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Project Management Module Overview and Assignment Breakdown
Answered

Question:

Brief introduction to module

Organisations have been subjected to an unprecedented pace of change over the last three decades, resulting in a shift in the way they do business and a growth in managing projects at a global level. This has resulted in changes in organisational structure, business processes, roles and responsibilities, new distribution channels, greater use of IT, etc. In most cases this transformation has been achieved by treating the desired change as a project and therefore a temporary endeavour with clear, bounded timescales, resources and objectives.  Hence Project Management is a crucial organisational activity concerned with the planning and management of resources (labour and materials) in such a way that collectively the resources deliver the required project outcome within defined quality, time and cost constraints.  This module will enable you to systematically review and evaluate the concepts of project management and have an awareness of the key factors involved in successful project management; assess the role and skill-set required by a project manager and apply this learning to your own career ambitions;  explore the concepts and techniques of project management in a variety of project scenarios and analyse their relationship to personal and organisational issues.  You will be able to demonstrate business readiness by presenting your understanding of practical application of project management techniques as used in industry, applying knowledge to case study scenarios ranging from sports events to construction and technology projects, by critiquing the various implications of project planning options and being able to offer relevant and well-informed recommendations.

Module learning outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

1.Knowledge outcome - gain an understanding of the core activity areas project managers concern themselves with and how they relate to personal and organisational issues.  

2.Intellectual/transferable skills outcome - apply the principles of project management to the planned development and delivery of business initiatives, e.g. new products, services or events

We teach you that a typical PID (also known as a Project Charter or Terms of Reference) is simply a short summary document, usually produced at the beginning of a project, which can be circulated to anyone who wants/needs to know to give an idea of the overall concept and major parameters. The lecture slides are very clear about what is usually contained within one. The example in the lecture slides is very good as it is short and sweet and clearly differentiates between approach and objective.

Crucially important: We don’t really care too much about the specific details within it but we do care about how you derived them.   For example, if you are planning an event and there will be catering you might choose to say that the total budget is split across, say, four key areas, one of

which is catering. You could just put a number in – for example £10,000. However, where do you get that number? You could say it is for 1,000 people at £10/head but even that is just a guess isn’t it.   Max marks will be given to those who have done a little research and referenced some pricing for catering and shown what one gets for £10k or whatever you choose to spend. Does that include drink? How many are you catering for? Are there several sub-events? Don’t go into too much detail as that is not what a PID is for but give the reader a sense of what the proect is going to consist of, how the budget is allocated and, as appropriate, show us how and why you came up with those numbers. Maybe the detail should be put in an appendix?  It’s up to you but does need planning and you should not just completely guess everything.

(HOW ARE WE TRYING TO DO IT?) is probably the part of the PID that you might struggle with most and what we are looking for here is a logical high level approach to achieving the above objectives (there needs to be connection between objective and approach).  It’s all applied common sense so think about how you would go about it. Let’s think about the Chapman Hall refurbishment idea.  What else has the university done that might be similar? Who did they use for the work? What do staff and students think is needed?  What might a specialist lecture theatre architect recommend?  Clearly you do not know so to answer that you would have to find them and ask them. So maybe part of your approach section might be to identify experienced suppliers. Maybe you will use some of your budget to buy in specialist design expertise. Maybe that already exists in the uni – say in the Facilities Management department. That’s an assumption you have a right to make but you need to state it so we know where you are going with your logic.

·Discussion about great leaders

·Debate about difference between leadership and management

Apply this to the assignment cases – what type of leadership is needed for each of these?

Soft skills and nurturing, specialist technical, highly structured, etc.?

1.Initial whole-class discussion about breaking up a huge project into manageable chunks – as with last week the university library build is a good example to start with.

2.As a group think about the way in which you might break down the assignment into manageable tasks and objectives. Do this in small groups based on student interest in particular cases

3.Review assignment 1 and ensure everyone is as well prepared as possible – formative peer to peer feedback in groups

 

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