project management is important in marketing, so if you are playing both roles how do you acquire those skills?

I've found some online resources that offer project management courses that are either free or low-cost. It may be worth a look if you are ready to brush up on your project management skills.

  • Project Management in Marketing by OxLearn
    • Unlike some of the other courses I found, this course specifically speaks to marketers that are involved in project management. It introduces the concept of project management and related disciplines like market research, using data, business cases, and risk management. The level of the course is basic to advanced and duration of the course is 3 hours. It's not free, but it's reasonably priced. Course delivery is done using videos.
    • Introduction to Project Management by University of California
  • It is a hands-on course developed by the University of California and offered through their OpenCourseware program. This course will help you in equipping you with the skills to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget. It will provide you with a strong knowledge of project management basics including project scope, work breakdown structure, creating a project plan, creating a project budget, and more.
  • This project management course offers a diploma. It appears to be a little more comprehensive than some of the others. It covers a case study in project management, the history of project management and even interviews with project managers. It will guide you through the methodology of project management such as PERT diagrams, scheduling and using what is call the Critical Path Method. If you are looking to study more of the methodology rather than have a hands-on approach, this could be the course for you.
  • It is a short course that you will work individually in. You'll walk through a fictional project and a real project of your choice. You'll learn how to create two important components in project management; the project overview statement and the work breakdown structure. The lessons are online and provided text-based. If you are just wanting a brief course that will help guide you down the right path, this one would be my choice.
  • It is a beginner course in project management. LatitudeU offers short and easy-to-follow lessons combined with interactive activities that will help you grasp the concepts. The course will walk you through four phases of project management and includes an expected time worksheet. Estimated duration of the course is 2.75 hours so that you could squeeze it in over a weekend.