Project Management: Knowledge First, Experience Required

Project management requires skills that are somewhat outside the scope of those needed for someone hired specifically for instructional design.  Although both work within certain constraints of time, budget and scope/quality, the project manager is involved with these on a larger scale.  For this reason, project managers must possess the ability to budget, manage a team, schedule activities, communicate, manage risks, manage project scope and resources, promote collaboration and analyze the project environment (van Rooij, 2011, p. 152).  Instructional designers, however, are often given some or all of the responsibilities of a project manager so it important that they have some understanding of what they are likely to encounter on the job.  Even if they are never asked to manage a project, they will be a part of a project team, making an understanding of their project manager’s responsibilities important for good working relationships.

There are many technical aspects of project management: project charters, scope statements, work breakdown structures, task analysis, stakeholder analysis, communications plans, risk analysis, and on and on…

Determining which of these aspects to incorporate into a project will depend on the size of the project, the size of the organization and/or project team, the scope of the project, etcetera.  However, it is the implementation of all this planning that is the difference between effective and ineffective project management.  Project managers must behave as leaders in order to be successful.  Although I am now familiar with these terms, I think that experience and mentoring would be the most logical and effective next step.  Having familiarity with the process of project management would definitely be helpful if I were to become a project manager and will help me relate to project managers as a member of a project team.

15 Project Management Quotes to Live By (Infographic)


van Rooij, S. W. (2011). Instructional design and project management: Complementary or divergent?. Education Tech Research Dev, 59, 139-158.  doi: 10.1007/s11423-010-9176-z

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