Project Management learning resources – APM Project Fundamentals and PRINCE2 Foundation

I recently passed APM Project Fundamentals Qualification and PRINCE2 Foundation exams and would like to share some of the resources I found helpful while studying.

APM Project Fundamentals Qualification

The Association for Project Management (APM) is the chartered body for the project profession. They offer a range of memberships and qualifications, including the entry level Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ).

While studying for my APM PFQ I made use of resources in a variety of formats. I found that working with study materials in different ways combined with mock exams and on the job learning helped to embed the knowledge I needed to pass the exam and set myself a strong foundation for a career in project management.

Here are the resources I made use of:

Books

  • Study Skills Handbook – All about learning how to learn. Useful for those who are new to this way of learning or, like myself, need a refresher.
  • Starting Out In Project Management – An easy read that covers all the basics without going too deep. Ideal for studying for the fundamentals exam.
  • APM PFQ Study Guide – The official study guide for the fundamentals exam and therefore essential reading. Well written with useful case studies and supporting diagrams.
  • APM Body of Knowledge – A useful book to refer to. I wouldn’t recommend reading it front to back, it’s not written to be used in that way, it is useful to look up specific topics in more detail.

eLearning / online learning / MOOC

  • Workplace provided eLearning (ask your employer or trade union about this, lots of workplaces provide free access to eLearning on various professional topics)
  • FutureLearn – Becoming a Project Manager – I am a big fan of FutureLearn and their project management courses are high quality.
  • Coursera – Fundamentals of Project Management – The content here is good but I found slightly less engaging than FutureLearn. Still a recommended learning resource.

Podcasts

  • Parallel Project Training – By the same people who wrote the official study guide. Short sessions delivered in a friendly style.
  • Project Management Happy Hour – An excellent podcast that is not afraid of discussing problems and solutions in an open and honest way. The episodes tend to be around an hour long. The presenters are professional and laid back.
  • PM For The Masses – Some interesting interviews on this podcast, presented more formally that the others with some good quality content.

PRINCE2 Foundation

PRINCE2 is a widely adopted framework for managing projects and is adopted by a broad range of organisations and industries. It is developed by Axelos, who promote a number of frameworks covering IT service, project, programme and portfolio management.

Here are the resources I made use of:

Books

  • Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 – My personal opinion is that this book is written in an overly complicated way that makes it difficult to understand. I am not a fan, however it does describe the framework in full and is therefore essential reading.
  • PRINCE2 for Beginners – Much better written than the official book, taking the content and rewriting in a logical way that is much easier to understand. I highly recommend this book. The same author has also written a PRINCE2 Practitioner book.

eLearning / online learning / MOOC

Closing Comments

These are just some of the resources available that I found useful while studying for my APM and PRINCE2 exams.

There are many more resources out there suitable for all learning styles. I recommend searching online, visiting your local library and asking colleagues for recommendations to find the resources that work best for you.

Whatever path you take, I hope you enjoy the journey and I wish you good luck for your exam!