Advanced Tools and Techniques for Project Management

Course Number: PROJMGT 7060
Course Name: Advanced Tools and Techniques for Project Management (Online)
Course Description:    A practical and tangible, yet systematic way, to plan and control projects through consistent use and application of a repository of project management tools and techniques focusing on the desirability of repeatable process. Tools and techniques include those for project initiation and portfolio management, planning, and implementation and closure, in the context of the importance of project management to the competitive strategy of the enterprise.
Prerequisites:    none
Level: Graduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Master of Science in Project Management

Registration Instructions

NOTE: The information below is representative of the course and is subject to change.  The specific details of the course will be available in the Desire2Learn course instance for the course in which a student registers.

Additional Information

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to

  • Describe how the project management environment has changed over the last decade and the expectations of the PM have evolved.
  • Demonstrate how SWOT analysis can be applied to project management.
  • Show how SWOT analysis helps an enterprise operating in the project environment to position itself for the future.
  • Explain in detail the advantages and disadvantages of critical chain project scheduling.
  • Compare and contrast critical chain with other common forms of project scheduling such as iterative, rolling wave and agile.
  • Establish guidelines for use of earned value management (EVM) and illustrate how to perform EV calculations for a typical project.
  • Demonstrate how using EVM can improve project outcomes.
  • Describe the A3 quality tool and contrast it with other quality management tools. Solve a typical project quality issue using the A3 process.
  • Demonstrate how to apply effective methods for navigating complexity in projects and programs through recognizing the impact of organizational structure, due diligence of projects and programs before approval, developing leadership acumen, effective communications, flexibility and resilience as well as critical thinking.
  • Describe how Strategic Initiative Management utilizes the PMO to drive strategy.
  • Understand the disconnect between strategy formulation ad implementation. Recognize key practices of high performing organizations, the different types of PMOs and success factors in promoting project and program management to a more strategic level.
  • Demonstrate effective application of select advanced project management tools and techniques through analysis and solution of a case study.
  • Recognize and deploy methods for influencing and managing project outcomes. Demonstrate how to apply effective project statusing and utilize key performance indicators.

Unit Descriptions

Unit 1: Changing PM Environment, An Overview of the Next Generation PM, and SWOT Analysis
This isn't your father's project management realm of war rooms, affinity diagramming and wall charts.  The project management landscape is changing dramatically with the increase in technology applications, virtual teams and global clients.  To be succssful in the project management realm of the future, one needs to recognize the changing demands on the PM and the project teams, the sophistication of the clients and how technology is both an enabler and a challenge.

This also means that the project manager is expected to be more than just the leader of the project, as you will see in the PMI research findings, the Next Generation PM needs to be strong in strategy, leadership and technology...the triple constraint for PM skills.  In addition, we are expected to help our clients achieve success in their businss, not just deliver the project, so we need to be well versed in tools such as SWOT analysis.

Major Topics

  • Changing Project Management Environment
  • The Next Generation Project Manager
  • Behavioral Excellence
  • Apply the Principles of the SWOT Analysis

Unit 2: Critical Chain, Activity Estimating and Earned Value
The Project Manager will still be responsible ensuring that the project meets the triple constraint and as such will need to be very proficient in the tools that make that possible.  Recognizing the importance of detailed planning and the impact of the critical path and the critical chain theory on the project, activity estimating and measuring earned value.  Not all projects utilize earned value as rigorously, but you can apply earned value indicators and show the value of the work that is being performed and provide a better gage for what is remaining to complete the project.

Major Topics and Outcomes

  • Critical Chain Approach to Project Scheduling
  • Activity Estimating
  • Earned Value Management

Unit 3: Integrated Change Control, Power & Politics and the A3 Quality Approach
Just as our marketplace has now gone “global,” so has the art of managing projects. Today’s project manager may not only be working with international stakeholders, but cross-cultural team members. This poses unique challenges – understanding how other cultures do business…what are acceptable and unacceptable business practices…keeping trans-global partners’ motivations, goals, and perceptions in mind…

Accordingly, one more layer is added to the role of project manager – being a diplomat. While professional members of the diplomatic corps represent their nation’s interests to other nations in ways that not only derail poor relationships, but build good ones, so does today’s project manager represent the interests of his or her project to various parties - stakeholders, clients, customers, internal teams, and even upper management. Sometimes, the PM must reach across states, regions, oceans, and cultures. Sometimes, external politics insert themselves into the project. If you want to succeed in today’s global marketplace, you must manage diplomatically.

But today’s PM environment is also one of constant change, and if you do not have a Change Management process that effectively and seamlessly integrates change into your project as it moves ahead, you are likely to experience unwanted chaos, conflict, delays, cost increases…or worse. Integrated Change Control (ICC) is the basic tried-and-true approach that you will encounter in this unit.

At the same time, solid time management is more important now than ever before, and this means that communications must be lean and immediately grasped. Taking a page from Toyota, the A3 approach is an effective method of providing status, proposals, and solutions to problems that can derail your project. This unit introduces the concept of A3, and shows how it can be used to make your project communications much more effective.

Major Topics and Outcomes

  • Integrated Change Control
  • Power & Politics
  • A3 Quality Approach

Unit 4: Strategic Initiative and the PMO Imperative, Navigating Complexity and the application of Managing Conflict Effectively
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the leading professional association for the field of project management and is recognized for its leadership in the following areas:

  • Product Leadership (credible resource and innovator for PM knowledge)
  • Partnering (preferred partner for the advancement of the PM profession)
  • Advocacy (leading respected advocate for the mature practice of PM in organizations)
  • Thought Leadership (leading the evolution of the PM profession)

It is through these areas of influence and involvement that PMI has recognized and promoted the advancement of the PM profession to the strategic level within organizations where we see the role of PMOs in enabling strategic initiatives.  We are finding that the approach of managing strategic initiatives via a project methodology increases our success in addressing the challenges associated with implementing strategy and fosters our understanding of the impact complexity has on project outcomes and how to more effectively manage complexity.

Major Topics and Outcomes
• Strategic Initiative and the PMO Imperative
• Navigating Complexity

Unit 5: Case Study Analysis: Applying Variable Time Analysis, Simulation Modeling, Risk Mechanics and Team Tools
Advanced project management techniques includes knowing how to utilize scenario planning, simulation modeling, managing risk and creating empowered teams to make sure that the project achieves its objectives.   Rarely does have no change, risks or issues.  These elements should be expected and it is the wise project manager that understands how to define and offer options when the project deviates or needs to be brought back in sync.

Major Topics and Outcomes

  • Variable Time Analysis
  • Simulation Modeling
  • Risk Mechanics
  • Team Tools

Unit 6: Techniques to Influence Project Outcomes, Project Tracking Status and Key Performance Indicators
Project Success is measured in a variety of different ways.  The traditional attainment of the triple constraint is no longer the measure of project success but rather an underlying expectation of performance.  How projects are tracked, the key performance indicators that will be used, the role of the PMO in defining, measuring and promoting project success are all critical to ensuring a strong project management culture.

The PM has a tool belt of various tools and techniques that can be utilized to manage and demonstrate project success.  Not every tool is applicable to each project, therefore the PM needs to have the ability of discernment.

Major Topics and Outcomes

  • Techniques to Influence Project Outcomes
  • Project Tracking Status
  • Key Performance Indicators

Exams: None
Assignments: 4
Group Assignments: 4

Grading Information
You will be graded in terms of individual participation, individual performance (assignments), group work and individual team evaluations.  I expect that at a Masters level all of you are capable of earning an “A”.  In this course it is not going to be a matter of your earning an “A,” but rather a matter of your retaining an “A.”  There are weighted averages for the grades as follows:

Grading Scale
A 90% - 100%
B 80% - 89%
C 73% - 79%


Individual Assignments (See Calendar #) 40%
   #3 (SWOT/Survey) - Unit 1  
   #5 (Paper) - Unit 2  
   #8 (Implementation of A3 and Lean Culture) - Unit 3  
   #16 (PMO Proposal and Project Tracking) - Unit 6  
Group Assignments (See Calendar #) - Units 4 & 5 54%
   #10 (Group Introducation) 10%
   #11 (Group Ice Breaker) 10%
   #12 (Group Project) 20%
   #14 (Group Case Study) 14%


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