The short answer is: yes, you should! A good Statement of Work (SOW) may save you a lot of stress, time, and costs. Sounds like something worth trying out, right? In this blog post, we'll cover the...
Being a project manager is a career path that’s well suited for people who enjoy learning new things regularly. Sure, some principles of effective project management remain the same over the years, but there’s a lot to catch up on. New PM software options appear regularly, and fellow managers share their best practices via blogs, podcasts, or ebooks. There are so many resources for project managers available online that one can get easily overwhelmed. This is why we’ve decided to create a round-up of free online resources for project managers – read on to get inspired and add several links to your bookmark collection.
Free Project Management Online Courses
Whether you’re planning to become a certified project manager or not, the chances are that you might be looking for e-courses that will help you grow as a project management professional.
It’s easy to find paid online courses, but you can also stumble upon free options that are worth a try, especially if you’re looking for materials that can support you in, say, exam preparation. When looking for free online courses for project leaders, check out these platforms:
- Udemy – it’s one of the biggest online education platforms, you’ll find a lot of different resources there. Before you commit to a course, browse the reviews of a given instructor, and see how many people participated in a particular class.
- EdX – EdX is a platform where you can find educational resources published by the likes of Harvard, Columbia, or MIT. There are paid programs but also free courses—note that you’ll have to pay to obtain a verified certificate of EdX.
- Future Learn – this platform offers a variety of online courses and degrees, including free resources for PMs. Similarly to EdX, you might need to pay if you want to generate a certificate or have prolonged access to a given course.
Podcasts for Project Managers
With podcasts blowing up in the next couple of years, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that there are podcasts dedicated to project management. While we don’t suspect that PM channels will become the next true crime podcasts in terms of popularity, you’re certainly able to find some interesting shows:
- The PM Podcast – from advice on searching for your next PM job, to insights on the next edition of the PMBOK® Guide, the PM Podcast covers a broad spectrum of project management-related topics. There are tons of free episodes, but some installments are available exclusively for subscribed listeners.
- The Digital Project Management Podcast – Ben Aston, the founder of the Digital Project Management platform, chats with PM experts about different aspects of the job. Some of the episodes are well-suited for project management beginners. Others, in contrast, would be better for people already working on the job, as they answer some particular questions you may be wondering about.
- Projectified™ Podcast – Brought to you by the Project Management Institute, this podcast provides ample opportunity to learn about emerging trends in the industry, and the direction towards which project management is moving. You can expect an impressive roster of guests, featuring people from the best-known companies out there.
Ebooks about Managing People and Projects
Some time ago, we published a list of free ebooks for PMs: make sure you browse it when looking for free project management resources. It contains entries for seasoned professionals but also aspiring PMs. Use these books to learn more about project management methodologies, the best practices of resource management, or how to get started as a PM.
Now, let’s dive into books that are more about managing people who work on your project team. As a project manager, you need to be able to build rapport with your team members, boost their productivity, and maintain high spirits. Check out these ebooks and guides, if you want to learn more about managing people and get leadership inspiration:
- Remote company culture. Guide for the Slack generation – tips on managing remote employees and virtual teams.
- Remote Work 2020 – it’s a good guide to get a better understanding of the remote-first culture and learn how to manage your distributed team.
- A complete guide for new managers – a beautiful and informative guide for people who have recently been promoted to a managerial role. As a Project Manager, you will significantly benefit from this guide when starting a job at a new company or working with a new team: these tips should help you get off the right foot.
When it comes to ebooks, Humble Bundle is a website that is definitely worth following. Sure, you won’t be able to get completely free resources there, but in our opinion paying $1 for a bundle of books still qualifies as a pretty great bargain. On top of that, a share of Humble Bundle’s sales is donated to selected charities (e.g., Save the children or Girls Inc.). The available bundles are time-limited, so it’s worth checking this website regularly and be on the lookout for project management-oriented collections of ebooks.
Free Project Management Resources
Let’s take a look at web-based project management resources: blogs. websites or discussion groups. We’ll start with a platform that has already been mentioned above when we discussed podcasts for PMs: the Digital Project Manager. It’s full of valuable resources: articles, guides, software comparisons, you name it! Plenty of resources are available for free, but you can also subscribe to the DPM Membership program for extra value: a chance to participate in workshops, masterminds, and office hours plus a massive collection of editable samples and practical ebooks.
When talking about places for a project manager to learn, we can’t skip the PMI Learning hub. You’ll find a lot of free resources there as well as paid project management training opportunities. Browse the Thought Leadership section of this website to find research-driven insights and commentary, including an annual publication called Pulse of the Profession.
Yet another website we want to recommend is Girl’s Guide to PM created by Elizabeth Harrin. Pro tip: sign up for her newsletter to get access to a library of free resources including a career planner, an Excel Gantt Chart template, and a project status report outline.
Join the conversation
Every project manager can benefit from interacting with other PM professionals. If you want to actively discuss effective project management strategies and ways to build a successful project, you could sign up for PM discussion communities.
One of the easiest ways to get started is to join a Slack chat group. Standuply has published a great list of Slack communities where you can find groups dedicated to product and project management or agile.
Don’t sleep on company-owned platforms
It’s understandable that, when looking for free project management resources, you’re more inclined to rely on sources that are not directly connected to, say, a PM software company. You might be afraid that company-owned platforms’ bias affects the quality of their content. It’s a valid argument, but we strongly encourage you not to give up on branded sources completely. Of course, one reason is that our own blog falls into that category, and we want you to stick around with us. The main reason, however, is that corporate blogs, ebooks, or videos are very often highly reliable and valuable for PMs. Here’s a list of platforms we follow to be in the loop about the latest trends in project management or tips of effective PM strategies:
- Atlassian’s comprehensive guide to agile,
- Asana’s platform with various free project management resources,
- Slack’s State of Work report,
- ProjectManager.com‘s templates, guides, and videos,
- Blogs from Wrike, Monday, Hygger, Proofhub, or Nifty.
And if you’re new to Teamdeck’s blog, make sure to check out these posts created for project managers:
- Resource Management 101
- Sketchnoting for Project Managers
- PMTQ – Project Management Technology Quotient
- Work-life balance tips for PMs
- Project Transparency
What should we add to the list?
There you have it – a list of free online resources for project managers, including ebooks, podcasts, or blogs. Whether your plan for 2020 is to change your career path and become a project manager, or you’re already working as a PM and want to develop your expertise further, we hope that this collection of free resources will prove to be useful.
We would love to hear from you about your favorite free project management resources. Let us know which blogs, podcasts, ebooks or courses should appear on this list!