BY Paul Morris, SDSU Project Management Instructor

Project ManagementMost of us did not grow up planning to be a project manager. We may have wished to be a police officer, or a fire fighter, or even president of the United States, but not a project manager! It just was not something that came to the front of our thoughts as we got older, went to school, and planned for our careers.

This is why project management training and attending project management classes becomes important to us. We may find ourselves being asked to lead a project or to be a member of a project team in our organization. It’s because of the increase in project management training classes that more projects are successful today than in years before. We are learning and getting better at understanding the skills, tools, and techniques that make managing, leading, and implementing projects more successful now than in the past.

Projects work better when they are smaller and include strong communications, disciplined project management, and standard project man­agement tools. We have an understanding of this because of trial and error and the lessons learned from those experiences. Learning is one of an organization’s most critical intangible assets. Learning drives innovation and fosters response to change and improvements in both processes and procedures. Learning also helps organizations anticipate and react to change as they surface. Learning and training help organi­zations find ways to reduce costs and to make improvements that lead to greater effectiveness and efficiencies.

I was approached back in the late 90s to help implement a smaller sub-project of a larger finan­cial system project for the City of San Diego. I was not sure what would be required of me to work on this task. Another employee at the time had men­tioned to me the idea of project management, and I became interested in learning more, yet was unfamiliar with what this discipline was all about. It seemed to me that doing some research and getting training in project management would be helpful. That led me to the Project Management Certificate Program at San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies in 2001-2002. Taking those classes along with becoming involved with the formation of a project management office with the city and involvement with more project work, has led to my role as a project manager and my certi­fication as a Project Manage­ment Professional (PMP).

Innovation relies on project management. Whether the innovation concerns a new product, a new process, or a contribution to something better, project management as a whole will see a more successful outcome reached more quickly, having consumed fewer resources. Without well-trained and capable project managers, the impact on any organization’s success will suffer. Project management classes will assist new and seasoned project managers in the planning, execution, and successful completion of projects.

SDSU’s Professional Certificate in Project Manage­ment program runs three times a year. Visit for details.

Paul Morris is currently the OneSD SAP Training lead for the City of San Diego. He has been a member of the Instructor Team of the Project Management Certificate Program since 2005. Morris has been a project manager since 1999 and is PMP certified. He has implemented multiple projects for many city departments, and has priviate-sector project management experience in public