An Embedded Approach for Project Management Learning Process

An Embedded Approach for Project Management Learning Process

Shai Rozenes (Engineering and Management of Service Systems, Afeka Tel Aviv Academic College of Engineering, Tel Aviv, Israel) and Ida Kukliansky (Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek Hefer, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/jitpm.2013070103
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The project management discipline is expanding within many engineering activities. This discipline can facilitate strivings toward successful accomplishment of an engineering project. Therefore, many academic institutes teach the “project management” program. This study presents a novel approach that educates engineering students to become successful project managers based on contextual learning. This approach embeds a practical project within the project management program. The student has to implement the academic know-how into the embedded project. The study utilizes a quantitative tool to measure the students’ response to the approach. The results indicate that the students were satisfied with the approach.
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Literature Review

An interesting way of coping with the increasing demand for project management solutions was the development of Bodies of Knowledge (BoK), that summarized the main and important knowledge in the area of project management by two professional associations: the Association of Project Management (APM) and the Project Management Institute (PMI) (Meredith & Mantel, 2009). A review (Morris, 2001) was conducted regarding the existing project management bodies of knowledge. The author indicated the need for BoK and continually updating its content.

Successful performance of a project should depend on appropriate planning. The PMBoK defines the use of 21 processes that relate to planning, out of the 39 processes required for proper project management (Globerson et al., 2002). Executing the project according to the predefined project plan is achievable only if the project planning and execution know-how procedures are well known to the PMO personnel. Consequently, training is a significant issue facilitating successful performances during the entire project life cycle. A survey that was conducted in an aerospace organization (Eve, 2007) provides clear evidence that implementing a project management training methodology improves both individuals’ and organization's performance.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE Std 1490-1998, 1999) adopted the PMBoK as a standard for managing projects within the electrical and electronics domain. This recognition means that project management know-how is essential for project success; therefore, to gain this knowledge is tremendously important. As a result, training is a crucial element for project success.

The American Department of Defense (DoD 5000.2-R, 2002) stated that one of four goals for government projects is to improve training and education.

A research (Shenhar, 2001) surveyed Israeli defense projects and challenged the BoK assumption that all projects are similar and “one size fits all”. It classified the surveyed projects into 4 categories. Each category had to be managed a little differently in order to be successful. Furthermore, a new concept was developed (Shenhar & Dvir, 2007) to emphasis the basic differences between projects. A similar attitude (Evaristo & van Fenema, 1999) had been taken to classify project management types based on the number of projects and sites involved. The existence of distributed projects, their importance, and expected future predominance was described.

Furthermore, it should be noted that projects are often very complex. This complexity supports the argument against the BoK concept of “one size fits all”.

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