Note: This unit version is currently under review and is subject to change!

PMGT3858: Adapting to Project Context (2019 - Semester 1)

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Unit: PMGT3858: Adapting to Project Context (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Senior
Faculty/School: Project Management
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Chung, Kenneth
Session options: Semester 1
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: PMGT2854 OR ENGG2852.
Brief Handbook Description: There is more than one way to manage a project. However, many organisations become entrenched in standardisation that may no longer meet their needs, including consideration of change required for the project to be successful. This Unit of Study introduces students to a range of different approaches to project management, building the ability to critically question current practice and improve organisational outcomes.

This unit develops skills in critically evaluating different project management approaches and frameworks in relation to the context and environment in which they exist. Students will work on realistic organisational scenarios and be given the opportunity to consider different contemporary project delivery approaches and the relationship with both benefits and organisational change management. Lean Six Sigma agile methods and others will be examined and compared with more traditional predictive or linear, approaches to understand how the situation or context may influence choices and decision making through to delivery and value extraction.

The unit targets the higher analytical capabilities required at Practitioner to Manager levels (Levels 3 to 4) on the Project Management Learning Progression Table, addressing the critical thinking and systems thinking dimensions of Project Methods, Project Development, Project Communication and Project Delivery. The distinguishing quality of thinking at this level is its systematic character, working from a broad-based theoretical and practical understanding of the project delivery environment.

The unit will go beyond what the approaches are and critically explore how to select the most suitable delivery method for your context and the organisational governance factors that need to be encompassed. The aim at this level is not only to formulate reasonable and critical responses to a given problem but also to articulate thorough and conclusive assessments for the development of tailored project delivery approaches and frameworks that combine elements from different project delivery systems. You need to identify key elements of the organisation and culture encompassing the project, program or portfolio and organise them into a coherent and persuasive argument about the recommended project delivery approach, encompassing consideration of the various risks, benefits, costs and contextual factors involved.

The unit builds upon the skills of complex problem analysis developed within all of the Year 1 and Year 2 units. Students enrolling in this unit are expected to have already developed a basic level of ability in forming and communicating critical judgments regarding complex problem situations through completion of the earlier units.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Lecturer/s: Lawler, Chris
Timetable: PMGT3858 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 E-Learning 2.00 1 13
2 Workshop 2.00 1 13
3 Independent Study 5.00 1 12
T&L Activities: This unit is a blended delivery that combines online learning with weekly workshops. The design and the reasons behind will be explained in more detail in the first few weeks of the unit however the workshops are designed for you to explore and develop your own understanding ( or questions) about practice and to then seek the connection to theory. This will be a very individual journey and the outcome will be strongly linked to your own willingness to engage.

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
Practice in analysing systems interactions in large-scale complex project. Identifying the different dimensions of project complexity. Developing an understanding of the implications and scale and complexity for project planning and delivery. Project Methods (Level 3)
Discussion of team and leadership approaches used in managing complex project situations Reflection on the role of emotional intelligence in successful complexion of complex team tasks. Project Leadership (Level 3)
Discussion of communication plans and strategies used in managing complex project situations. Practice in developing team messages. Project Communication (Level 3)
Discussion of of assumptions, strengths and limitations of standard PM knowledge sources. Practice in adapting standard PM principles to complex circumstances. Reflection on personal and team performance in doing so. Professional Practice (Level 2)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Project Management Learning Progression Table 2019.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Project Leadership (Level 3)
1. Explore the development and effectiveness of PM governance criteria within different organisational contexts and cultures.
Project Communication (Level 3)
2. Demonstrate how the project is aligned with internal reporting and control processes within different project contexts.
3. Critically evaluate PM approaches, propose alternatives or adaptations and communicate appropriately with senior management
Project Delivery (Level 3)
4. Identify and implement change and transformation requirements related to the project.
5. Assess project complexity and its consequences for the approach.
Project Methods (Level 3)
6. Demonstrate understanding of how methodologies are constructed, selected and implemented at an enterprise-wide level.
7. Identify essential differences between methods commonly used in a range of different contexts.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Literature Review No 30.00 Week 4 (Friday, 11 pm) 1, 3, 6, 7,
2 Portfolio A No 0.00 Week 6 (Friday, 11 pm) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
3 Portfolio B No 0.00 Week 10 (Friday, 11 pm) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
4 Portfolio C No 70.00 Week 13 (Friday, 11 pm) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
Assessment Description: Assessment for this unit is something that is a bit novel and we hope you will enjoy the unique approach being taken.

The first assignment is a traditional literature review that will enable you to explore some of the theory that underpins some of the context challenges.

The remaining assessment is a series of portfolios that will each combine a set of weekly workshop outputs created within teams. This will be combined with individual reflective writing pieces where you will be asked to integrate theory with your workshop experiences.

Group work and engagement in the weekly workshops is critical. Your success thought will be heavily weighted to your own individual reflection and summation of your experience.

Our standard policy regarding the late submission of assignments is as follows:

– Consistent penalty of 5% per day late

– Assignments more than 10 days late get 0 (except in special consideration circumstances)

For short extensions, contact the lecturer. For extensions longer than 7 days, the student must submit a formal request for special consideration using the form at

http://sydney.edu.au/current_students/documents/student_administration/forms/special_con pdf

There may be statistically and educationally defensible methods used when combining the marks from each component to ensure consistency of marking between markers, and alignment of final grades with unit outcomes and grade descriptors.

The University has authorised and mandated the use of text-based similarity detecting software Turnitin for all text-based written assignments. It is important to note that TurnItIn can only accept one file. All components of an assignment need to be integrated into a single file and PDF submissions must NOT be locked as this prevents embedded feedback and comments.
Assessment Feedback: There are 4 submissions, however only 2 of these are actually graded. Portfolio A and B submissions are the interim stages of your portfolio. You will not be formally assessed however you will receive some formative feedback to assist you in preparing for the final major submission of Portfolio C.
Grading:
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at http://sydney.edu.au/policies . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at http://sydney.edu.au/engineering/student-policies/ for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Recommended Reference/s: Note: References are provided for guidance purposes only. Students are advised to consult these books in the university library. Purchase is not required.
  • Aspects of Complexity: Managing Projects in a Complex World
  • Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos
  • Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers
  • Frontiers of Complexity: The Search for Order in a Chaotic World
  • How NASA Builds Teams
  • Leading Complex Projects
  • Tools for Complex Projects

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar https://web.timetable.usyd.edu.au/calendar.jsp

Week Description
Week 1 Other: Introduction and Overview
Week 2 Culture, Environment and Context
Week 3 Approaches, frameworks, methods, methodology and tools
Week 4 Governance versus Management. Standards and Guides.
Assessment Due: Literature Review
Week 5 Communicating for Governance
Week 6 Project Approaches - Diving Deeper
Assessment Due: Portfolio A
Week 7 Developing an Enterprise PM Method or Framework: Part 1
Week 8 Stability to Chaos
Week 9 Change, Transformation & Purpose
Week 10 Developing an Enterprise PM Method or Framework: Part 2
Assessment Due: Portfolio B
Week 11 Implementing a PM Method.
Week 12 Other: Evaluating your PM Method or Framework [SYMPOSIUM WEEK]
Week 13 You. Your role. Your influence.
Assessment Due: Portfolio C

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Aeronautical Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Aeronautical Engineering (Space) / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Biomedical Engineering / Project Management 2013, 2014
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Electrical Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Electrical Engineering (Power) / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Aeronautical/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Aeronautical / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Aeronautical (Space) / Project Management 2015
Biomedical/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Biomedical / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Chemical & Biomolecular / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Chemical & Biomolecular/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Civil/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Civil / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Electrical/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Electrical / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020
Electrical (Computer) / Project Management 2015
Electrical (Power) / Project Management 2015
Electrical (Telecommunications) / Project Management 2015
Mechanical/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Mechanical / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Mechanical (Space) / Project Management 2015
Mechatronic/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Mechatronic / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Mechatronic (Space) / Project Management 2015
Software/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Software / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Mechanical Engineering (Biomedical) / Project Management 2012
Mechanical Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Mechanical Engineering (Space) / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Mechatronic Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Mechatronic Engineering (Space) / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Software Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Bachelor of Project Management/Bachelor of Arts 2016, 2017
Bachelor of Project Management (Built Environment) 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelor of Project Management- Built Environment Major (Table A) 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Project Management (Built Environment) Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelor of Project Management- Construction Major (Table A) 2019, 2020
Bachelor of Project Management (Civil Engineering Science) 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelor of Project Management (Civil Engineering Science) Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelor of Project Management (Software) Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelor of Project Management (Software) 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelor of Project Management- Table S Major 2019, 2020

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
Project Leadership (Level 3) Yes 25%
Project Communication (Level 3) Yes 20%
Project Delivery (Level 3) No 21%
Project Methods (Level 3) Yes 34%
Professional Practice (Level 2) Yes 0%

These goals are selected from Project Management Learning Progression Table 2019 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Project Management Learning Progression Table 2019 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.