Unit 37 Management of Projects


Unit 37:

Management of Projects

Unit code:

QCF level:

Credit value:


This unit provides an understanding and experience of project management principles, methodologies, tools and techniques that may be used in industry and the public sector.

Unit abstract

The management of projects is a key element for successful scientific investigation of activities related to academic research, company research and development or consultancy.

Through this unit learners will develop an understanding of what constitutes a project and the role of a project manager. They will examine the criteria for the success or failure of a project, evaluate project management systems and review the elements involved in project termination and appraisal.

Learners will also understand the need for structured organisation within the project team, effective control and coordination and good leadership qualities in the project manager. They will be able to analyse and plan the activities needed to carry out the project, including how to set up a project, how to control and execute a project, and how to carry out project reviews using a specialist software package for project management. They will also appreciate how the project fits into the strategy or business plan of an organisation.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit a learner should:

1       Understand the principles of project management

2     Be able to plan a project in terms of organisation and people

3       Be able to manage project processes and procedures.

Unit content

1      Understand the principles of project management

Project management: project management and the role of the project manager eg management of change, understanding of project management system elements and their integration, management of multiple projects, project environment and the impact of external influences on projects; identification of the major project phases and why they are required; an understanding of the work in each phase; the nature of work in the lifecycles of projects in various industries

Success/failure criteria: the need to meet operational, time and cost criteria; define and measure success eg develop the project scope, product breakdown structure (PBS), work breakdown structure (WBS), project execution strategy and the role of the project team; consideration of investment appraisal eg use of discount cash flow (DCF) and net present value (NPV); benefit analysis and viability of projects; determine success/failure criteria; preparation of project definition report; acceptance tests

Project management systems: procedures and processes; knowledge of project information support (IS) systems; how to integrate human and material resources to achieve successful projects

Terminating the project: audit trails; punch lists; close-out reports

Post-project appraisals: comparison of project outcome with business objectives

2      Be able to plan a project in terms of organisation and people

Organisational structure: functional, project and matrix organisational structures eg consideration of cultural and environmental influences, organisational evolution during the project lifecycle; job descriptions and key roles eg the project sponsor, champion, manager, integrators; other participants eg the project owner, user, supporters, stakeholders

Roles and responsibilities: the need for monitoring and control eg preparation of project plans, planning, scheduling and resourcing techniques,

Control and co-ordination: use of work breakdown structures to develop monitoring and control systems, monitoring performance and progress measurement against established targets and plans; project reporting; change control procedures; the importance of cascading, communications briefing, instilling trust and confidence in others

Leadership requirements: stages of team development e.g. Belbin’s team roles, motivation and the need for team building, project leadership styles and attributes; delegation of work and responsibility; techniques for dealing with conflict; negotiation skills; chair meetings

Human resources and requirements: calculation; specification; optimisation of human resource requirements; job descriptions

3      Be able to manage project processes and procedures

Project organisation: the product breakdown structure (PBS) and the work breakdown structure (WBS); project execution strategy and the organisation breakdown structure (OBS) eg preparation of organisation charts, task responsibility matrix, statement of work (SOW) for project tasks

Project management plans: the why, what, how, when, where and by whom of project management eg contract terms, document distribution schedules, procurement, establishing the baseline for the project

Scheduling techniques: relationship between schedules, OBS and WBS; bar charts; milestone schedules; network techniques; resourcing techniques; computer-based scheduling and resourcing packages; project progress measurement and reporting techniques; staff-hours earned value and progress ‘S’ curves; critical path analysis and reporting; milestone trending

Cost control techniques: cost breakdown structure eg types of project estimate, resources needed, estimating techniques, estimating accuracy, contingency and estimation, bid estimates, whole-life cost estimates, sources of information, cost information sensitivity, computer-based estimating; allocation of budgets to packages of work; committed costs; actual costs; cash flow; contingency management

Performance: cost performance analysis eg budgeted cost for work scheduled (BCWS) budgeted cost for work performed (BCWP); concept of earned value; actual cost of work performed (ACWP); cost performance indicators

Change control procedures: the need for formal control of changes e.g. project impact of changes, principles of change control and configuration management; changes to scope, specification, cost or schedule; change reviews and authorisation; the formation of project teams; project initiation and start-up procedures

Learning outcomes and assessment criteria

Learning outcomes
Assessment criteria for pass

On successful completion of
The learner can:

this unit a learner will:

LO1 Understand the principles of

explain the principles of project management

project management

discuss viability of projects with particular emphasis on

the criteria for success/failure

explore principles behind project management systems

and procedures

explain key elements involved in terminating projects

and conducting post-project appraisals

LO2 Be able to plan a project in

plan the most appropriate organisational structure

terms of organisation and

discuss roles and responsibilities of participants within a



carry out the control and co-ordination of a project

2.4 document project leadership requirements and qualities

plan specific human resources and requirements for a


LO3 Be able to manage project

design the project organisation with reference to

processes and procedures

prepared project management plans

use project scheduling and cost control techniques

report the methods used to measure project


report project change control procedures

discuss the outcomes of the project and make



This unit could be studied in parallel with, and complement, Unit 3: Project Design, Implementation and Evaluation, which could provide many of the skills necessary for the successful completion of this unit. This unit is also supported by Unit 7: Business Management Techniques.

Essential resources

Appropriate software packages will be needed to demonstrate project control and reporting techniques. Packages might include time and cost scheduling packages, documentation and procurement control packages, spreadsheet packages, graphic presentation packages.

Employer engagement and vocational contexts

Learners will benefit from visits to organisations that are in engaged in project work as a part of academic research, investigations and research for public bodies, company research and development or consultancy activities. An ideal context would be for the learner to manage a project that was of interest to a particular organisation.