decision making | project management

1. Introduction to the Coursework

This coursework is worth 100% of the total mark for the module. It aims at ‘helping you to demonstrate your overall appreciation of decision making in PM and the extent and quality of your background studies’. To achieve this ‘aim’, you should demonstrate the breadth and depth of your:

  • –  Ability to identify, make sense and define project decisions and their main elements;
  • –  Appreciation of decisions impacts on and significance in project success/failure;
  • –  Exploration and retrospective analysis of project decision(s) (e.g., being able to answer WH questions or Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?);
  • –  Identification, selection and implementation of appropriate concepts and tools for decision exploration and analysis;
  • –  Capability in learning lessons (do and don’t) from decision analysis;
  • –  Capability in generating new, creative, practical and impactful ideas for improving decision making in
    a project;
  • –  Ability of developing decision making skills for your future practice based on theories and lessons learned from the practice.

To demonstrate the above, you need to analyse a major decision in a large project deemed as a full or partial failure (consult Ramesh, if in doubt) from multiple relevant decision making perspectives. Note that normally a major decision is comprised of some smaller (or a set of) related decisions, identifying and considering such decisions will add to the depth and breadth of your analysis and will provide a more comprehensive picture.

For the purposes of this coursework, a ‘large project’ means project duration should be more than two years, the budget should be over two million pounds and it should have multiple external stakeholders at national and preferably at international levels (i.e., multiple countries or multiple companies from different countries).

Key Advice:

To avoid rework, last minute changes and rushed through analysis, do NOT start detailed analysis before making sure you: have studied subjects/concepts/tools covered in the module, fully appreciate the coursework purposes and instructions and have checked and explored appropriateness of your selected project and decision(s).

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2. Project Selection

Project selection directly affects the quality of your coursework and is one of the first and key decisions you will make in preparation for your coursework. You should select a fully or partially finished, large project and

aim at analysing it from multiple decision-making perspectives. For your own benefit, the project and/or the decision should generally be perceived as a failure (based on literature, public opinions and/or your perception based on your knowledge of DM in PM). Select a problematic and controversial project! Given the size and context of the project, a partial failure (for example, failure in a major phase of the project) might also be an appropriate option.

It is strongly advised that you use a more recent project, which the literature is not saturated with its publications and analysis. Analysing a widely published project, it is highly likely your coursework will end up being a report on data collection and reporting back on other people’s reflections rather than demonstrating your own capabilities and unique reflections/approaches to DM in PM.

2.1 Assignment workshop and Q&A

An assignment workshop and Q&A session will be announced to discuss the coursework. You should attend these and are highly advised to ask your questions and pay full attention to others’ questions. Asking questions and checking the appropriateness of your project without providing enough info, without a very clear

question, very close to the submission deadline, via emails over the weekends and University closure dates are NOT acceptable, ideal or to your benefit.

Please note, any given feedback on your selected project/decision would be provisional as I would only have your initial thoughts and general ideas, which might later change during the cw preparation. Taking the feedback further based on all the available sources and guidance through the report preparation process would be your responsibility. Draft of the coursework will not be reviewed.

2.2 Sources for project selection

Examples of common sources for projects could be websites such as: World Bank (http://www.worldbank.org/projects/); UNICEF; United Nations; public or large private organisations; project management professional bodies or a known organisation (e.g., an infrastructure ministry in your own or other countries). You could think of and explore other sources for more creative project selection.

In any case, for a good analysis you should make sure that you are able to access enough data and information from valid sources in “public domain”.

There is no restriction on the industry, e.g., infrastructure (transportation, utility, …); digitisation; cultural; arts; education; tourism; construction; modernisation projects … all could be good choices.

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