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Emotional Intelligence for Project Management Practitioners

Economic figures indicate a significant and growing need for innovation in today's global economy. In order to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, an organization's chosen strategy must be reinforced. A common approach is the use of process improvement and project management techniques to execute strategic initiatives. These two important domains can integrate and align vital business strategy to help achieve organizational goals. The growing use of organizational change initiatives in the pursuit of excellence has created an increased importance for developing effective leadership competencies. The need for success is placing a renewed emphasis on one very unique role — the project manager responsible for successfully leading these strategic change initiatives. These organizational leaders, who perform well due to their technical skills, are promoted to act as the organizational change agents and often lack development in the critical interpersonal skills, which include leadership, communication, conflict management, and problem solving. Recent research contends that interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, which constitute emotional intelligence (EI) play a more important role than cognitive intelligence, particularly in determining personal success and engagement of people in the workplace (Rabicoff, 2010). Personal competencies of confidence, emotional control, and interpersonal skills form a basis for predicting a person's potential (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2004). Skills and Competencies of the Project Management PractitionerOver the years, numerous studies have determined that organizational change initiatives tend to fail as a result of poor leadership and have identified interpersonal skills as the critical component when measuring a leader's effectiveness. One emerging aspect of the interpersonal skills is emotional intelligence (EI). Emotions are key drivers in making sound decisions. Our logical thinking is often only rational justifications for our emotional decisions. EI is the ability to sense, understand, manage, and apply emotional data that can aid in leading, motivating, and influencing critical stakeholders. New research is emerging on the value and applicability of EI and the skills and competencies that require a culture of quality and a work environment in which innovation is embraced and allowed to flourish. Over a decade of research has consistently demonstrated that those with higher EI abilities are more likely to perform at a higher level than their less emotionally intelligent coworkers. Leading management textbooks now include substantial coverage of the latest research on EI. EI is recognized as another tool that organizational leaders can use in their efforts to understand and to predict behaviour. The Accidental Project ManagerProject management practitioners, who perform well due to their technical skills, are often promoted to project managers and lack development in the interpersonal skills, including communication, leadership, problem solving, and conflict management. For example, a software developer may perform well in developing program code and then be assigned to lead a team of people on a subsequent project. Pinto, Thoms, Trailer, Palmer, and Govekar (1998) stated: “Project teams are frequently headed by people who are chosen for their technical expertise rather than for their leadership abilities” (p. 55). Wong (2007) stated: “Future project leaders will require greater knowledge and skills in managing human factors” (p. 323). Exhibit 1 demonstrates the accidental project manager relying mostly on his or her domain knowledge (see dotted line). The Competent Project ManagerPractitioners need to be well balanced in the technical skills and human skills to manage projects. The technical skills of project management include planning, scheduling, budgeting, and monitoring and controlling. The human skills of project management include communicating, developing and leading teams, and interacting with project stakeholders. Project management is balancing the technical skills along with the people skills. This requires a high level of project competency in combination with personal competencies that are needed to interact with the people throughout the project. Project management practitioners must use other associated areas of expertise and knowledge, to ensure successful projects, including domain knowledge, project management knowledge (hard skills), project management knowledge (soft skills), and general business knowledge (Exhibit 1, see solid blue line). Domain area knowledge is derived from technical, management, and industry practices, such as construction, software development, manufacturing, and so forth. Project management knowledge (hard skills) is unique to the project management profession, such as, schedule development, cost estimating, and risk management. Project management knowledge (soft skills) includes interpersonal skills, such as communication, influence, conflict management, and problem solving. General management knowledge encompasses understanding how the projects align with the corporate strategic objectives. The project manager must be able to interact with the project sponsor, team members, and stakeholders affected by the project. Ineffective project leadership results in misunderstanding of project objectives, lack of acceptance from project team members, and poor decision making (Leban, 2003). Therefore, project managers need to have strong human skills (Wong, 2007). One aspect of human skills is EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). The project manager must be aware of his or her emotions and others' emotions on the project. An emerging concept of managing human skills uses EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). There is a growing body of research, published in respected, peer-reviewed journals, suggesting that EI does play an important role in work-related processes (Cherniss, 2010). Prior to determining which EI abilities to develop, practitioners need to know what their current EI abilities are. Once practitioners know their EI abilities, they can determine which EI abilities to develop, and then improve their human skills in areas such as problem solving, decision making, and leading. Overview of Emotional IntelligenceResearchers have long debated the skills and competencies that are beneficial in the role as an organizational change leader. Researchers have also debated the value and applicability of emotional intelligence in organizations and the value of the various assessment tools available. In the past decade, several research studies have emerged that have investigated the relationship between organizational leaders, emotional intelligence, and the interpersonal skills required to lead and direct these strategic initiatives. In one recent study, across 15 nations and 21 industries, 83% of chief executive officers reported an increasing gap between their expectations for executing organizational change and their organizations' ability to execute organizational change. New research on EI and the interpersonal competencies of organizational leaders is relevant because both may offer avenues that can fuel the effectiveness of organizational adaptability. The Definition of EI Salovey and Mayer (1990) acknowledged Thorndike's definition of social intelligence as “the ability to perceive one's own and others' internal states, motives, and behaviors, and to act toward them optimally on the basis of that information” (p. 187) as foundation to the construct of EI. Salovey and Mayer (1990) established the first formal definition of EI in their seminal article, Emotional Intelligence, as “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions” (p. 189). Salovey and Mayer (1990) postulated that, as a subset of social intelligence, EI monitors, discriminates, and uses the feelings and emotions for thinking and actions. According to Mayer and Salovey (1997), EI is a multi-dimensional construct that relates emotion and cognition with the improvement of human interactions. The History of EI The years ranging from 1900 through 1969 was an era of research into separate areas of intelligence and emotion (Ciarrochi, Forgas, & Mayer, 2006). There were debates among psychologists about whether emotions held universal meaning, or whether they were culturally determined. Ciarrochi et al. (2006) stated, “Darwin had argued that emotions evolved across animal species; this was met with skepticism by social psychologists who believed that emotions were manifested differently in different cultures” (p.6). From 1970 to 1989, intelligence and emotion were integrated into the new field of cognition and affect (Ciarrochi et al., 2006). Understanding of what emotions meant and when they arose were explored. Darwin's theory that emotions evolved across animal species and emotions were universal expressions was validated by Paul Ekman in studies from Papua New Guniea, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, and the former Soviet Union (Ekman, 2003). The term emotional intelligence was occasionally used, but was not defined (Ciarrochi et al., 2006). Howard Gardner (1983) proposed a theory of intrapersonal intelligence. Gardner's (1983) theory was part of a general self and social intelligence and not considered EI. From 1990 to 1997, John Mayer and Peter Salovey published the first formal definitions of EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Mayer & Salovey, 1997). Mayer and Salovey introduced the first EI ability scale based on their four-branch model to measure EI (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). The development of a formal theory of EI provided the starting point for the study of EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Based on the history of intelligence, scholars measured intelligence to a single number and named it intelligence quotient (Christensen, Horn, & Johnson, 2008). Research from academic psychologists indicates that intelligence is much broader than this (Christensen et al., 2008; Gardner, 2008). There is now a proliferation of definitions and models of intelligence. Many researchers have proposed different types of intelligence and among them is EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). The appeal of EI is that it offers a different perspective of what it means to be intelligent (Bienn & Caruso, 2004). The Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology stated there are three major models of EI: the Mayer-Salovery-Caruso EI Test (MSCEIT), Goleman, and Bar-On behavior (Bar-On, 2007b) models. The MSCEIT model defines EI as the ability to perceive emotions, use emotions to facilitate thought, understand emotions, and manage emotions (Bar-On, 2007b). The Goleman model views EI as emotional and social competencies that contribute to workplace performance (Bar-On, 2007b). The Bar-On model describes EI as interrelated emotional and social competencies and skills that impact intelligent behavior (Bar-On, 2007b). Why is EI Important? Organizational leaders who excel with the use of emotional intelligence may be more capable of responding to risk or opportunities. With annual spending on organizational change initiatives in the billions and expecting to grow, it is difficult to overlook the increasing demand for achieving and sustaining success, which creates a growing importance for developing effective leadership competencies. Most organizations seem to appreciate that EI has some relationship to performance, but the understanding of how, where, and why is unclear. The concepts and tools of EI are used in organizations, but the validity and application remain major concerns. There is much confusion on what exactly EI is and how it can be accurately measured. The concept of EI remains unclear. This lack of clarity is reflected in contemporary business, where human resource professionals feel incompetent on the subject, despite claims of massive applicability in organizations. When leading and managing a project, project teams will encounter problems, which will need to be resolved. A few issues that can fuel confrontation within projects include constrained budgets, scope creep, personality clashes, and organizational politics (Hollingsworth, 2010). Resolving these types of conflict requires a project manager with EI to directly confront the issues involved (Mersino, 2007). Clark (2010) stated, “…emotional intelligence and empathy are likely to be key strengths in helping project managers to successfully manage conflict” (p. 6). Solving problems, throughout a project, requires decision making. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (Project Management Institute, 2008) identifies decision-making as an interpersonal skill to resolve problems among stakeholders. From a project management perspective, a key challenge is how to make the right decisions when there is a high degree of uncertainty and make correct judgments to prevent cost overruns and schedule delays (Johansson, Hicks, Larson, & Bertori, 2011). Emotional intelligence is the latest development in understanding the relation between reason and emotion, which can aid in effective decision making (Ciarrochi et al., 2006). Emotions assist people in thinking and decision making (Caruso & Salovey, 2004). Emotions play a key role in good decision making within an organization (Bienn & Caruso, 2004). Individuals differ in their ability to use their own emotions to solve problems (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).  Psychologists acknowledge that EI theories recognize the important four basic components of perceive, understand, use, and manage emotions (Bienn & Caruso, 2004).
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Emotional Intelligence for Project Management Practitioners

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Emotional Intelligence for Project Management Practitioners

Economic figures indicate a significant and growing need for innovation in today's global economy. In order to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, an organization's chosen strategy must be reinforced. A common approach is the use of process improvement and project management techniques to execute strategic initiatives. These two important domains can integrate and align vital business strategy to help achieve organizational goals. 

The growing use of organizational change initiatives in the pursuit of excellence has created an increased importance for developing effective leadership competencies. The need for success is placing a renewed emphasis on one very unique role — the project manager responsible for successfully leading these strategic change initiatives. These organizational leaders, who perform well due to their technical skills, are promoted to act as the organizational change agents and often lack development in the critical interpersonal skills, which include leadership, communication, conflict management, and problem solving. 

Recent research contends that interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, which constitute emotional intelligence (EI) play a more important role than cognitive intelligence, particularly in determining personal success and engagement of people in the workplace (Rabicoff, 2010). Personal competencies of confidence, emotional control, and interpersonal skills form a basis for predicting a person's potential (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2004). 

Skills and Competencies of the Project Management Practitioner

Over the years, numerous studies have determined that organizational change initiatives tend to fail as a result of poor leadership and have identified interpersonal skills as the critical component when measuring a leader's effectiveness. One emerging aspect of the interpersonal skills is emotional intelligence (EI). Emotions are key drivers in making sound decisions. Our logical thinking is often only rational justifications for our emotional decisions. EI is the ability to sense, understand, manage, and apply emotional data that can aid in leading, motivating, and influencing critical stakeholders. 

New research is emerging on the value and applicability of EI and the skills and competencies that require a culture of quality and a work environment in which innovation is embraced and allowed to flourish. Over a decade of research has consistently demonstrated that those with higher EI abilities are more likely to perform at a higher level than their less emotionally intelligent coworkers. Leading management textbooks now include substantial coverage of the latest research on EI. EI is recognized as another tool that organizational leaders can use in their efforts to understand and to predict behaviour. 

The Accidental Project Manager

Project management practitioners, who perform well due to their technical skills, are often promoted to project managers and lack development in the interpersonal skills, including communication, leadership, problem solving, and conflict management. For example, a software developer may perform well in developing program code and then be assigned to lead a team of people on a subsequent project. Pinto, Thoms, Trailer, Palmer, and Govekar (1998) stated: “Project teams are frequently headed by people who are chosen for their technical expertise rather than for their leadership abilities” (p. 55). Wong (2007) stated: “Future project leaders will require greater knowledge and skills in managing human factors” (p. 323). Exhibit 1 demonstrates the accidental project manager relying mostly on his or her domain knowledge (see dotted line). 

The Competent Project Manager

Practitioners need to be well balanced in the technical skills and human skills to manage projects. The technical skills of project management include planning, scheduling, budgeting, and monitoring and controlling. The human skills of project management include communicating, developing and leading teams, and interacting with project stakeholders. Project management is balancing the technical skills along with the people skills. This requires a high level of project competency in combination with personal competencies that are needed to interact with the people throughout the project. 

Project management practitioners must use other associated areas of expertise and knowledge, to ensure successful projects, including domain knowledge, project management knowledge (hard skills), project management knowledge (soft skills), and general business knowledge (Exhibit 1, see solid blue line). Domain area knowledge is derived from technical, management, and industry practices, such as construction, software development, manufacturing, and so forth. Project management knowledge (hard skills) is unique to the project management profession, such as, schedule development, cost estimating, and risk management. Project management knowledge (soft skills) includes interpersonal skills, such as communication, influence, conflict management, and problem solving. General management knowledge encompasses understanding how the projects align with the corporate strategic objectives. 

The project manager must be able to interact with the project sponsor, team members, and stakeholders affected by the project. Ineffective project leadership results in misunderstanding of project objectives, lack of acceptance from project team members, and poor decision making (Leban, 2003). Therefore, project managers need to have strong human skills (Wong, 2007). One aspect of human skills is EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). The project manager must be aware of his or her emotions and others' emotions on the project. 

An emerging concept of managing human skills uses EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). There is a growing body of research, published in respected, peer-reviewed journals, suggesting that EI does play an important role in work-related processes (Cherniss, 2010). Prior to determining which EI abilities to develop, practitioners need to know what their current EI abilities are. Once practitioners know their EI abilities, they can determine which EI abilities to develop, and then improve their human skills in areas such as problem solving, decision making, and leading. 

Overview of Emotional Intelligence

Researchers have long debated the skills and competencies that are beneficial in the role as an organizational change leader. Researchers have also debated the value and applicability of emotional intelligence in organizations and the value of the various assessment tools available. In the past decade, several research studies have emerged that have investigated the relationship between organizational leaders, emotional intelligence, and the interpersonal skills required to lead and direct these strategic initiatives. In one recent study, across 15 nations and 21 industries, 83% of chief executive officers reported an increasing gap between their expectations for executing organizational change and their organizations' ability to execute organizational change. New research on EI and the interpersonal competencies of organizational leaders is relevant because both may offer avenues that can fuel the effectiveness of organizational adaptability. 

The Definition of EI 

Salovey and Mayer (1990) acknowledged Thorndike's definition of social intelligence as “the ability to perceive one's own and others' internal states, motives, and behaviors, and to act toward them optimally on the basis of that information” (p. 187) as foundation to the construct of EI. Salovey and Mayer (1990) established the first formal definition of EI in their seminal article, Emotional Intelligence, as “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions” (p. 189). Salovey and Mayer (1990) postulated that, as a subset of social intelligence, EI monitors, discriminates, and uses the feelings and emotions for thinking and actions. According to Mayer and Salovey (1997), EI is a multi-dimensional construct that relates emotion and cognition with the improvement of human interactions. 

The History of EI 

The years ranging from 1900 through 1969 was an era of research into separate areas of intelligence and emotion (Ciarrochi, Forgas, & Mayer, 2006). There were debates among psychologists about whether emotions held universal meaning, or whether they were culturally determined. Ciarrochi et al. (2006) stated, “Darwin had argued that emotions evolved across animal species; this was met with skepticism by social psychologists who believed that emotions were manifested differently in different cultures” (p.6). 

From 1970 to 1989, intelligence and emotion were integrated into the new field of cognition and affect (Ciarrochi et al., 2006). Understanding of what emotions meant and when they arose were explored. Darwin's theory that emotions evolved across animal species and emotions were universal expressions was validated by Paul Ekman in studies from Papua New Guniea, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, and the former Soviet Union (Ekman, 2003). The term emotional intelligence was occasionally used, but was not defined (Ciarrochi et al., 2006). Howard Gardner (1983) proposed a theory of intrapersonal intelligence. Gardner's (1983) theory was part of a general self and social intelligence and not considered EI. 

From 1990 to 1997, John Mayer and Peter Salovey published the first formal definitions of EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Mayer & Salovey, 1997). Mayer and Salovey introduced the first EI ability scale based on their four-branch model to measure EI (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). The development of a formal theory of EI provided the starting point for the study of EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). 

Based on the history of intelligence, scholars measured intelligence to a single number and named it intelligence quotient (Christensen, Horn, & Johnson, 2008). Research from academic psychologists indicates that intelligence is much broader than this (Christensen et al., 2008; Gardner, 2008). There is now a proliferation of definitions and models of intelligence. Many researchers have proposed different types of intelligence and among them is EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). The appeal of EI is that it offers a different perspective of what it means to be intelligent (Bienn & Caruso, 2004). 

The Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology stated there are three major models of EI: the Mayer-Salovery-Caruso EI Test (MSCEIT), Goleman, and Bar-On behavior (Bar-On, 2007b) models. The MSCEIT model defines EI as the ability to perceive emotions, use emotions to facilitate thought, understand emotions, and manage emotions (Bar-On, 2007b). The Goleman model views EI as emotional and social competencies that contribute to workplace performance (Bar-On, 2007b). The Bar-On model describes EI as interrelated emotional and social competencies and skills that impact intelligent behavior (Bar-On, 2007b). 

Why is EI Important? 

Organizational leaders who excel with the use of emotional intelligence may be more capable of responding to risk or opportunities. With annual spending on organizational change initiatives in the billions and expecting to grow, it is difficult to overlook the increasing demand for achieving and sustaining success, which creates a growing importance for developing effective leadership competencies. 

Most organizations seem to appreciate that EI has some relationship to performance, but the understanding of how, where, and why is unclear. The concepts and tools of EI are used in organizations, but the validity and application remain major concerns. There is much confusion on what exactly EI is and how it can be accurately measured. The concept of EI remains unclear. This lack of clarity is reflected in contemporary business, where human resource professionals feel incompetent on the subject, despite claims of massive applicability in organizations. 

When leading and managing a project, project teams will encounter problems, which will need to be resolved. A few issues that can fuel confrontation within projects include constrained budgets, scope creep, personality clashes, and organizational politics (Hollingsworth, 2010). Resolving these types of conflict requires a project manager with EI to directly confront the issues involved (Mersino, 2007). Clark (2010) stated, “…emotional intelligence and empathy are likely to be key strengths in helping project managers to successfully manage conflict” (p. 6). 

Solving problems, throughout a project, requires decision making. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (Project Management Institute, 2008) identifies decision-making as an interpersonal skill to resolve problems among stakeholders. From a project management perspective, a key challenge is how to make the right decisions when there is a high degree of uncertainty and make correct judgments to prevent cost overruns and schedule delays (Johansson, Hicks, Larson, & Bertori, 2011). 

Emotional intelligence is the latest development in understanding the relation between reason and emotion, which can aid in effective decision making (Ciarrochi et al., 2006). Emotions assist people in thinking and decision making (Caruso & Salovey, 2004). Emotions play a key role in good decision making within an organization (Bienn & Caruso, 2004). Individuals differ in their ability to use their own emotions to solve problems (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).  

Psychologists acknowledge that EI theories recognize the important four basic components of perceive, understand, use, and manage emotions (Bienn & Caruso, 2004).

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Top 10 Certifications in Project Management

Whether it is the IT or non-IT industry, a successful project always depends on a highly competent project manager. An adept and proactive project manager helps the teams in becoming consistently productive and accountable for their tasks and responsibilities. Nowadays project management is a highly pursued job title. Any professional aspiring to be a project manager can greatly benefit from working in this role. This is not only because of the lucrative salary but also because a lot of skills can be acquired after being certified as a project manager, like knowing how to plan, schedule, budget, execute, deliver and then report on the business projects. Here are some of the top certifications in project management that companies are looking for, presently:1. PMP®: Project Management Professional Project Management Professional (PMP)® is one of the top-level project management certifications and is globally recognized as the gold standard in project management. By being PMP® certified, you can work in any industry with any methodology irrespective of the situation. This certification includes all the top necessities required to test your knowledge and skills in managing the project "triple constraints", that is time, cost, and scope.Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria:Eligibility RequirementFour-year degree or global equivalentA secondary degree or global equivalentYears of Project Management Experience3 Years (36 months)5 Years (60 months)Hours Leading & Directing Projects4,500 Hours7,500 HoursHours of Project Management Education35 Hours35 Hours2. CAPM®: Certified Associate in Project Management Another certification governed and accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® lays the foundation stone for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. 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Scrum Alliance® offers this CSM® credential and is a non-profit organization that promotes the concept of adopting Scrum and agile practices. The organization globally has 450,000 plus certified practitioners. Accreditation body: Scrum Alliance® Eligibility criteria: There is no set of eligibility requirements to attend this Scrum Master Certification course and it can be taken by freshers or professionals who want to:Extend their careers in project management.Strengthen their grasp of Scrum.4. PMI-RMP®: Project Management Institute-Risk Management ProfessionalNowadays it is normal for any undergoing project to face risks at every stage, thus affecting its execution, success rate, and the final result. This requires planning the project by detecting potential risks, both threats, and opportunities, taking actions to reduce threats, and increasing opportunities.  The Project Management Institute-Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® credential affirms that Risk Managers know the best way to identify project risks and lessen threats while making the best of available opportunities. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria: Either Secondary degree (high school diploma, an associate degree, or the global equivalent) 4,500 hours of project risk management experience within the last 5 consecutive years 40 hours of project risk management education Or Four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent) 3,000 hours of project risk management experience within the last 5 consecutive years 30 hours of project risk management education5. CompTIA Project+ certificationTraining in the CompTIA Project+ certification will enable professionals to learn and implement common project management principles and important soft skills such as team building, conflict resolution, communication, negotiation, setting, and managing expectations. CompTIA's Project+ serves as a primary-level project management credential.Accreditation body: CompTIAEligibility criteria:There are no strict prerequisites, however, according to CompTIA, a candidate should have at least one year of experience managing, directing, or participating in small- to medium-scale projects.6. PRINCE2® Foundation/PRINCE2 PractitionerAccredited by Axelos, PRINCE2® is a de facto standard that describes project management standards and assists in forming consistency among projects. It began in the UK and then applied it to its government entities. 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However, it is recommended to possess basic project management knowledge.PRINCE2® Practitioner Certification: To get certified with PRINCE2® Practitioner Certification, applicants must have one of the below-mentioned certifications:PRINCE2® Foundation Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director) IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager) IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager) IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate)7. PgMP®: Program Management Professional (PgMP)® Certification Training This certification is created and administered by the PMI® and is the next step, after achieving the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification. PgMP® is for professionals who coordinate and manage multiple projects aligned with strategic objectives. This includes directing and managing complicated activities that may extend over functions, organizations, cultures, and geographies.With the PgMP® certification, professionals will strengthen their grasp in the six prime focus areas of program management such as Governance, Prioritization, Escalation, Resource Management, Benefits Realization, and Stakeholder Management. 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Top 10 Certifications in Project Management

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10 Project Management Challenges in 2020

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Setting deadlines Client-satisfaction is a major requirement, however, the deadlines set should be realistic to maintain both the quality and productivity of the project outcome, along with a focus on keeping the morale of the team members high. Also, no matter how hard people work, deadlines can sometimes not be met due to various unavoidable reasons. Managing those problems effectively by analyzing and finding alternate solutions can get the team out of such uncomfortable situations. 2. Proposing a budget planA project might face budget issues if the required amount to be invested is not analyzed and predicted. Effective project managers envision this by providing up-to-date information and inform the stakeholders of any challenges that a project might encounter if the required budget is not allocated. 3. Defining goalsA project will not be run and be executed properly without properly defined targets and expectations. A  visionary project manager always stays one step ahead by planning properly. This is achieved by communicating with the team and the relevant people in the company to chalk-out a clear project strategy and have the necessary tools and resources ready before the project is even initiated. 4. Project ScopeThis is by far one of the biggest project management obstacles that project managers face. Scope in project management is a general understanding among stakeholders about what is incorporated in a project and what elements make it successful. Anything that does not fall within the required functionalities and specifications to run the project is documented in the scope statement. The way out of this sticky situation is for the project manager to step in and make the team work according to the required functions and features to deliver a product with the desired results. 5. Competing prioritiesThere might be other conflicting projects that will tend to reduce the speed at which a project is running. The key is to determine how this might impact the delivery of the focused project, doing which will let the portfolio management or project sponsors decide which project should be prioritized. 6. CommunicationThe main part of the role of a project manager is to communicate clearly and effectively with the team and the relevant people at work. A capable and ambitious project manager always includes everyone involved ensuring that they are all in sync and step in the same direction to succeed in the project. The order of the day should be headed with daily and crisp updates. 7. Physically distributed teamsGone are the days when companies have teams working from the same location. Nowadays, teams of the same company are scattered across various cities and countries while working on the same project. This is quite normal in large organizations, so project managers need to coordinate with the various teams to efficiently manage tasks over different countries or time zones. 8. Numerous projects It is not up to a project manager to decide on working on a specific set of projects. In such cases where there are multiple projects to manage simultaneously, an efficient project manager who is well-organized and multitasking holds the key to finish all the assigned projects with equal importance. 9. FlexibilityIn large-scale projects, there might be a change in requirements, and elements that were originally not supposed to be a part of the project need to be included to fulfill the new criteria of the project. Plans change and this is also true while running a project. A project never runs with a constant set of instructions and strategies. Adapting to the changing requirements and acting accordingly by incorporating new changes is what a proactive project manager works on. 10. Risk ManagementAnother essential part of project management preparation is to learn to spot, analyze, and avoid risks while heading a project. Risk management is a general beneficial trait that is expected of project managers. The reason is working on projects is never a straight forward task. There will be challenges arising at the most unpredictable times and things may not always go according to how it is planned. Project managers collect input, develop trust, and see through the parts of a project that are most likely to fall off-track. The best way forwardThere will always be challenges while working on a project. So it is essential to possess multiple and effective project management skills to run the show. Aspiring project managers can achieve this by undergoing high-end project management training to assess their skills and work on the parts where it needs improvement. Continually upgrading and improving is what keeps project managers ahead in the game.
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10 Project Management Challenges in 2020

Out of the many tasks of a project manager to bala... Read More

Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

Foresighted managers and leaders don’t necessarily follow just one project management methodology. They learn all of them so that they have the awareness to deploy the right methodology for the right project. According to industry experts, project management methodologies are vital to project success. A recent study by PMI confirmed that about 89% of the project professionals believed that their organizations implemented some project management practice or the other.What is a project methodology? It’s a blueprint that shows how tasks and projects can be planned, managed, and executed, right from start to finish. It includes a combination of practices, techniques and procedures followed by project managers. Why choose a project management methodology? A recent survey published by the Harvard Business Review revealed that the lack of time was the major hindrance to collaboration within project teams. Since projects are fast-paced and must adhere to deadlines, collaboration is quintessential. This is where, adopting a project management methodology comes to play. Projects are incredibly fast paced with competing deadlines, hence collaboration is the best way to keep the team engaged, heighten productivity and save time in the long run. Practicing a methodology is a great way to boost collaboration as well as deliver project success. Top 7 project management methodologies Below are the top 7 methodologies in the project management landscape today: 1. Agile According to a KPMG survey, 81% of enterprises had adopted Agile in the past 3 years. The most favorite methodology, Agile is actually a set of principles involved in software development. However, it’s hailed as a project management methodology for its flexibility and capability to build processes. Agile projects have a series of tasks that are initiated, executed and adapted based on ad hoc demands, rather than a pre-planned process. Hence, Agile is apt for dynamic environments where the unpredictability factor is quite high.  2. Scrum Scrum is the project management methodology that enables a small, cross-functional, self-managing team to deliver results quickly.  It helps boost communication, teamwork and speed of the processes. Terms like sprints, scrums, backlogs and burndowns are commonly used in scrum methodology. Scrum is ideal for environments that handle complex products.  It advocates the use of a small, cross-functional teams of upto 9 people who work on items in a backlog that have been clearly defined and prioritized by a Product Owner. Work is categorized into “sprints”, a development cycle of usually 2-4 weeks. During these sprints daily “Scrums” take place where the team report on their daily progress and impediments. At the end of each sprint, work is then reviewed in a sprint review meeting to determine together with the Product Owner if it clears the Definition of Done (DoD). Scrum is further facilitated by a Scrum Master who leads the sprints, demos, reviews and ensures that the team is continually optimizing and improving. 3. LeanLean project management is the methodology that emphasizes the dictum of maximizing value while minimizing waste. In project management, it aims at creating most value with a minimum amount of resources, labour, and space. There are 3 ‘M’s in Lean: Muda refers to wasteful activities that consume resources without value generation, Muri refers to overutilization of equipment or employees and Mura which corresponds to operational inefficiency. Lean project management methodologies when practiced are capable of reducing these 3 Ms within the project process. 4. Kanban Kanban is a project management methodology that’s focused on Lean principles. Its primary focus is to increase efficiency. It’s an evolved version of Scrum. It’s flexible and not focussed on roles. It keeps the team focussed on what actually matters. It’s ideal for environments where priorities are changed frequently. The online tool Trello is based on Kanban. It gives an accurate visual depiction of the progress of work for the team and other stakeholders. It’s ideal in organizations that demand a consistent output. 5. eXtreme Programming methodology (XP)  eXtreme programming (XP) is also a software development project management methodology that focuses solely on development  while ensuring quality. It lays down the processes needed to improve software quality as well as meet customer requirements. It is quite similar to Scrum but differs in certain prescriptive processes. These processes include making compulsory user stories, Test Driven Development (TDD), Pair programming, and Continuous integration. 6. Waterfall  Waterfall methodology, also known as the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) values solid planning and doing everything in one shot unlike Agile. Planning and resource allocation are done in the beginning, work is executed in cascades. Like a waterfall. However, Waterfall is pretty rigid as it offers no scope to make changes to the plan unless absolutely necessary. Because of this approach, upon reaching the testing stage, it’s very difficult to go back and rectify mistakes. That could end up being quite risky. The many shortcomings of Waterfall approach is the reason why Agile methodologies gained acceptance worldwide. 7. PRINCE2   Created by the UK govt in 1996 for IT projects, PRINCE2 methodology is controlled project management practice which divides projects into various stages with their own set of plans and processes to follow. It’s an excellent framework that can be applied mostly in the large projects. It lays down the need for the project, identifies the target audience and whether the project is feasible.  A PRINCE2 Practitioner often oversees the team in these projects and ensures that the team has the right resources and guidelines to conduct the project as well as mitigate risks effectively. Ultimately, choosing the right project management methodology is based on the project and business environment. When chosen appropriately, these methodologies can play a major role in project success. Learn more about project management methodologies like these from our series of immersive workshops.
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Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

Foresighted managers and leaders don’t necessa... Read More