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The World of Project Management

In: Business and Management

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Chapter 1

The World of Project Management

This chapter introduces the topic of project management. Projects are defined as temporary endeavors undertaken to create a unique product or service. The chapter points out that recent interest in project management is based on a recognition that many organizational tasks do not fit neatly into business-as-usual. The significant differences between project management and general management are overviewed. The three interrelated objectives of budget, schedule, and specifications are also introduced. In addition, two alternative project life cycles are presented and the importance of understanding this distinction is discussed. Also included in the chapter is a discussion of project selection including both non-numeric and numeric selection methods. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the aggregate project plan and an overview of the organization of the remainder of the text.

Cases and Readings

Some cases appropriate to the subject of this chapter are:

Harvard: 9-688-040 Boeing 767: From Concept to Production (A); 9-688-041 (B) 9-888-519 Videotape. This 19 page best-selling case shows how a massive corporation manages the evolution of an enormously complex and risky project from conception to manufacture. The 1-page B case is a supplement update about whether Boeing needs to change the way they manage such projects. The video shows the assembly process of an airplane, compressing 10 weeks of work into ten minutes. Good introductory case to the idea of large-scale projects. An 18 page teaching note is available for this case (9-689-027).

Harvard: 9-396-311 BAE Automated System (A): Denver International Airport Baggage-Handling System. This 15-page case describes the difficult, continually-delayed Denver airport project from the viewpoint of one of the contractors. Includes issues of...

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