Project Management Tools and Techniques
Course Co-ordinator: Eric Woodcock (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Available to second year students only
Term Taught: Michaelmas
Everyone is involved from time to time in carrying out projects, whether it is a small task, like planning a vacation or a large activity, like a development project in a business or other organisation. Projects differ very much from on-going routine operations and are usually one-off unique events with a characteristic life cycle and well defined goals and objectives. Within organisations, project management has become increasingly important in the past decade for many and varied reasons. Project management can be contrasted with operations management and also with the functional management of organisations. Although effective project management does not require completely different skills and methods to those required in other areas of management, the emphasis changes and some skills become much more important, and new techniques are needed. Typically, not only are projects unique events but, if they are of any significant size and importance to the organisation, they will cut across the normal functional and departmental boundaries within the organisation and bring together teams of people with differing backgrounds, skills, allegiances and so on.
This course aims to introduce project management methods in a way which links to the life cycle of a typical project from the early project identification and definition stages, through project execution and control, to issues of implementation and post-project learning. The course will introduce a range of practical techniques which are used for the planning, scheduling and controlling of projects. Attention is also given to people management aspects of this process especially to communication, team working and the role of the project manager.
Why take this course
Project management is an expanding field which offers exciting and challenging career opportunities. It is an essential capability for modern organisations of all kinds. For those of you considering a career in project management, this course provides a clear and comprehensive introduction to this area. Project management knowledge and skills are highly valued within organisations, even for staff who do not wish to specialize in this area. This course introduces you to project management concepts and techniques which will be of use to you in many management roles as organisations increasingly need to manage complex and novel changes. This may be as a project manager; managing in-house projects as part of a management role; as a consultant to project teams; or as a client to a project. The course integrates the theory of project management with practical examples, as well as giving you the opportunity to link the theory to your own experience, so enabling you to use the knowledge you have gained on this course in your future career.
Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes
Subject-specific learning outcomes:
By the end of the course you should be able to:
- Understand the strategic relevance of projects;
- Understand the operational management of projects;
- Understand the planning process for projects;
- Understand the importance of people management within projects;
- Integrate your knowledge about project management with your own experience;
- Apply your knowledge about project management to real projects;
Cognitive abilities/Non-subject-specific learning outcomes:
By the end of the course you should be able to express the approach to a problem in project terms, think reflectively and clearly present your ideas.
To address the objectives of the course, lectures will draw upon the theory of project management and combine this with practical examples of real projects.
In addition, the coursework assessment will enable students to apply the practical tools of the project manager to a real project and integrate their knowledge of project management theory with this.
20 hours lectures
5 hours tutorials
Basic handouts and copies of overhead slides will be placed on the course webboard https://mle.lancs.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=913. by the end of the previous week. Slides are not intended to be self-explanatory - attendance at lectures is essential to understand them and additional material will sometimes be handed out at lectures.
Outline Lecture Plan
The topics to be covered on the course include:
- Strategy and projects
- Project structure and success
- Project selection
- Project justification
- Scheduling and resourcing
- Problem solving
- Project Teams
- Risk management
- Project monitoring
- Project control
- Change within the project
- Communications and negotiation
- Project closure and review
The course is assessed in the following ways:
(a) An individual course work assignment (worth 60%) in which the student will reflect on a real project and apply the knowledge gained on the course to analyse it;
(b) A closed-book examination in the summer term (40%).
For the cwa, standard departmental penalties will apply for late work unless you have been given an extension by the relevant lecturer for exceptional reasons.
The total workload for the course is expected to be about four times the number of lecture hours, i.e. about 80 hours. This includes time to complete the coursework assessment and to prepare for the examination.
We hope that you enjoy the course and welcome feedback informally or via course reps.
Reading and Lecture Notes
The texts below provide useful background on project management. Some of the techniques are also covered in standard Management Science textbooks. Specific reading will be recommended during lectures.
This course assumes that wider reading will be undertaken in order to complete assignments and in preparation for the exam.
The main recommended text for the course weeks 1 – 10 is:
- Harvey Maylor, Project Management, FT Prentice Hall (Third edition, 2003, or fourth edition, 2010)
You are NOT expected to buy a copy.
Other good general and comprehensive texts are:
- Meredith and Mantel, Project Management; a Managerial Approach, Wiley (2003)
- Burke, Project Management – Planning and Control Techniques, Wiley (2003)
- Turner, Handbook of Project Management, Gower or McGraw-Hill (various)
- PMI Guide to the Body of Knowledge, Project Management Institute (see webboard)
- ANDERSEN, Erling S., GRUDE, Kristoffer V., HAUG, Tor (1999) Goal Directed Project Management, Kogan Page, London.
- Pinto, Project Management Achieving Competitive Advantage, Pearson Prentice Hall (2007)
The course will use Moodle for posting lecture notes, assignments and general information.
The Management Science Department undergraduate secretary, Helena Greenwood, is based in A68, Management School. Her office hours are 10 - 12 and 2.30 - 4.30.
There is also a departmental web board giving answers to frequently asked questions at: