Welcome to BUS402: Project Management
Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Student Handbook.
Explore the steps and processes businesses follow to complete tasks and meet deadlines by focusing on the role project managers play in initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and terminating projects.
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge defines a project as "a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates a definite beginning and end. The end is reached when the project's objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists" (PMBOK, 2008, p. 5).
The discipline of project management has various definitions. Some describe it as a systematic method of planning and guiding a project from start to finish, while others have defined project management as a methodical approach of achieving targets and goals while optimizing the use of resources such as people, money, time, and space. Some have referred to project management as the ability to be open and to elicit commitments through effective communication regarding how team members are willing to participate. More specifically, the PMBOK (2008) defines project management as "the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements" (p. 6).
Project management is therefore accomplished through the appropriate application and integration of systematic and logically grouped project management processes within five process groups: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Good project managers should be able to understand and effectively execute all project management processes for each unique project while communicating effectively within their own teams as well as with all stakeholders across the organizational network. Project managers must also be artful at delegation, and they must understand that a cohesive team that works well together is critical to their success.
While many associate project management with military logistics, information technology, and construction, project management procedures are integrated into some aspect of most occupations. Today, in addition to their normal duties, employees are often expected to take on additional assignments to get the job done on time and under budget.
This course will walk you through the nuts and bolts of project management. From understanding the project life cycle to setting priorities and expectations to controlling expenses and reporting results, project management touches several resources within organizations. You will examine roles and environments and various techniques of planning, evaluation, and control. An overview of the tools used in contemporary project management will also be discussed throughout the course.
This course includes the following units:
- Unit 1: Project Management Defined
- Unit 2: Project Life Cycle
- Unit 3: Organizational Design
- Unit 4: Project Initiation and Planning
- Unit 5: Project Execution
- Unit 6: Project Implementation and Closure
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
- define the terms project and project management;
- describe the project life cycle, project selection, project environment, and approval process;
- identify the project management process groups, including initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing;
- explain the role of the project manager in initiating and completing a project;
- explain knowledge areas, including project integration management, project scope management, project time management, project cost management, project quality management, project human resource management, project communications management, project risk management, and project procurement management;
- identify and apply the steps that must be taken to complete projects on time and on budget;
- identify and apply human-resources skills in forming and developing a team;
- describe how to organize the organizational structure for a project;
- identify tools and techniques for planning and tracking a project;
- develop methods for motivating teams and keeping them focused;
- explain how to make leadership decisions concerning organizational structure and the role of project resources on a project's team; and
- identify project risks.
Throughout this course, you will also see learning outcomes in each unit. You can use those learning outcomes to help organize your studies and gauge your progress.
The primary learning materials for this course are articles, lectures, and videos.
All course materials are free to access and can be found in each unit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will tell you what to focus on in each resource, and will help you to understand how the learning materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also see a list of all the learning materials in this course by clicking on Resources in the navigation bar.
Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score
Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you may take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.
There are also end-of-unit assessments in this course. These are designed to help you study, and do not factor into your final course grade. You can take these as many times as you want until you understand the concepts and material covered. You can see all of these assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course's navigation bar.
Earning College Credit
This course is eligible for college credit via Saylor Academy's Direct Credit Program. If you want to earn college credit, you must take and pass the Direct Credit final exam. That exam will be password protected and requires a proctor. If you pass the Direct Credit exam, you will receive a Proctor Verified Course Certificate and be eligible to earn an official transcript. For more information about applying for college credit, review the guide to college credit opportunities. Be sure to check the section on proctoring for details like fees and technical requirements.
There is a 14-day waiting period between attempts of the Direct Credit final exam. There is no waiting period between attempts for the not-for-credit exam and the Direct Credit exam. You may only attempt each Direct Credit final exam a maximum of 3 times. Be sure to study in between each attempt!
Tips for Success
BUS402: Project Management is a self-paced course, which means that you can decide when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or an assigned schedule to follow. We estimate that the "average" student will take 62 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.
Learning new material can be challenging, so we've compiled a few study strategies to help you succeed:
- Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories that you come across. This can help you put each concept into context, and will create a refresher that you can use as you study later on.
- As you work through the materials, take some time to test yourself on what you remember and how well you understand the concepts. Reflecting on what you've learned is important for your long-term memory, and will make you more likely to retain information over time.
- Although you may work through this course completely independently, you may find it helpful to connect with other Saylor students through the discussion forums. You may access the discussion forums at https://discourse.saylor.org.
This course is delivered entirely online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.
- To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one for free here. Although you can access some of the course without logging in to your account, you should log in to maximize your course experience. For example, you cannot take assessments or track your progress unless you are logged in.
- If you plan to attempt the optional Direct Credit final exam, then you will also need access to a webcam. This lets our remote proctoring service verify your identity, which is required to issue an official transcript to schools on your behalf.
For additional guidance, check out Saylor Academy's FAQ.
This course is entirely free to enroll in and to access. Everything linked in the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, and activities, is available for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.
This course also has an optional final exam that can give you an opportunity to earn college credit. This exam requires the use of a proctoring service for identity verification purposes. The cost for proctoring for this optional exam is $5 per session.