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Your PMO career is important: time to start investing in it! In my experience, people who have successful PMO careers have a broad skills base. They are generalists who have skills that bridge the gap between project and operations; finance and creative; orators and the industrious. But when it comes to the types of training PMO professionals seek out, it always seems to be depressingly narrow. The focus is on either qualification in project frameworks or PMO certifications, such as P3O training.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not saying you shouldn’t study project and PMO topics. Here at HotPMO, we have an entire site that focuses on providing training for PMO people. If you are a PMO person and want to boost your PMO career by learning more about Agile Metrics, Kanban, Risk Management, and other topics, then you should stop what you are doing and head over there now ?  But that is not what this post is about. We’re taking a broader look at some of the short courses offered up by Universities. None of the five courses we highlight below are specifically about the PMO – and that is deliberate. We think that studying widely around the periphery of the PMO will allow you to identify new opportunities for the PMO to evolve in the future, and will help you shape PMOs that are better able to help organizations deliver the right things, faster.

How do short online university courses boost your PMO Career?

The skills, qualities, and mindset needed for success in the jobs market are always evolving. While there is undoubtedly a role for employers to support your professional development, ultimately, it is YOUR career, and it is you who needs to take responsibility for keeping your CV relevant and evolving your skills. Undertaking related short courses from well-respected universities will directly affect your marketability. It will ensure you can stay on top of your job and PMO career as the commercial world around us moves faster than ever.

Continued personal development is the only sustainable competitive advantage in your career journey. Building and developing your skills will improve your performance and build your confidence. Having a well respected University brand on your CV will open doors and ultimately enable you to reach your personal career goals while increasing your appeal to future employers.

Data Science – Johns Hopkins University (Coursera)

PMO people – analysts, in particular, spend a lot of time collating data, making sense of it, and publishing it in ways that enable effective decision making. But how many PMO Analysts have had any formal training? This nine-course specialism delivered by Johns Hopkins University opens up the world of data science, covering the concepts and tools, asking the right questions, and data modeling. The course is quite technical and focuses a lot on programming in a language called ‘R,’ but there is no pre-requisite knowledge required. On completion of the course, you will have a university certificate in data science to add to your CV, plus a portfolio demonstrating their mastery of the material.

Data Science Specialization by Johns Hopkins University
Data Science Specialization by Johns Hopkins University

The Iterative Innovation Process – MIT (edX)

 This eight-week course introduces a framework for innovation, with people very much at the core. ‘We need to be more innovative’ is a phrase frequently heard in organizations, but seldom translates into action. Could the PMO play a part in improving innovation by introducing a framework taught by MIT? This course draws on real-world examples as it explains the innovation process model. The stated goal of the course is to change and refine the way you view the innovation process, providing you with the foundation on which to build your future innovation. Not only that, but you will have a certificate from MIT to add to your CV.

Free courses from MIT
Just £75 (and a lot of hard work) allows you to add MIT to your CV!

Contract Management: Building Relationships in Business – University of Southampton (futurelearn)

Just because this four-week course is free, doesn’t mean it isn’t good quality. The course is backed by the UK Government and the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM). How many times have you seen projects fail, or struggle because the contracts in place were not well structured, and the relationship between 3rd parties failed? This course gives a greater insight into the importance, complexity, and challenges of designing and delivering good contracts. You will learn how your objectives and those of your customer/client can be achieved practically, to minimize possible threats or failures. By completing this course, you will position yourself well to support project teams as they embark on contractual negotiations with suppliers.

Learn Contract Management with the University of Southampton
Learn Contract Management with the University of Southampton

Coaching Skills For Managers – UC Davis (Coursera)

Coaching is a skill that is severely lacking in PMOs, which is odd because the PMO is well-positioned to coach Project Managers and teams alike. If you want to expand your coaching skills, this could be the course you are looking for. You will learn from Executive Coach and UC Davis Instructor Kris Plachy, who has created and transformed dozens of teams through coaching. She will share best practices, research, tools, and models for coaching effectively. You will learn how active managers use coaching to establish clear expectations and accountability, how to assess performance, and how to conduct coaching conversations that build awareness and get results.

Learn Coaching Skills with UC Davis
Learn Coaching Skills with UC Davis

Finance for Non-Financial Managers (Various Providers)

There are several providers offering courses in Finance for Non-Financial Managers, including the Open University, Coursera, and ILX group, to name but a few. All provide a good grounding in the basics of finance, how to read financial reports, and how to assess the economic impact of changing scenarios. This course will not turn you into an accountant, but that isn’t why you embarked on a career in PMO! What this course will do is give you the vocabulary of finance and a greater understanding of how funding works – allowing you to engage confidently with finance departments and improve the way data are communicated.

Have you seen any online courses that you think would be useful for PMO Professionals? Let us know in the comments below!

*Please note, I receive no revenue from any of the institutions that I have linked to, nor do I have any professional relationship with them.

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