Earlier this month I completed Google’s Project Management Certificate hosted on Coursera. The program consisted of 6 courses, including one capstone project. This was my first experience working through a Coursera program, and I wanted share some highlights for anyone considering it.
The Sweet 🍬
The Time Commitment
Google says it can be completed in less than 6 months. This was the case for me. I knocked out large chunks on the weekends, shorter spurts in the morning before work, and it took me about 4 months to complete.
Coursera’s Learning Management System was easy to use in both my Chrome web browser and on mobile. Each course was divided into about 4 weeks and each week consisted of several, short video lectures, readings, and hands-on Google docs-based activities. Each week ended with a review quiz.
The mobile experience was useful! Occasionally, I’d pull up the next video in the sequence while standing and waiting for my laundry to finish. The activities native to the LMS were possible to do on mobile, but the assignments that involved downloading and cloning Google Docs were not easy to do on the go.
The video lectures were all transcribed, with captions, and the ability to change the speed of the video. I loved being able to speed up the video when the speaker was covering content I have encountered elswhere, and slow the video down when I wanted to take notes on new-to-me content. The transcriptions below the video lecture could be highlighted and saved like notes similar to an e-reader experience.
The Sour 🍋
Repetitive Content for PMs with some experience
For context, I have both managed projects and participated in trainings that included some of the material in the program. I also got my ScrumMaster credentials about 3 months prior to starting the Google PM Cert. For a CSM, the content in the agile course in the certificate program was largely duplicated.
I will say – the Google perspective made the program material unique compared to other, more general project management resources. Throughout the program in short videos, program managers at Google shared reflections and tips on how to approach project management and what their experiences have been like.
The community experience was limited
At the start of each course and intermittently throughout, users are given a prompt related to the content and are asked to respond into a text box. They are then directed to a forum to comment on others’ comments. I did appreciate seeing the responses and getting other participants’ reflections. Seeing the comments also reminded me that others, hundreds of others, were also completing this same course. However, once you comment on a post, there really wasn’t a way to continue to engage unless you return to that same forum again. I never knew if anyone responded to any of my reflections.
Final Thoughts 🤓
I’d recommend this certificate for people early in their career, people new to project management, people with limited training and resources at their current companies, people pivoting into project management from another type of role or after a career break. I could see this certificate program being used as an onboarding training for early career folks as well.
Personally, I really enjoyed being able to fill in the gaps in my own professional growth. Most of my project management experience has been learned on the job in a variety of nonprofit contexts. I appreciated seeing how project management can be scaled to serve larger teams and companies.
Books! Reading books cover to cover. I mentioned this as one of my 2021 goals and it’s because my reading habit has been eliminated during the pandemic.
Risk Management. While completing the PM Cert, risk management emerged as an area exciting to me. I’ve used contingency plans and prepared for scenarios in various projects, but I’m intrigued to explore more.
Coding + Technical Learning Design! After delving into Agile with Scrum training and Project Management, I miss…. coding! More on this soon.
Ask Me Anything
Feel free to send me any questions about the cert. While I was researching the program back in April 2021, there weren’t many blog reviews posted yet. Happy to chat with you!