Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

Projects are all around us. Virtually every organization runs projects, either formally or informally. We are engaged in projects at home and at work. Across settings, planning principles and execution methodologies can offer ways in which projects can be run more effectively and efficiently. Project management provides organizations (and individuals) with the language and the frameworks for scoping projects, sequencing activities, utilizing resources, and minimizing risks.

This 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 of projects.

As a Project Management Institute (PMI®) Registered Education Provider, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business has been approved by PMI to issue 10 professional development units (PDUs) for this course, which focuses on core competencies recognized by PMI. (Provider #2122)

WEEK 1: Welcome to the World of Projects

Welcome to the course — we’re excited you’re here! In our first week, we’ll 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’ll 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’ll review the key stages in the project life cycle and highlight the important features of each stage.

WEEK 2: The Ins & Outs of Project Planning

During our second week, we’ll 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’ll 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’ll 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 3: It’s a Risky World & Then the Unexpected Happened

In our third week, we’ll consider the risk and uncertainties projects face. We’ll understand what is risky about projects. We’ll identify 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’ll 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 4: Ready, Set, Go: Project Execution

In our final week, we’ll 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’ll 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’ll review and summarize the course, and our journey from project definition through execution and completion.

University of Virginia
A premier institution of higher education, The University of Virginia offers outstanding academics, world-class faculty, and an inspiring, supportive environment. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University is guided by his vision of discovery, innovation, and development of the full potential of students from all walks of life. Through these courses, global learners have an opportunity to study with renowned scholars and thought leaders.