The Digital Project Manager School: Is It Worth It?

Despite its impressive stats and offers to get you "certified," is The Digital Project Manager School worth it?

By Profit Idowu

On December 23, 2019
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Image by Kelly Sikkema, © All Rights Reserved.

Compared to other offerings and certifications in the project management space, at $950.00 it’s very reasonably priced. Just in case you find it’s not a fit, they offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee. If your company makes room for employee development or training as part of their budget, you could have your job cover it for you. From what I’ve gathered over virtual chatter in these past two months of the course, there are 1) professionals who sign-up to just get a certification, 2) professionals who are genuinely interested in learning to improve their skills, and 3) professionals who are looking for something to get them started in the field of Digital Project Management. A question that might be helpful to start your journey is to ask, “Which kind of student do I want to be and have time to be?” If you’re not willing to sacrifice your own money, are you at least willing to invest your time? Which digital project manager course should I take and where might I get the most return on my investment?

Is The Digital Project Manager School Worth It?

It’s been 7 weeks and over 80 hours of work for me to complete this course and if you’re reading this post, you’re probably wondering: Is the Digital Project Management School worth it? For the price point, resources, and a treasure trove of tools a project manager gains over the course, it is definitely worth the time and money. But before I go further, here are a few things to note about my overall experience to help you in deciding if this investment is worthwhile.

  • I paired my intention to learn with a set of goals that kept me grounded when things got tough week-to-week.
  • Your study and education are completely self-directed. How much you need to study and then apply in the assignments are on you. There might be sections that could be confusing in a video lesson or parts of the coursework that might raise questions. The DPM School provides a weekly office hour to address some of those uncertainties, but in the case that doesn’t provide an answer—students will have to go find supplemental material to fill gaps that weren’t covered in the course itself or in recommended reading.
  • Managing your schedule and assignment submissions should be a top priority during these seven weeks. If your workload (both personal and professional) get too crazy, it’s easy to miss deadlines within the Peergrade system. If your job will allow, ask for an hour or two per day during the workweek to see if you can get some dedicated hours to go towards obtaining your certification to help ease any stress that might come after hours.
  • Depending on your skillset, the course might be too easy (not challenging enough to be useful), just right (challenging enough to be worthwhile), or too hard (complex) in terms of difficulty.

Spending money on any course should come with deliberation. It’s a hefty investment that should come with real returns. By concluding my DPM series with this post, I hope it helps you do what’s best. Deciding whether or not this digital project manager course by the Digital Project Manager School is worth it for your career in the long run. You’ll find my reflections on the last week of the course, my experiences and takeaways, benchmarks to determine whether this course is for you, and additional resources that might help you learn more about DPM School.

Table of Contents for Quick Reference

Week 7: The Home Stretch and Leading Yourself Better

The final week of the course doesn’t ask you to test your knowledge with a final exam in service of the overarching goals set forth by the founder of the course. Which stresses value on building a participant’s skills, approach, and personal project management toolkit through assignments, rather than obtaining merits needed for a high score. The course builds your project management muscle to be able to apply and use those tools to become a stronger PM. This week breaks the established format of working on a PM-related project and asks you to look inward. The assignment has you question yourself and set a vision forward to provide answers to topics like:

  • What you can do to show you care for your team and ask what you’re committed to doing?
  • Think about what stops you from leading yourself better.
  • How you could plan your time better and find projects or items that contribute to your organization’s bottom line.
  • Are there any tools or processes you can automate to improve your individual or team’s workflow?
  • What makes a good PM and how can you continue your learning plan from here once the program ends?

A lot of these questions come up already in my one-on-one’s throughout the year with my current supervisors, so this exact exercise and week didn’t hit as hard as I would’ve liked. Looking at it from a different angle, the exercise served as a good anchoring point to review performance reviews I received in the past and what I can do to improve for 2020.

The DPM team is always in learning mode and that’s the one thing that shows me their staff is dedicated to gradually improving the quality of the program. Along with the Peergrade prompt to submit feedback, there was a Typeform link to submit an in-depth review to capture participants’ experiences over the course. My specific critique encourages more peer-to-peer interaction. Outside of office hours, there are no virtual chat sessions to get professionals together for a study hall or a collaborative project. In future sections of the course, I hope the opportunity to submit a group assignment presents itself for those enrolled down the road.

3 Additional Takeaways from My Experience
  1. If you have high hopes for the Slack channel, level set by choosing how you want to engage in advance. Some online communities are rich with thought and give insights freely, but since each DPM course has limited slots—the way your community will show up for your 7-week section comes down to the luck of the draw. It also goes back to the question of what type of student is showing up for this course—they just might be too busy to engage and only spend time on the weekends to get coursework done. Reach out to those who comment frequently or post responses to the questions Alyson (moderator) shares in the Slack. You’ll get more out of your experience that way.
  2. The panel discussions were a great way to listen to stories about PM pitfalls. If something similar were to happen in your workplace, you’d be able to identify warning signs in advance and take steps to course correct.
  3. If there’s a topic that doesn’t apply to your work or current skill set—skim it, don’t skip it. Even though you might be coming to the table with “juice,” there might be some knowledge nuggets that a video lesson or panel discussion can bring to your professional landscape you never considered before.
Video Testimonials and Reviews
5 Benchmarks to Help Determine Whether DPM School Is Worth It for You
  1. You have time to fit anywhere from 40 to 80 hours of coursework into your schedule over two months when the class is in session.
  2. You’ve never received formalized project management training before.
  3. You want to get better at putting theory and themes of project management into practice.
  4. You have questions about Waterfall and Agile methodology you would like to debunk.
  5. You don’t have a project management toolkit of your own or you would like to refine your project management approach.
A Checklist and Folder Structure to Help Set You Up for Success

Onboarding to a new course shouldn’t take much thought. If you’re like me, sometimes all your work ends up on your computer desktop and things get unruly, fast. One question I was left with after reading through the Welcome Packet was around how I should organize or store my files. I decided on using Google Drive and kept that trend through the course. If it’s helpful to you, here’s a checklist of To Do’s using Microsoft To Do (formerly known as Wunderlist) and includes the same folder structure you can add to your Google Drive to get to work quickly and not think about where to start.

(See note inside “Setup Google Drive” bullet for link)

Click here to access the checklist.
Click here to access google drive folder structure.

A List of Blog Posts To Get An Idea About the Coursework
  1. DPM School: Week 1 — Project Management Essentials
  2. DPM School: Week 2 — Project Initiation
  3. DPM School: Week 3 — Project Timelines
  4. DPM School: Week 4 — Project Budgets
  5. DPM School: Week 5 — Statements of Work
  6. DPM School: Week 6 — Managing Projects
  7. DPM School: Week 7 — Project Leadership
5 Additional Resources To Help You Learn More About The Digital Project Manager School
  1. Video: Quick overview of the Mastering Digital Project Management course (1:21)
  2. Video: A DPM School course description by founder Ben Aston (4:01)
  3. Video: What are The Best Project Management Certifications? (3:45)
  4. Compare Project Management Certifications: A Complete Guide to Getting Certified
  5. If the school isn’t something you’re interested in, check out the $15 per mo. membership option.
Do You Still Have Questions?

Thanks for checking out this post and others about my Digital Project Manager School experience. I’d love to hear about your experience if you’re a past or prospective student. How do you feel about your time with The Digital Project Manager School or what questions do you have? Need to chat through your options some more or need a recommendation? Feel free to contact me to exchange a few one’s and zero’s on the internet.