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Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

Course Summary

Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management is an introductory course on the key concepts of planning and executing projects. We will identify factors that lead to project success, and learn how to plan, analyze and manage projects. Learners will be exposed to state-of-the-art methodologies and to considering the challenges of various types

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    Course Syllabus

    Week 1: Welcome to the World of ProjectsDuring our first week, we will gain an understanding of what a project is, what it isn't, and why that matters. We'll consider how projects are defined and a project’s three objectives. We will look at a model for examining a project’s organization and its stakeholders, and then analyze those stakeholders using a power/interest grid. We'll look at the main reasons why many projects fail and then learn how to measure success. Finally, we will review the key stages in the project life cycle and highlight the important features of each stage. Week 1 Learning Outcomes:

    • Classify a project as successful or not
    • Appreciate what makes projects successful
    • Learn from unsuccessful projects
    • Learners will be aware of the different project life cycle stages and the role each stage has in the evolution of a project
    • Learners will be able to define a project and set project goals and objectives
    • Learners will be able to prioritize amongst project objectives
    • Learners will come to appreciate the complexity of planning and managing projects
    • Learners will be more cognizant of considering project stakeholders' opinions

    Week 2: The Ins and Outs of Project PlanningDuring our second week, we will start digging into the details, focusing on how to develop a project plan. We'll understand why we plan and what a plan should or should not include. We will discuss the process of scoping out a project and see tools that can help us identify what should be included in our project. We'll learn about sequencing project tasks and the nature of the dependencies among project activates. We will learn how to determine a project’s duration and critical path, how it is determined, and why it is useful. We'll see how we should schedule a project and, finally, we’ll review how you can make changes to a plan to support your overall project objectives. Week 2 Learning Outcomes:

    • Learners will recognize the importance of proper project planning
    • Learners will appreciate the components that go into proper project planning
    • Be able to scope out a project
    • Be able to visualize and communicate to others a project’s scope
    • Learners will be able to identify tasks’ dependencies and sequencing
    • Understand the difference among different types of dependencies
    • Be able to derive a project's duration by identifying the critical path
    • Learners will have the ability to generate and understand Gantt charts and network diagrams
    • Learners will identify how to relate project objectives to scheduling decisions

    Week 3: It’s a Risky World, and Then the Unexpected HappenedIn our third week, we will consider the risk and uncertainties projects face. We'll understand what is risky about projects. We will identity and assess project risks and prioritize these risks in order to focus our attention on those most impactful to the project. We’ll consider schedule risks in detail and ask, "What is the likelihood of finishing on time? What are the drivers that may cause delays in my project?" We will see how a project budget can be set to include a contingency. Finally, we'll consider situations with a high degree of ambiguity and identify methods than can useful in these situations.
    Week 3 Learning Outcomes:

    • Learners will assess, prioritize and manage major project risks
    • Learners will have the ability to set a project completion date and budget with confidence
    • Learners will be able to interpret a tornado diagram
    • Learners will conceptualize and articulate schedule risks, and learn to use the language of probability to articulate the chances of completing a project on time and on budget
    • Learners will have an appreciation for how ambiguity can be dealt with in the context of projects

    Week 4: Ready, Set, Go: Project ExecutionDuring our final week, we will move from plan to action and consider the execution phase of a project. We'll learn about the earned value approach for monitoring and controlling progress. We will consider the individuals who are executing the project and how their habits impact project progress. We'll discuss some alternative methods for project execution such as Agile, Scrum, and Kanban. Finally, we will review and summarize the course and our journey from project definition through execution and completion.    Week 4 Learning Outcomes:

    • Learners will understand the stages in executing a project
    • Learners will master the principles of the earned value analysis method for tracking project progress
    • Learners will have knowledge of different project management methodologies such as Agile, Scrum, and Kanban
    • Learners will be capable of selecting the most appropriate project management methodology given the project objectives, the degrees of uncertainty and the project constraints
    • Learners will possess the language and knowledge around Agile Methodology principles and team requirements and structure

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    Recommended Background

    No formal project management background is required; all are welcome!

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    Course Format

    The course will consist of a series of video lectures, supplementary case studies, discussion opportunities, and short quizzes.

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    Suggested Reading

    The video lectures are designed to be self-contained; therefore, we suggest but do not require the following readings. The suggested readings have been selected to enhance the course experience; however, not all of the intellectual property owners of these materials make them freely available on the internet. While we strive to find sources of additional materials which are freely available, sometimes the best additional materials we would like to alert students to (books, magazine articles, journal articles or newspaper articles) are only available from their respective copyright owners for compensation. Rather than not alert the students to these materials, we have decided to list them and let students make their own decision on whether they would like to invest the money to view these materials.
    Freely Available Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Free management library. All about project management. Beck, K. et al. (2001). Manifesto for agile software development. Calleam Consulting Ltd. (2015). Why projects fail blog. Why do projects fail? Project Smart For Pay  Ackermann, F. & Eden, C. (2011). Making strategy: Mapping out strategic success. Washington, DC: Sage Publications.Bowen, H. K. (2002). Project management manual. Harvard Business School Background Note 697-034, September 1996.  Cleland, D. & King, W. R. (1988). Project management handbook. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.  Cooper, R. G. & Edgett, S. J. (2011). Lean, rapid and profitable new product development. Charleston, SC: Booksurge.  De Reyck, B. (2005). Tools to keep projects on the rails. Financial Times, September 2005.  Drucker, P. F. (2006). The effective executive: The definitive guide to getting the right things done. New York, NY: HarperBusiness.  Freeman, R. E. (2010). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.  Loch, C. H., DeMeyer, A., & Pich, M. T. (2006). Managing the unknown: A new approach to managing high uncertainty and risk in projects. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.  Project Management Institute (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide), 5th ed. Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute.  Shenhar, A. J. & Dvir, D. (2007). Reinventing project management: The diamond approach to successful growth and innovation. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

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1 - 4 hours / week

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