MBA@UNC | Introduction to Project Management

oject management whether you’re an experienced project manager who’s here looking to sharpen your skills perhaps identify some new growth opportunities or alternatively someone new to the discipline somebody who perhaps just got your first project management assignment or you know that something’s headed your way soon this is your the course for you what we’re really looking to do is to make you a more effective project manager we want to help you identify you know where are those parts of the project that you should focus your attention you can get involved with and alternatively where are those that perhaps for now you need to let go once you identify those key parts of a project then we want to help you come up with the approaches the techniques to actually address the challenges that you face what I want to do right now is introduce myself and then give you a high-level overview of the course then we’ll go ahead and get started so I teach project management across all of our Mba programs here at Unc kenan-flagler and my background is that of a recovering engineer it makes me quite appropriate to teach this course for starters because I can speak in the acronym that seems to be necessary to communicate project management I also can work with the dry humor that will come across many times with project management my career has kind of taken a circuitous route to academia but it’s one that’s been a lot of fun for me and I think it’s prepared me well so i started in finance actually as an investment maker after that went and got my own mba at the harvard business school and then spent some time in strategic planning working at dell corporation and then in venture capital investing in technology and healthcare services for a handful of fairly idiosyncratic reasons decided that academia was the right career for me and so went back to harvard business school and got my doctorate and technology and operations management my research focus is at least in part on project management what I’m interested in is how do we improve operational performance and so if we look at modern day operations especially in service context what we come to realize is that it’s often project-based we’ll talk about in this course the rise of the project based organization and so if we want to try to do things better a firm that means we need to deliver our projects more effectively whether that’s on time on budget with quality in terms of our innovation etc and so we wanted to try to increase the likelihood that we’re successful with a given project and then improve over time and that’s really where I focus I spent a lot of time for example in India looking at software services projects technology-enabled service type work looking at consulting projects looking at accounting projects and increasingly now in the healthcare space as well and so will bring that into the classes we try to understand not only where project management has been but also where it’s going in terms of the class will break the mod up into five different weeks and we’ll start in week one with project management 101 we want to go through the tools of project management what are the things that every project manager should know so when you go into a discussion about project management you can make sure you’re nodding your head at the right times then in week 2 will shift to think about project execution in particular I want to focus on project monitoring and project controls so with monitoring how can you compare where you are to where you’re supposed to be so you can then figure out and kind of how to close that gap project controls how do we encourage people how do we help people to do those things that will maximize their chance of success then in week 3 we want to deal with the fact that it’s an increasingly dynamic and increasingly uncertain increasingly risky world and so of those practices that we’ve covered so far what are those things that are still going to be vital to our performance and where do we have to start to make changes kind of what works and what doesn’t once we get out to real projects and week for we’re going to start to incorporate the human element one of the real challenges with project management sometimes is that it is tied to its engineering roots it’s easy to get lost in the administrivia in our Excel spreadsheets and our templates and our checklists things of that sort and at the end of the day it’s often the people that are going to make or break the project and so we want to think about how do we manage the team successfully how do we work across our organization and since projects are often relying on multiple organizations to lead to success how do we draw and work across those different organizations finally in Week five we want to try to bring it all together we want to see kind of what happens for a first-time project manager what are some mistakes that project manager might make how can we try to avoid those ourselves and how can we use all of these pieces to try to maximize our chance of success to really as we said focus our attention on those key details recognize the ones that we can ignore and use the tools and techniques to make you know changes and improvements on on the key areas so with that let’s go ahead and get started welcome to project management excited about the opportunity to work with you this term and we’re ready to go you.

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