Study Guide for BUS402: Project Management

Unit 1: Project Management Defined

1a. Define the terms project and project management

  • Define project and project management.
  • What constitutes a formal project? Have you ever been involved with a formal project?
  • What are seven processes that will give a project the best chance of success?

It is important to understand exactly what a project is and what it is not. A project is temporary, meaning it is not part of the organization's everyday business processes. A project is an activity that has a clear ending and produces something that does not already exist. So, building a school is an example of a project, while teaching a class is not.

Once you understand the definition of a project, you can see how important it is to manage these temporary activities. Project management involves breaking a project down into manageable smaller units or tasks. It involves completing temporary activities in a timely manner and within the budget the client or stakeholder has defined. Unfortunately, many projects are not completed on time and within budget. Following the formal processes of project management can help ensure the final outcome or product is delivered as required.

Consider following these processes for the best chance of success:

  • At the beginning of the project, make sure the client or stakeholder agrees to all of the deliverables to avoid future misunderstandings and ensure they will do their part.
  • Planning is key! Remember the six Ps: proper planning prevents poor project performance.
  • Use project management tools; do not try to keep track of everything in your head.
  • Create a team that has the skills and knowledge necessary to complete the project.
  • Understand the roles, duties, and responsibilities of team members and stakeholders to create the best qualified team and avoid future complications.
  • Plan how you will communicate with your team members and stakeholders.
  • Plan how you will deal with problems and risks before they occur; understand challenges are inherent to every project.
  • Transfer the lessons you have learned to future projects.

Review this material in What is a Project? by Merrie and Andrew Barron, What is Project Management? by Gavin Wedell, and Appendix 2: Roles within a Project by Wouter Baar.


1b. Describe why organizations have increased their usage of project management techniques

  • Describe the history of project management.
  • When did project management methodology first become widely used? 
  • Why has the use of project management techniques increased? Could it be related to the work of Frederick Taylor and Henri Gantt?

Project management has been around since human beings began to create structures they wanted to last. For example, when humans decided to settle in one area, they needed to build shelters to protect them from the elements. The management team who built Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids had to have a plan!

Completing these large projects required organizing efforts to meet the exact specifications of the end-users and stakeholders. For example, during the 1800s the U.S. government built the trans-continental railroad which required managing raw materials, human resources, and construction that spanned the width of the nation. The engineers used project management as a technique to complete the railroad: the country needed this infrastructure to transport the goods and services that would drive its development.

Why has project management become so common? Frederick Taylor, the father of scientific management, used scientific reasoning to demonstrate we can complete tasks more efficiently when we break the work processes down into smaller tasks. Henri Gantt built on Taylor's work by creating the Gantt chart, an easy-to-use management tool designed to keep track of multiple tasks in large projects.

Similar tools include the program evaluation and review technique (PERT) and the critical path method (CPM). With scientific management theory as its backbone, and a variety of tools available to keep track of processes, project management methods have expanded across a variety of fields.

Who uses project management today? Business owners, construction managers, educators, engineers, graphic artists, healthcare practitioners, lawyers, restaurant managers, outsourcing services, paralegals, scientists, and software developers all benefit by breaking down small and large, complex processes into manageable units to create an end-product.

Review this material in the sections History and Careers Using Project Management Skills in Project Management: Past and Present, the chapter History of Project Management by Merrie and Andrew Barron.


1c. Define the five process groups and the nine knowledge areas of the Project Management Body of Knowledge, the fourth edition (PMBOK 2008)

  • Define the PMI. Why did it develop the PMBOK?
  • Name the five process groups of project management as defined by the PMI and PMBOK.
  • Name the nine knowledge areas defined by the fourth edition of PMBOK.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a global professional organization for project management created in 1969 to further the profession. The PMI regularly updates its guidebook, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), to reflect the most up-to-date best practices for the profession. Project managers refer to the PMBOK to learn how to apply the best project management process to their situation.

The PMBOK describes five process groups: project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Each step assigns a specific set of actions to ensure project success.

  1. The initiation process considers the project start-up, working with clients or stakeholders to determine the project scope and define what the end product will look like.
  2. The planning process involves creating the appropriate schedules, budgets, and communication tools they will employ throughout the project.
  3. The execution process describes the actual work they will perform to create the product or deliverable.
  4. The monitoring and controlling process may begin in the planning stages and continue through the closing. It matches the initial plan with what actually happens and provides a way to adapt the plan as needed.
  5. The closing process considers final product delivery, getting client or stakeholder approval, and reviewing the entire process to determine what went well and what can be improved. Project managers should apply these lessons learned to future projects.

Within these five processes, the 2008 PMBOK delineates nine knowledge areas project managers should incorporate in the planning, execution, monitoring and controlling processes.

These nine knowledge areas include:

  1. Scope management,
  2. Time management,
  3. Cost management,
  4. Quality management,
  5. Human resource management,
  6. Communications management,
  7. Risk management,
  8. Procurement management,
  9. Stakeholder management,
  10. Integration management.

Review this material in the sections Project Management Defined in Introduction to Project Management, Introduction to the Project Management Knowledge Areas, and the section Project Phases in Project Phases and Organization.


1d. Explain how to develop a project profile

  • Define project profiling.
  • What are the attributes that can be used for project profiling?
  • How does project profiling increase the success of a project?
  • What are some common project profile models that an organization can use?

Project profiling is an evaluation process used to determine whether a project has the potential to be effective. Organizations should consider their resources carefully to decide which projects are most likely to succeed and provide the results they seek. The project profile provides a picture of the resources the project will likely use and offers insight into the best project team makeup.

Organizations can look to attributes, such as budget, cost, duration, location, number of workers, size, technology needs, urgency, and availability of qualified team leaders and members.

Project profiling is all about determining the viability of any given project. Examples of project profiling models include:

  • Shenhar and DVir typology,
  • Youker typology,
  • Complex adaptive systems, and
  • Darnall-Preston Complexity Index.

Project managers apply the Shenhar and Dvir typology model when the project involves high-level technology. The Youker typology model focuses on uncertainty, risk, and the sophistication of the workers employed. With more complex projects, managers use the complex adaptive systems approach. Finally, the Darnall-Preston Complexity Index offers a method for considering external and internal attributes, technological complexity, and environmental factors.

Review this material in the chapter Project Profiling, and the video Project Appraisal: Part One by Arun Kanda.


Unit 1 Vocabulary

  • Attributes
  • Closing
  • Complex adaptive systems
  • Controlling and monitoring
  • CriticalPath Method (CPM)
  • Darnall-Preston Complexity Index
  • Deliverables
  • Execution
  • GanttChart
  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • PMBOK
  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
  • Project
  • Project leader
  • Project management
  • Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • Project manager
  • Project member
  • Project partner
  • Project profiling
  • Risk
  • Scientific reasoning
  • Scope
  • Shenhar and Dvir typology
  • Stakeholders
  • Youker typology