27 - Road to Project Management

Hi crew,

How are you doing?
I know that for most of you it is time for holidays but I hope that under the umbrella, on a beach, somewhere at the seaside, in the mountains, at home or (unlucky) at work in the office (as I am) you find the time to read this very brief post.

Today I will talk with you about "Project Management".
Since I started my studies in civil engineering one of my career goals was to manage a big project, taking responsibility for delivering beautiful constructions and valuable consultancies to international clients, having the possibility to work in various places around the globe and being able to use the mix of my personal, interpersonal and technical skills to meet customer expectations and overcome challenges that in a project can happen.
Well, these are just some of the things that Project Managers (PM) do but, you know, I was a kid and my idea of project management was vague but somewhat exciting. Motivational.

A few weeks ago, thanks to the financial support from TRUSS ITN, we (ESRs) had the opportunity to attend a (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) QQI Level 6 Course on Project Management at University College Dublin (UCD). The course gave us also the chance to do examination for obtaining a Project Management QQI Lv 6 certificate recognised by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Of course, I attended the course and a few days ago I submitted my assignment to the examiners. Fingers crossed crew, as obtaining that certificate would be really important for me! ;)

The course took 4 days full-time (yes crew, it is a serious one!) and, as I mentioned before, it took place at UCD from the 11th to the 14th June 2018. Another opportunity for travelling to Dublin as well. So, why not?

The course was very interesting. Our tutor introduced us to the PMI and guided us through the concepts of project management following the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). He explained us that although this course is not really advanced level, this will allow us to get PMP qualification (one day) with additional 8 hours course (and exam to pass, of course). That would be the highest level of certificate currently recognised by the PMI.
Lectures started with basic concepts such as definitions of what a project and a project manager are, introduction to the five "process groups", and included more advanced themes such as scope management, time management, cost management, stakeholders management, risk management, quality management etc. which constitute the ten "knowledge areas" of project management. The tutor was very good communicator and a PM himself. He made lectures very practical and engaging by involving us with questions and group exercises that made each day pass very quickly.

Here there are a few pictures from that week for you:

Fig. 1 - First day of course. We start!

Fig. 2 - Group photo. A classic.

Fig. 3 - Me in one of the course activities. Second day of the course.

Fig. 4 - Third day of course. Talking about risk and quality management.

Fig. 5 - Final day of course. Costs management was the topic.

Well, of course, although I am currently working on a research project I cannot consider myself a PM just because I attended (with respect) a QQI Level 6 course. There is still a long way out there for me, but I think that this course made me think more about my PhD project in a managerial way. It helped me at reflecting about how I should have handled certain situations, how stakeholders play a fundamental role in projects, why it is so important to engage with them and how leadership and personality can be decisive factors in project management (sometimes more than actual technical skills).
Surely it was just a start for me in the world of Project Management, a very small step, but I feel like  I am on track to make my career dreams come true.
So, what about you guys? Never stop dreaming and never stop working to achieve your own goals. That's the rule and that is why I must go back to work now. ;)
I have some code to run, new data to clean, new analysis to perform, new things to learn and finally (but not less importantly) a PhD thesis to write!

I wish you a very good day!



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