This course is an introduction to the philosophy and practice of project management applied mainly to developing computer applications. The class discussions and reading material will interleave two interdependent tracks:
Both tracks are currently the subjects of evolutionary change and heated controversy among experts. We shall present and follow a widely practiced mainstream methodology and, as time permits, also examine and critically discuss some of the alternative project-management approaches that are currently in vogue.
If you prefer to follow one of the alternative approaches, perhaps because your employer has adopted it as a mandatory standard, you may do so in the course. However, you must understand the mainstream approach we're presenting and be able to state definite reasons for deviating from it.
Project planning & control disciplines for software development are closely tied to and dependent on methodologies for:
Since those topics and the associated courses are not prerequistes to this course, we won't try to simulate an actual realistic project from start to finish. Instead, we shall critically examine realistic situations that arise throughout typical software development projects, emphasizing and applying to them the concepts and techniques of project planning & control.
If you are now working on a real project (for an employer, another course, or independent research), and if that project's size and schedule mesh with our course, then you can talk to me about substituting aspects of that project for some of the homework assignments.
Specific reading assignments are given in our week-by-week schedule. In order to conserve class time, you should study each session's assigned reading before that session and come to class prepared to ask questions about anything that you don't fully understand and agree with.
Since most of the material will be presented and discussed in our class sessions, and since the once-a-week schedule is highly compressed, you'll be at a serious disadvantage if you miss a session. No amount of reading and individual study can substitute for participation in the class sessions.
If you have to miss one or more sessions, please confer with the instructor as early as possible to determine how best to master the material you miss.
The final examination will cover the full course content, including major issues from the project and individual presentations.
A mid-term examination (just before the drop deadline) will confirm your mastery of the mainstream concepts discussed up that point.
I may give an occasional brief quiz at the beginning of class to verify your understanding of some important point raised in the previous session or in the assigned reading.
The usual criteria apply to this course.
Your course grade will be computed from the following components:
|Final Examination||26 points|
|Mid-Term Examination||20 points|
|Homework exercises (6)||8 points each|
|Class participation and mini-quizzes||6 points|
Letter grades for the course have the following ranges:
The + and - qualifiers divide those ranges in the usual way, with slightly more weight in borderline situations for the most recent (latest) work.
While the knowledge and experience gained in this course should be very helpful to a student who wishes to sit for the CMP examination administered by the Project Management Institute, the purpose of this course is not to prepare for an outside examination but rather to prepare the student to plan and control a successful real project in an organization.
If time permits we may review critically sections of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), which forms the basis of the certification examinations.
Last modified June 2, 2018