Category Archives: Student Report Card

Report Card: PM Risks on Lynda

I’m studying some project management topics on-line in order to refresh my understanding of theory, gain some new perspectives, explore some new topics, and earn professional development credits for maintaining my PMP certification status.  I will share my progress and courseware opinions with you.  I hope that you find this useful.

I recently completed the Project Management Foundations: Risks class on Lynda.com.  This is part of a larger series of courses on project management foundations, with a separate course on about a dozen major PM topics.  I certainly recommend this on-line class for anyone eager to strengthen their ability to manage this important part of project success.

Every project is different.  Early on in each project, a PM needs to determine in which sandboxes he or she will likely spend most of the time playing (or which octagon he will spend the most time boxing.)  In many project, one of the main “playgrounds” will be risk management.  If you find yourself in a project in which the whole initiative is going to feel like risk management, then this may be the course for you.  This course provides strategies for better identifying and managing risks the start, and tactics for dealing with  issues as they arise.

While this course certainly can stand alone, as a PM topic it does directly “slot into” the overarching traditional PM structure known as the Project Management Body of Knowledge which was developed by the PMI organization.

The course was taught by Bob McGannon the prolific PM trainer (not to be confused with Bob McGannon the dirt track racer.)  The course uses the traditional audio lecture with slides format.  Bob does his usual good job here.  The lectures are flawlessly delivered.  His delivery is positive, enthusiastic, personal, and engaging.  His focus is real-world.

The course incorporated 1 hour and 14 minutes of video in 21 short lectures, with an accompanying file full of risk management templates and other references.

This course has no exercises, final exams, grades, or certifications.


(Image courtesy of jarmoluk at Pixabay)

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Report Card: PM Quality on Lynda

I’m studying some project management topics on-line in order to refresh my understanding of theory, gain some new perspectives, explore some new topics, and earn professional development credits for maintaining my PMP certification status.  I will share my progress and courseware opinions with you.  I hope that you find this useful.

I recently completed the Project Management Foundations: Quality class on Lynda.com.  I certainly recommend this on-line class for anyone eager to strengthen their ability to manage this important part of project success.  Like all experienced PMs, I’ve had projects where a significant amount of time was spent wrestling with sponsors and other project constituents about their expectations of the quality of deliverables.  This course provides strategies for better managing the quality processes from the start, and tactics for dealing with quality issues as they arise.

While this course certainly can stand alone, as a PM topic it does directly “slot into” the overarching traditional PM structure known as the Project Management Body of Knowledge which was developed by the PMI organization.  

The course was taught by Bob McGannon the prolific PM trainer (not to be confused with Bob McGannon the dirt track racer.)  The course uses the traditional audio lecture with slides format.  Bob does his usual good job here.  The lectures are flawlessly delivered.  His delivery is positive, enthusiastic, personal, and engaging.  His focus is real-world.

The course incorporated 1 hour and 22 minutes of video in 22 short lectures.

This course has no exercises, final exams, grades, or certifications.


(Image courtesy of jarmoluk at Pixabay)

Report Card: Project Management Foundations on Lynda

I’m studying some project management topics on-line in order to refresh my understanding of theory, gain some new perspectives, explore some new topics, and earn professional development credits for maintaining my PMP certification status.  I will share my progress and courseware opinions with you.  I hope that you find this useful.

I recently completed the Project Management Foundations class on Lynda.com and I certainly recommend this on-line class for the right audience.  This course is certainly well-named.  It provides a sweeping but thorough and practical exploration of the art and science of managing projects.  It is absolutely based upon, and closely adheres to  the traditional PM structure known as the Project Management Body of Knowledge which was developed by the PMI organization.  (It is clearly based upon PMBOK V5.)

The course was taught by Bonnie Biafore, who has been a pretty prolific author in the PM domain.   The course uses the traditional audio lecture with slides format.  Bonnie has done a good job here.  The lectures are flawlessly delivered.  Her presentation materials are simple, clear, and direct.  The materials are structured and hierarchical, but don’t feel like just the “lists of lists” that frequently results from PM training materials.  

The course incorporated 3 hours and 20 minutes of video in 75 short lectures, with 1 accompanying  file.

This course has no exercises, final exams, grades, or certifications.


(Image courtesy of jarmoluk at Pixabay)

Report Card: Git Essential Training on Lynda

When leading teams of architects and sellers in preparing complex proposals, one of my frequent headaches was version control.  The Architects understand version control, but typically bring different personal techniques.  God bless the Sellers, but they frequently just couldn’t see why we all couldn’t just keep revising the same file and naming it the same thing.  I’m excited to finally get to learn about this popular important tool for version control for small to medium-sized projects.  (The threshold for “large” in project size is always a subjective matter until you are working with one of the giants.)

I just completed the Git Essential Training class on Lynda.com and I recommend this on-line class.

Kevin Scoglund has done a good job here.  The lectures are flawlessly delivered.  His diction is so clear that it is possible to accelerate the delivery rate to 1.5x and still clearly understand what is being presented.  The on-screen time is 100% focused on the Git tool, with excellent use of pointers, highlighting, and other visual cues.  (I believe too many on-line classes waste screen time showing the presenter blather away in a poorly prepared “studio” space.)

This course focuses on using Git from the command line, and using only Git (not GitHub.) It makes sense to me to thoroughly understand Git before moving forward on understanding the deeper parts of GitHub.  The course uses an example web development project as the training material.  The course provides the files and directories for the project.

The course uses what I would call the “Tell, Show, and Follow” method.  For each topic, there is a video lecture telling the importance of a specific scenario or technique, including a demonstration of the technique.  The student can then re-enact the same technique (with variations) on their own computer using the project files provided.

The course incorporated 6 and a half hours of video in 88 lectures to thoroughly cover the material.

This course has no final exams, grades, or certifications.


(Image courtesy of jarmoluk at Pixabay)

Report Card: Python 3 Essential Training on Lynda

To reinforce some of the basics, I recently completed the Python 3 Essential Training course on Lynda.

This course is taught by Bill Weinman the IT educator, not to be confused with Bill Weinman the Hollywood film and sound editor or Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones.  Bill has done a good job here.  The lectures are flawlessly delivered.  His presentation materials are simple, clear, and direct.

I only experienced two disappointments.  The section on regular expressions was too brief.  This is certainly an area requiring its own long course, but adding a couple of additional short videos and examples would have been more useful.

The second disappointment concerned a lack of closure on conditionals.  Bill explained how Python does not include the case or switch command.  These are popular conditional logic structures found in C, Perl, Java, and the various Unix/Linux shells.  Bill promised to show how to create something similar in Python.  I expected him to demonstrate something simple or interesting with the if / eflif / else structure, but he ended up talking about populating dictionaries.  I couldn’t tell if he went off on a tangent or I missed something subtle but brilliant.  (Afternote:  I was still scratching my head on that one until I read Mark Lutz book Learning Python and came to understand how it was possible to use a dictionary to build a conditional structure for setting a variable at run time.)

The course incorporated 6 and a half hours of video in 85 short lectures, with 18 supporting example program  files.

This course has no exercises, final exams, grades, or certifications.


(Image courtesy of jarmoluk at Pixabay)

Report Card: Excel VBA Training on Lynda

I’ve been taking some time to make sure my spreadsheet skills are up to date on the latest version of Excel.  It is always good to explore some new features and practice some old techniques.

I just completed the Learning VBA in Excel class on Lynda.com and I recommend this on-line class.  This is an intermediate to advanced level class which presumes that you are already experienced with all the standard spreadsheet techniques and Excel methods and controls.  The course covers using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to customize Excel operations.

The course uses what I would call the “Tell, Show, and Follow” method.  For each topic, there is a video lecture telling the importance of a specific tool or technique, including a demonstration of the technique within an Excel spreadsheet.  A copy of the exact file is provided for the student to follow along performing the same technique on their own computer.

Curtis Frye has done a good job here.  The lectures are flawlessly delivered.  His diction is so clear that it is possible to accelerate the delivery rate to 1.5x and still clearly understand what is being presented.  The on-screen time is 100% focused on the Excel tool, with excellent use of pointers, highlighting, and other visual cues.  (I believe too many on-line classes waste screen time showing the presenter blather away in a poorly prepared “studio” space.)

The only area where I was frustrated covered the Excel object model.  Excel uses some interesting object naming and syntax, and I felt that the course should have gone into more depth or provided more complex examples for fuller understanding.

The course incorporated 3 hours of video in 44 lectures, with 46 accompanying exercises (with files included.)

This course has no final exams, grades, or certifications.


(Image courtesy of jarmoluk at Pixabay)

Report Card: Excel Data Validation in Depth on Lynda

I’ve been taking some time to make sure my spreadsheet skills are up to date on the latest version of Excel.  It is always good to explore some new features and practice some old techniques.

I just completed the Excel 2016 Data Validation in Depth class on Lynda.com and I certainly recommend this on-line class.  This is an intermediate level class which presumes that you are already experienced with all the standard spreadsheet techniques and Excel methods and controls.  The course covers the capabilities and shortcomings of data validation within Excel 2016.  It offers a few “best practices” for developing effective data validation techniques.

The course uses what I would call the “Tell, Show, and Follow” method.  For each topic, there is a video lecture telling the importance of a specific tool or technique, including a demonstration of the technique within an Excel spreadsheet.  A copy of the exact file is provided for the student to follow along performing the same technique on their own computer.

Dennis Taylor has done a very good job here.  The lectures are flawlessly delivered.  His diction is so clear that it is possible to accelerate the delivery rate to 1.5x and still clearly understand what is being presented.  The on-screen time is 100% focused on the Excel tool, with excellent use of pointers, highlighting, and other visual cues.  (I believe too many on-line classes waste screen time showing the presenter blather away in a poorly prepared “studio” space.)

The course incorporated 1.5 hours of video in 18 lectures, with 16 accompanying exercises (with files included.)

This course has no final exams, grades, or certifications.


(Image courtesy of jarmoluk at Pixabay)