MBA 6951, Managing Complex Projects 1

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit I Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

1. Examine the roles and responsibilities of a project manager. 1.1 Analyze the topic of project management through the eyes of a project manager and a


2. Analyze the elements of measures of performance in the context of the triple constraints. 2.1 Explain how constraints within the business could lead to performance issues with respect to

successful implementation of project management concepts.

3. Determine the scope of a project. 3.1 Describe how a project is completed within a business setting using project management


Course/Unit Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity

1.1 Unit Lesson Chapter 1: Overview Unit I Article Review

2.1 Unit Lesson Chapter 1: Overview Unit I Article Review

3.1 Unit Lesson Chapter 1: Overview Unit I Article Review

Reading Assignment Chapter 1: Overview

Unit Lesson Project management is clearly a skill that can be implemented in not only every phase of business development, but also within every functional area within the business. As a family unit, you probably exercise some level of project management skills within your family structure, ensuring that activities are achieved and family goals are met. Examples of family project management projects could include planning a wedding, converting a basement to a family room, hosting a dinner for 25 relatives, or holding a class reunion. All of these events need organization, communication, and a plan by which to successfully orchestrate the event. The benefits of implementing project management techniques are significant as the project is completed with a high level of quality in the appropriate timeframe with a predetermined budget. From a familial sense, this leads to great satisfaction in achieving the family goal. In a business setting, this will lead to happy customers that could provide repeat business and additional referrals. The underlying premise of project management is productivity and efficiency in methods leading to subsequent cost savings through time and dollars. Beginning with the basics, Kerzner (2017) defines a project as any series of activities and tasks having a specific objective that creates value for the business within a specified period. As there is never an unlimited amount of available dollars, these projects will typically have budgetary restraints as they consume resources. Taking this a step further, Kerzner (2017) suggests that project management applies knowledge, skills, and tools in order to achieve the project’s requirements. These are grouped into five process groups, including


Introduction to Project Management

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project initiation, project planning, project execution, project monitoring/control, and finally project closure. Through this process, there are typically identified deliverables or outputs that are measurable and tangible. This might include hardware, software, and/or interim deliverables. In determining the measurement tool, the stakeholders must be considered. These could include organizational stakeholders such as executive officers, line managers, employees, and unions. It might also include product/market stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, local committees, governments, and/or the public. Finally, the stakeholder group might include capital market stakeholders such as shareholders, creditors, and banks. While each of these stakeholders do not necessarily have an equal level of influence, each may exert some level of direction with respect to the scope of the project. Through this process, a project manager must balance a significant amount of constraints as he or she works toward project completion. These constraints manifest through the processes of measurement, control, and evaluation. Kerzner (2017) defines seven parameters that are tied to identifying the project as being successful:

As a project manager navigates through the project toward achieving these parameters, considerable tradeoffs are usually identified because several of these parameters provide competing constraints. For instance, budgetary parameters may trump hiring certain suppliers that will add a higher quality to the project. Another is that the project may be designed and directed, necessitating significant organizational change that could disrupt the corporate culture. Another area of concern is that of the overall resistance to change. It is human nature to resist change as people and businesses become comfortable and content with consistency. Within the scope of a business, the sales team may resist project management change with the perception that the project management group may take credit for corporate profits, which could reduce year-end bonuses for the sales group. The finance and accounting team might resist project management change because the results may produce additional work in the accounting system. If change is the objective, the rationale for the change must be communicated to the individuals within the organization. The net benefit of the changes on the overall operation of the organization, and ultimately, on each individual within the organization must be presented. Additionally, upper management must be supportive of the changes and communicate its support and dedication to the changes. The project also takes on somewhat of a life of its own as it progresses through the four phases of its life cycle. Each one of these phases requires a certain amount of time and resources to complete that phase. The interactive slide below demonstrates these phases.

The seven parameters for project success

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Click here to access the interactive slide. Click here to access the interactive slide transcript. Understanding these phases will enable project managers to sort through and organize the project management process. Gido, Clements, and Baker (2018) define project management as the planning, coordinating, leading, and controlling of resources to accomplish the overall project objective. The idea is to establish the plan and communicate that plan to all stakeholders. Once all stakeholders have signed off on the project, execution and measurement/evaluation finish the project management process. Look at the video below, which presents a solid overview of terms that the project management field regularly uses. Click the link below to view the video. Project Management Videos. (2012, April 25). Top 10 terms project managers use [Video file]. Retrieved from Click here to access the video transcript. The video provides a good overview of project management from a holistic standpoint. One of the references in the video is that of the Project Management Institute (PMI). This is a premier worldwide association for practitioners in the project management discipline. With approximately 500,000 members in more than 200 countries, this organization provides significant insight and networking opportunities in this field. Additionally, there is a highly acclaimed PMI certification program, which allows project managers the ability to earn additional credentials within their field. Within the context of the project management process, the organizational workflow must be established. The idea of a workflow is to maximize communication to create efficiencies for everyone on the team. Authority, responsibility, and accountability of each individual is key to understanding how to develop these efficiencies. Look at how these relate to each other on the interactive slide below. Click here to access the interactive slide. Click here to access the interactive slide transcript. Each of these efficiencies must be clearly understood by each member of the team! The staffing of the project management team will only be successful if everyone on the team is passionate about the goals and objectives of the project and dedicated to the completion of the project. The team leader is better prepared to lead and motivate the team if he or she has the skills listed in the chart below.

Team Members Description

Team builder Ability to rally the troops and provide an atmosphere that is conducive to teamwork

Solid leader Ability to lead the team with clear direction, problem-solving assistance, and effective communication

Conflict solver Ability to handle both interpersonal and organizational conflict that may arise

Technical expertise Has educational and practical experience demonstrating technological, product, and/or engineering expertise.

Planner Ability to think forward with a methodical approach

Organizer Has an understanding of the organization and how to accomplish things within the organization

Entrepreneurial Ability to manifest the entrepreneurial mindset when implementing the project

Administrative Ability to handle administrative tasks such as staffing, scheduling, and other administrative functions

Management support Ability to build support with upper management

At the end of the day, selection of the right project manager is a key component to the successful completion of the project.

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Global project management is another important aspect of project management. This suggests incorporating a project with an international perspective. While many of the basic concepts of project management are similar, there are several additional challenges associated when dealing with team members in other countries. These could include language barriers, time-zone constraints, differences in risk aversion, cost control with different currencies, work ethic differences, and simple cultural differences. The important thing is to look at these challenges as opportunities that will enhance the overall scope of the project. Multicultural teams can actually enhance the innovativeness of the project. Including diverse opinions in brainstorming sessions will increase the possibilities. Team members from different countries can provide unique and more accurate perspectives on the social, economic, political/legal, and technological environments within each of their countries. Their knowledge of the culture and the suppliers and customers within each of those countries will be much more developed than those in other countries. Some projects can even benefit from working around the clock with different time zones. Certainly, the widespread use of the Internet has increased the amount of global teams. Communication barriers are relaxed when using the Internet and other technologies. These advancements in technology help facilitate cross-cultural collaboration and instill trust through strong communication.

References Gido, J., Clements, J., & Baker, R. (2018). Successful project management (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage. Kerzner, H. (2017). Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling (12th

ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Suggested Reading The chapter below, although not required, provides a refresher on some concepts that you may already be familiar with such as resistance, change, and project life cycles. Chapter 2: Project Management Growth: Concepts and Definitions The following chapter provides explanations on different organizational structures. Chapter 3: Organizational Structures The chapter below provides tips for selecting the best project manager and staff. Chapter 4: Organization and Staffing the Project Office and Team