The demand for project and operations management has increased as the work environment has become more digitised, dispersed, and dynamic. Upskill in the areas of project, programme, and operations management with an online short course from the University of Cape Town (UCT), and equip yourself with the practical and strategic skills to effectively manage projects of any scale, across a range of industries.

Project management is the practice of using various tools and techniques to ensure that a temporary project meets its objectives. Project managers are required to ensure that projects are planned, monitored, and executed effectively and efficiently. The responsibilities of a project manager include identifying and addressing risks, estimating time and budget requirements, managing a team, and communicating with stakeholders. Project management skills are transferable and benefit a wide variety of professionals, regardless of whether they have studied project management, or hold the title of project manager. Although these competencies can be developed over time, working with a solid set of tools can ensure best practice and smooth project delivery.

When there are international stakeholders, distributed employees and multiple business objectives that driving up market competitiveness, then workplace complexity increases. This calls for advanced project-management skills and the ability to align project activities with overarching business aims. It has also led to the rise of a new class of project management known as Agile Project Management. Through this lens, projects are not assumed to have distinct boundaries, but to be continuously evolving. Managing them requires an approach that can adapt to changing conditions. Agile Project Management offers a new take on traditional practices, empowering managers to identify, assess, and control risk in a dynamic environment.

While project managers focus on specific tasks and a project plan, there is also a need for greater oversight in the form of a programme manager. This role aims to coordinate a collection of projects to achieve broader objectives and ‘bigger picture’ targets. This is particularly important when seeking to understand the impact of a cluster of projects on company performance, target beneficiaries, or society as a whole. In these cases, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) provides transparency and accountability to stakeholders and donors, especially in the case of public funding.

Unlike project and programme managers who oversee finite projects, operations managers are tasked with optimising ongoing activities and workflows in an organisation. This role underpins the success of processes across a business by developing systems that improve efficiencies and maximise productivity. Operations managers act as strategic partners in an organisation, facilitating inter-departmental cooperation, and coordinating stakeholders and activities to achieve business objectives. As organisations expand, the role of an operations manager becomes increasingly important to ensure growing teams remain effective. Operational tools, such as aggregate and scheduling plans, or quantitative and qualitative forecasting techniques, can elevate professionals into the strategic role of operations manager, unlocking opportunities for those with or without formal operations management experience.

The skills of a project or operations manager contribute significantly to the success of any programme or organisation, and can be developed or learnt at any point in your career. Get started in one of these fields, or build on existing skills and qualifications in project, programme, production, or operations management with an online short course and verify your knowledge with a certificate of completion from UCT.