595.660.8VL - Planning and Managing Projects

Engineering Management
Spring 2024


This course concentrates on the general methodology of managing a technical project from concept to operational use, with emphasis on the functions, roles, and responsibilities of the project manager. Topics include career aspects of project management; business factors affecting the project and the manager; project organization, planning, execution, and communications; project life cycle; risk analysis; interface management; design review; design control assessment; reporting; and reaction to critical problems. Students are formed into groups, presented with a scenario that simulates the development of a high-technology system, and assigned to make decisions required of the project manager in the execution of the project. The project manager’s decisions must then be effectively communicated (and perhaps defended) to a variety of audiences (represented by other students and faculty) that include top management, the customer, functional management, and members of the project team. Course Note(s): The format for this course is either online or a mixed online/live environment called Virtual Live. For the Virtual Live format, weekly lectures are provided either online or live (and recorded) on a predesignated day/time, with students/instructors joining from any location via personal computer. Contact the instructors for additional information.


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Staś Tarchalski


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Tim Simpson

Course Structure

The course content is divided into modules. Course Modules can be accessed by clicking “Modules” on the left menu. A module will have several sections including the overview, lecture materials, readings, and assignments. Students are encouraged to preview all sections of the module before starting. Modules run for a period of seven days from Wednesday to Tuesday of the following week; exceptions are noted on the Course Outline page. Students should regularly check the Announcements for any updates to assignments or due dates.

Course Topics

Instructor Introductions
Introduction to the Course
Project Management Overview
Honesty and Integrity in Project Management
Project Lifecycle
Project Initiation
Overview of Planning
Overview of PickPOCIT scenario
Staffing the Organization
Statement of Work (aka Scope & Objectives)
Work Breakdown Structure
Schedule and Critical Path
PjM IT Tools
Estimation, Resources, and Budget
Finance and Contracts
Overview of Execution
Risk and Opportunity Management
Conflict Management
Design Reviews
Configuration Management 
Directing and Work Authorization
Monitoring and Control
Quality Management
How to Work with Executives
Project Management Reviews
EVM System Introduction                                                                                                                                   
Leadership and Management
Portfolio and Multi-Project Management
Conflict Management and Negotiation
Project Management and Marketing
Project Management in R&D (Innovation)
Project Closeout
Agile Project Management


Course Goals

To develop management and technical management skills needed to successfully lead high technology projects and organizations.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Larson, Erik W. and Gray, Clifford F; Project Management, The Managerial Process (8th ed.); McGraw Hill Education.

Hardcover or Kindle: 682 pages ISBN 13: 978-1260238860 MHID:  1-260-23886-5

Required Software

Office 365 (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneDrive), Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Microsoft Project are provided.  See Software Tools Module.

Student Coursework Requirements

Each module will take approximately 5–10 hours per week to complete. Here is an approximate breakdown: reading the assigned sections of the texts (approximately 2–4 hours per week) as well as some outside reading, participating in class each week or listening to the class recording if unable to attend live (approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes per week), and writing assignments (approximately 2–4 hours per week).

This course will consist of four basic student requirements:

  1. Preparation and Participation (Class Discussions) (Individual Work / Individual Grade)

Each student is responsible for carefully reading all assigned material and participating live in class discussions. The virtual live version of the course does not have asynchronous discussion postings.  Most readings are from the course text. Additional reading may be assigned to supplement text readings.


  1. Homework Scenario Assignments (Individual Work / Individual Grade)

The homework scenario assignments are part of a semester-long simulation where you will assume the responsibilities of a project manager in simulations that are structured to stress the importance of organization and method in accomplishing the activities in setting up and maintaining a new project. In Module 2 you are given a description of what you need to know about the fictitious company in which you are working, Inventory Specialists, Inc. (ISI).

The scenarios are graded as follows (some of these scenarios require references, which are specified in the assignment):

100 to 90 = A - All parts of assignment are addressed; Application of Concepts/Writing Quality/ Rationale/ References/ Examples are outstanding [rich in content; full of thought, insight, and analysis].

89 to 80 = B - All parts of the assignment are addressed; Application of Concepts/Writing Quality/ Rationale/ References/ Examples are adequate [substantial information; thought, insight, and analysis has taken place].

79 to 70= C - Majority of parts of the assignment are addressed; Application of Concepts/Writing Quality/ Rationale/ References/ Examples are not sufficient [generally competent; information is thin and commonplace].

69 to 60 = D – Some parts of the assignment are addressed.  Application of Concepts/Writing Quality/Rationale/ References/Examples are either very thin or very commonplace

-0 = No assignment submitted. 

Detailed instructions for completing each scenario are provided in the Course Modules where the scenario is assigned.

Assignments are expected to be submitted by the due date.  10 points will be deducted for each week late.  Exceptions for work or personal situations must be requested prior to the due date of the assignment.

  1. Team Presentations (2) (Teamwork / Team Grade)

Two team presentations are assigned during the semester. The first is assigned in Module 2 for presentation in Module 7. The second is a follow-on to the first presentation and is presented in Module 13. 

The team presentation is evaluated by the following grading elements:

    1. Team preparation and team member participation (as described in Team Presentation assignment) (40%)
    2. Student technical understanding and understanding of the team presentation topic (as related to individual role that the student assumes and described in the Team Presentation assignment) (20%)
    3. Team technical understanding and application of the team presentation topic (40%)

Team presentation is graded as follows:

100–90 = A - Team Preparation and Participation [individual/ team roles and responsibilities well defined and understood; individual/ team well versed in use of Zoom; individual/ team work product(s) agreed to, well prepared and available to all team members/ instructors]; Student Understanding/ Team Understanding [rich in content; full of thought, insight, and analysis].

89–80 = B - Team Preparation and Participation [individual/ team roles and responsibilities well defined and understood; individual/ team well versed in use of Zoom; individual/ team work product(s) agreed to and prepared]; Student Understanding/ Team Understanding [substantial information; thought, insight, and analysis has taken place].

79–70 = C - Team Preparation and Participation [individual/ team roles and responsibilities agreed to; individual/ team well versed in use of Zoom; individual/ teamwork product(s) prepared]; Student Understanding/ Team Understanding [generally competent; information is thin and commonplace].

  1. Midterm Exam (Individual Work / Individual Grade)

The midterm exam will be released in Module 7. The exam will be evaluated using the following criteria:

    1. Each part of question is answered (20%)
    2. Writing quality and technical accuracy (30%) (Writing is expected to meet or exceed accepted graduate-level English and scholarship standards. That is, all assignments will be graded on grammar and style as well as content.)
    3. Rationale for answer is provided demonstrating a comprehension of and application of the concepts of PM (20%)
    4. Examples are included to illustrate rationale (15%) (If a student does not have direct experience related to a particular question, then the student is to provide analogies versus examples.)
    5. Outside references are included (15%)

Exams are graded as follows:

100–90 = A - All parts of question are addressed; Writing Quality/ Rationale/ Examples/ Outside References [rich in content; full of thought, insight, and analysis].

89–80 = B - All parts of the question are addressed; Writing Quality/ Rationale/ Examples/ Outside References [substantial information; thought, insight, and analysis has taken place].

79–70 = C - Majority of parts of the question are addressed; Writing Quality/ Rationale/ Examples/ Outside References [generally competent; information is thin and commonplace].

  1. Project Plan (Teamwork / Team Grade)

To gain experience in creating, organizing, and implementing the processes of project management by preparing a complete plan for the PickPOCIT scenario project as a final examination.  This project plan will be accomplished on a team basis. The information created and presented by the team as earlier assignments may be used for the project plan.  Instructor feedback on the individual and team assignments should be integrated into the project plan.


The basis for the project plan is the "PickPOCIT Contract" and other relevant documentation provided and discussed at earlier sessions. You may determine at this point that there is cause for some deviation from those two earlier assignments due to the experience gained in this course, and that it is understood and acceptable.

 Each group must use the following outline for the Project Plan: 

  1. Overview
  2. Financial Summary
  3. Contractual Aspects (incl SOW)
  4. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  5. Networks / Schedules (Gantt)
  6. Resources/Budget
  7. Organization / Key Personnel
  8. Evaluation Methods (Reviews, Audits etc)
  9. Risk and Opportunity Management
  10. Earned Value Baseline (incl. EAC)

The Project Plan will be graded as the Final Examination for the course. The Project Plan, as well as the planning process presented in this course, represents a firm foundation for success in any endeavor. Therefore, each group is expected to prepare a thorough, well organized plan for the PickPOCIT project. Clarity and conciseness count!  A fifty-page response is not welcome!

  1. Student Peer Evaluation (Individual)

Your participation and contribution to the team assignments as assessed by your student peer teammates.  There will be one eval after the first presentation.  The second one will be after the second presentation and the final project plan submittal.  The inputs from the evaluation will be used to determine each student’s team participation grade

Grading Policy

Student assignments are due according to the dates in the course outline. Your instructors will post grades by the next weekly class.  Excellent assignment submissions may be presented to the entire class and the students will be asked to comment and discuss their perspective of the assignment.  

We generally do not directly grade spelling and grammar. However, egregious violations of the rules of the English language will be noted without comment. Consistently poor performance in either spelling or grammar is taken as an indication of poor written communication ability that may detract from your grade.

A grade of A indicates achievement of consistent excellence and distinction throughout the course—that is, conspicuous excellence in all aspects of assignments and discussion in every week.

A grade of B indicates work that meets all course requirements on a level appropriate for graduate academic work. These criteria apply to both undergraduates and graduate students taking the course.

Final grades will be determined by the following weighting:



Individual Assignments (10, 9 in the summer)


Midterm Exam


Team Project Presentations


Team Project Plan


Team Member Peer Assessments


Class Participation





Score RangeLetter Grade
100-97= A+
96-93= A
92-90= A−
89-87= B+
86-83= B
82-80= B−
79-77= C+
76-73= C
72-70= C−
69-67= D+
66-63= D
<63= F
Grades that include 5 tenths or more in the calculation will be rounded up.

Course Evaluation

Mid-Term Evaluations

A mid-term course evaluation will be administered to all students at the midpoint of the term. This feedback helps guide instructors to make any adjustments that may be needed prior to the end of the course. The link to access the mid-term evaluations is e-mailed to all students approximately one week prior to the middle of the term.

The evaluation consists of two questions:

  1. What is going well in this course?
  2. How could this course be improved? 

Final Course Evaluations

Final course evaluations provide feedback to the instructors from their students. Generally, the final course evaluations are made available to students one week prior to the end of the term and remain open for twenty-eight days after the course has ended.

Student grades will be suppressed during the final course evaluations. Once students complete their evaluations, they will gain access to their grades. If a student elects not to complete the evaluation, he/she will not have access to his/her grade in SIS until the twenty-ninth day after the course has ended.

Course Policies

Assignments are generally due on Tuesday evenings at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. All homework assignments and Team Presentations and Plan are submitted electronically via an Assignment Submission link within the module in which it is due. A comprehensive list of assignments and due dates are provided in the Course Outline. Homework is expected to be turned in as indicated in the Assignment Submission link provided within the module; it will be considered late if it is received after that time. Special circumstances (e.g., temporary lack of internet access, family or work situation) can be accommodated if the student informs us in advance. Any assignment that is late without notice to the instructors or unjustifiably late will have the grade reduced 10% per week (prorated by day).  Assignments not submitted by the last day of the semester will receive a grade of 0, unless special extenuating circumstances have been communicated, and a plan to complete the assignments has been agreed to between the student and the instructors.

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.