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Anyone have experience with Project Management programs?

gtpeach

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As I take on more of an active role in our regional planning district commission, I'm realizing there's a huge process gap in project management procedures. I have an engineering undergrad, and in general really enjoy having pretty clear procedures and strategies laid out, but I have no actual training in project management best practices, and it's something that I think could be a huge asset to the planning world/processes.

Has anyone gone through any sort of project management program that they found helpful? I talked our Executive Director into implementing Wrike, which is a web-based project management software. So it's a step in the right direction. But I could use some training personally for how to utilize staff most effectively and keep projects moving forward and on-track.

Anyone been through anything that's worked well for them or that they've found helpful?
 

luckless pedestrian

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We use a program called Trello to track projects - that is, zoning projects and regulatory applications

You set up the project with documents, you can add steps and tasks to it and then you can assign and bring in staff to the project (called cards) - people can comment, mark things as done, and add documents - when someone makes a change to the card, everyone that is on that project card gets a notification email.

I like it but it's hard getting some departments to use it and I can't control them using it so I think it's a good program if everyone is on board!
 

gtpeach

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Wrike seems to do what we need it to as far as the actual software. I'm thinking more about human-based training to establish best practices and help me be a better project manager/department director. They offer the PMP (Project Manager Professional) training through a local college fairly regularly, so I can go that route. I'm just wondering if it's actually beneficial, or if there are other resources that may make more sense.
 

DVD

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You might not need full on project management software. If you're talking managing deadlines, labor, equipment use, etc. then you might need it. If there is a big concern about deliverables with multiple resources like the ones mentioned, you might need it. If not, I would think a good project tracking database will cover what you need. Can I recommend writing out a timeline and then working your software to make you alert of any deadlines.
 

nrschmid

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Wrike seems to do what we need it to as far as the actual software. I'm thinking more about human-based training to establish best practices and help me be a better project manager/department director. They offer the PMP (Project Manager Professional) training through a local college fairly regularly, so I can go that route. I'm just wondering if it's actually beneficial, or if there are other resources that may make more sense.
I have a PMP in addition to AICP. Strangely enough, project management software is barely a footnote in the training. I looked at various task management software programs/kanban boards earlier this year. I would recommend Ninox Database. It is probably the most customizable project management software I've seen in a long time. Monday.com, Asana, and Trello are good seconds. Scoro has a lot of promise but has a steep price tag. Program a decent amount of time to set up the software for use in a planning office since these software programs are not industry-specific.

Hope this helps!
 
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gtpeach

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I have a PMP in addition to AICP. Strangely enough, project management software is barely a footnote in the training. I looked at various task management software programs/kanban boards earlier this year. I would recommend Ninox Database. It is probably the most customizable project management software I've seen in a long time. Monday.com, Asana, and Trello are good seconds. Scoro has a lot of promise but has a steep price tag. Program a decent amount of time to set up the software for use in a planning office since these software programs are not industry-specific.

Hope this helps!
I'm actually more interested in the PMP part of your response than the software part. :) I think we have what we need software-wise. But we don't have any trained project managers as far as personnel. I'm just wondering if there is actual practical value in pursuing the PMP certification, or at least going through the classes. I haven't worked out exactly how many project management hours I have, but I think I'm pretty close to being able to meet the threshold if I chose to pursue it. If I'll get actual value that would benefit my organization, it's something I think I'd like to pursue. I'm just wondering if it's a "just letters behind your name" kind of program, or if it really does add value.

Thoughts?
 

nrschmid

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PMP is a globally-recognized credential that is recognized in over 180 countries and maintained by +800,000 professionals, world-wide. I would say a good 1/3 - 1/2 of the professionals are in IT or software development. However, it's not industry-specific. Despite PMI's claims, I don't think it's the global standard in project management, but it is definitely up there. If I had to do it over again I would pursue a six sigma certification. It's a different approach with project management with emphasis on business analytics.

The 4 hour PMP exam is about 8-10 times harder than AICP. There are 10 different knowledge areas (integration management, scope, time, cost, quality, communication, risk, stakeholders, human resources, and procurement), with 47 different processes, all interconnected. Each process is connected to other processes with inputs and outputs (over 600 of them). The application itself is several times harder than a federal job application. Every hour of project management experience (4500 hours minimum for a Bachelors Degree) has to be accounted for.

Very few industries actually practice the PMP system in its entirety. I use parts of my training with risk, quality, time, cost, and procurement (contracts) in my job as a planner occasionally. The exam is harder than most licensing exams (or so I have been told) and it is proof that you went you through a very rigorous training in project management. The biggest benefit by far has been with the job search. HR managers are familiar with the credential and has helped me snag several interviews than just having an AICP, portfolio, and years of experience. I'm looking into grad school part time in the next year (real estate development or an MBA). I definitely see the PMP playing a huge role later in my career as a real estate developer/project manager, but as an urban planner alone not so much.
 
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gtpeach

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PMP is a globally-recognized credential that is recognized in over 180 countries and maintained by +800,000 professionals, world-wide. I would say a good 1/3 - 1/2 of the professionals are in IT or software development. However, it's not industry-specific. Despite PMI's claims, I don't think it's the global standard in project management, but it is definitely up there. If I had to do it over again I would pursue a six sigma certification. It's a different approach with project management with emphasis on business analytics.

The 4 hour PMP exam is about 8-10 times harder than AICP. There are 10 different knowledge areas (integration management, scope, time, cost, quality, communication, risk, stakeholders, human resources, and procurement), with 47 different processes, all interconnected. Each process is connected to other processes with inputs and outputs (over 600 of them). The application itself is several times harder than a federal job application. Every hour of project management experience (4500 hours minimum for a Bachelors Degree) has to be accounted for.

Very few industries actually practice the PMP system in its entirety. I use parts of my training with risk, quality, time, cost, and procurement (contracts) in my job as a planner occasionally. The exam is harder than most licensing exams (or so I have been told) and it is proof that you went you through a very rigorous training in project management. The biggest benefit by far has been with the job search. HR managers are familiar with the credential and has helped me snag several interviews than just having an AICP, portfolio, and years of experience. I'm looking into grad school part time in the next year (real estate development or an MBA). I definitely see the PMP playing a huge role later in my career as a real estate developer/project manager, but as an urban planner alone not so much.
That's really helpful. As much as I'd love to build my own credentials, I also want to spend time and money doing what will be beneficial to my organization, and PMP may not be it. Six Sigma never really occurred to me as I tend to associate it with consumable product distribution, but that's an option that is also available through the same local college. I'm just not sure that it makes sense to our organization.

We function as a quasi-public consulting firm in a lot of ways. We have public funding, but we also contract with our member localities to complete projects. I'm really trying to figure out how to better manage our project, scoping, scheduling, budgeting, and staff utilization. Using software was a novel idea - there was no robust way of looking at staff utilization over multiple projects previously, so we're just in the early deployment stages of using a project management system. It's been a slow implementation process, but we're hopeful that there will be buy in, because we desperately need SOMETHING.
 

Veloise

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In my finale career position, we used Excel trackers, and ten hours of conference calls a week.

One of the project engineers in my group had a three-ring binder filled with notebook pages and site updates written out in longhand. Every discussion involved her paging through her "brain" to find a topic or data point. (I think she did have binder tabs for each site.) Several times I tried to show her how much easier it would be to digitize this, even using Word, which would increase legibility and make it searchable. She resisted. (Notebook sheets was what she used when she was an admin answering phones and she wasn't going to change.)

A couple of times since then I have seen job qualifications requiring experience in this or that PMP. (I never obtained in certification on PageMaker or Quark Express or whatever they are calling it now.)

Seems like an advantage of using a program: instead of running to you (or texting-emailing-calling) for a certain update, the users can just look it up for themselves. That's where the real training will be needed!
 
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