INSC 71003, Project Management


“A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result” (PMBOK definition, emphasis added).  A marketing study, a consulting job, an audit, a merger, an information technology implementation, an improvement or change initiative, a product development effort, and a building construction or remodeling are all examples of projects.  This course deals with the major concepts and basic techniques of project management (PM).  It aims to (1) familiarize students with the problems and issues confronting project managers and (2) provide students with the vocabulary, concepts, insights, and tools to address these issues.  As a first course in PM, it provides an overview of several areas and knowledge of foundational tools.  As a generic course in PM, it tries to avoid over-emphasis on the way PM is done in any single industry.

The course emphasizes topics such as project selection, planning, scope, scheduling, budgeting, quality, rework, monitoring, control, uncertainty, risk, opportunity, and close-out.  We look at projects from several perspectives, including:  (1) an integrated processes perspective, stressing that all activities and functions must work together in an organized way to deliver a result of value; (2) a risk management perspective, stressing that all work done on and decisions made regarding a project should serve to reduce the portion of the project’s value at risk; and (3) a stakeholder value perspective, stressing that management actions and processes should seek to provide value to all stakeholders.  Throughout, we stress the difficult tradeoffs faced by project managers, the managerial insights, and the underlying assumptions.  We try to balance strategic and tactical perspectives on PM.  We critically analyze many of the tools available to aid a project manager, looking for possible disconnects with practical realities.  We relate the topics to practical issues in students’ workplaces and provide exposure to a variety of sources of PM information for students’ future use and awareness.  Although the management of people, conflict, and negotiations are important skills for a project manager, this course does not emphasize these topics because they are covered elsewhere in the MBA curriculum.

The course incorporates readings, discussion questions, practice problems, case studies, and a “study project” assignment wherein each student collects information about and interviews participants in a real project.

Although this is not explicitly a “prep course” for the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam, we do cover relevant material to enable that preparation, and the course provides the requisite number of classroom hours for the certification.


  • Understand that project management (PM) is not a well-solved problem

  • Understand basic PM activities and responsibilities and the role of PM in the firm

  • Understand the fundamentals of project planning, scheduling, resourcing, monitoring, and control

  • Understand the fundamentals of project selection, portfolios, organizations, and communication

  • Understand the role of quantitative modeling for PM decision support

  • Understand the uses and limitations of some PM software tools

  • Apply PM models and methods to estimate and analyze project duration, cost, quality, uncertainty, and risk characteristics

  • Apply statistical and simulation techniques to account for uncertainty and risk

  • Apply PM tools and perspectives to analyze case studies and a study project

  • Build and interpret basic design structure matrix (DSM) models of a project’s process and organization subsystems



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