Thursday, 18 February 2016


My course textbook
For the past few years I have been interested in gaining a qualification in project management. In my previous job, there were a few times I felt a knowledge of project management principles would have benefitted me and prevented several moments of panic! In 2011 the library moved into a new build and although we were only a small part of the overall project, I was intrigued with how it was managed. A few years later in 2013, I was the library lead on a year-long project involving our online authentication provider and whilst it went fairly smoothly, at times I felt I wasn’t quite sure of my next step. Whilst not crucial to these projects, an understanding of project management concepts may have given me a little more confidence that I was moving in the right direction.

Two months ago, I finally attended a PRINCE2 course. There were about 20 of us in the class and I was the only one from a background completely unrelated to project management. From the offset I felt like the class dunce! The Foundation course is pretty intense and the handbook is quite hefty for a 2 day course. At the end of the first day I studied the materials and the concepts started to make sense. I did two hours of practice exams and was pleasantly surprised at my marks. This gave me confidence for the second day of the course. I no longer felt intimidated by the other delegates, especially when we compared marks for the practice exams and our scores were evenly matched.

I was worried about the exam as it had been 15 years since I last sat a formal one. I’ve done practical assessments for first aid and an observed micro-teach for PTLLS, but that’s as near as I’ve been to an exam since 2000. During my degree back in the late 90s, I used to enjoy the challenge of an exam and knew I could trust myself not to panic. As soon as I entered the examination room I was relieved to find that old fighting spirit returned! My score was 86% and apparently this is good enough to progress to the next level – the Practitioner course. I have decided not to do this as I only wanted a general grounding in the concept of project management, not anything too in-depth.

I enjoyed being in a classroom again and had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed learning. The course was interesting and the PRINCE2 concepts are based on common sense, so the course is quite achievable for people without a project management background. I know of a few librarians who have attended the course but I’m not sure how valuable it is in their daily roles. The course content isn’t particularly relevant to me in my current role, but I am glad to have consolidated my knowledge on this topic. It would have been useful when working on previous projects and will give me confidence should I ever lead such a project again in future. Also, this course was a reminder not to allow myself to be intimidated and that I should trust my own abilities more than I do.