|6 Homeworks (10% each)||60%|
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
The class System Project Management (SPM) is focused on teaching methods and tools for planning and managing complex product and system development projects. We assume that the enterprise has already chosen what product or system to develop, (Such upfront issues are covered in ESD.34 System Architecture, among other courses.) so that the class can focus on the preparation, planning, monitoring and adaptation of projects. The class is organized into six loosely interwoven modules.
The first module covers traditional and new project planning and simulation techniques such as the critical path method (CPM), project evaluation and review technique (PERT), design structure matrices (DSM) and critical chain (CC). This planning-centric view of project management exposes not only the capabilities, but also the limitations of traditional PM methods and tools.
The second module introduces system dynamics (SD) in the context of large projects. Unfortunately, real projects rarely unfold exactly as they are planned. System dynamics shows how modeling the rework cycle and the dynamic effects of various external parameters as well as the impact of corrective actions taken by management during the project can simulate the evolution of projects.
The third module presents four real world case studies to illustrate the issues associated with complex projects. The projects are chosen from a variety of industries (automotive, aerospace, construction, oil & gas exploration, software) to allow the students to see the previously discussed methods in action, but also to start appreciating the importance of strategically and tactically managing projects with emphasis on project risks.
The fourth module is focused on ways in which projects that are already underway can be monitored and tracked in terms of cost, schedule and technical progress. Risk management techniques for identifying, tracking and mitigating risks are discussed. Uncertainty can also be turned into opportunity by embedding real options in projects to maximize project value.
The fifth module discusses various forms of project organizations, the challenges of managing international projects with geographically dispersed teams as well as human aspects of project work. This year Prof. Braha will bring in some of his research on complexity in project organizations.
Finally, in the sixth module we provide pointers to important resources for project management, issues of certification, project management software tools as well as a list of empirical factors that are known to affect project success and failure. These will be presented and debated in class. Student project presentations will round out the class and offer an opportunity to tap into the collective experience and insights of the participants.
The class is specifically designed for students in the System Design and Management (SDM) program and therefore assumes that you already have a basic knowledge of project management. Ideally, you will have already managed one or more projects yourself and will therefore understand the fundamental tensions between technical scope, cost, schedule and risk.
The overall objective of this class is to introduce advanced principles, methods and tools for project management in a realistic engineering context, such that they can be taken back to the workplace to improve your ability to manage complex product and system development projects.
The detailed learning objectives are to:
This is not a class on how to use commercial project management software (e.g. Microsoft Project). This course does not lead to an official certification as a project manager. Such courses are available from professional societies such as the Project Management Institute (PMI).
In contrast to traditional classes on the subject of project management we will emphasize strategic issues and scenarios that cannot be fully predicted such as task iterations, unplanned rework, perceived versus actual progress and misalignments between work breakdown structures, product architectures and organizations. As an SDM alumnus/alumna you will likely be in a leadership position where you will spend more time thinking about strategic and tactical issues than perform detailed operational planning yourself.
We plan to include discussion related to your own project management experiences. We hope to accomplish this in several ways:
|6 Homeworks (10% each)||60%|
All team members will receive the same grade for their joint term project.
Active participation means regular attendance of lectures, answering of the concept questions during class, offering suggestions or questions during lectures and relaying of personal experiences to others in the context of the class.
The class is graded according to the letter system A-F. Standard MIT grading policy applies.
Please bring and use your name cards during every lecture.
Please pay attention during class and use your laptop to take notes and answer the concept questions.