645.667.81 - Management of Systems Projects

Systems Engineering
Spring 2024


The course addresses the management of a technical project from concept to operational use, with emphasis on the functions, roles, and responsibilities of the project manager. From the development of a proposal to the delivery of a product to a customer, the efforts to conceive, plan, budget, schedule, monitor, control/direct, and report the progress of the project are discussed. Throughout the project life cycle, the need for good communications, interface and configuration management, and conflict resolution is emphasized. Students assume the role of project managers who must use management tools such as WBS, EVM, and CPN and who must address typical problems that arise in the conduct of a high-technology systems project. Prerequisite(s): Admission into the Systems Engineering program.

Expanded Course Description

This course requires admission into the Systems Engineering Program (not available for Technical Management students).


Profile photo of JoAnne Saunders.

JoAnne Saunders


Profile photo of Christian Utara.

Christian Utara


Course Structure

The course has been divided into modules. Modules can be accessed by clicking Modules in Canvas.  A module will have several sections including the overview, content, readings, discussions, and assignments.  Students are encouraged to preview all sections of the module before starting.  Most modules run for a period of seven (7) days.  Exceptions are noted on the Course Outline page.  Students should regularly check the Calendar and Announcements for assignment due dates.

Course Topics

The following are a list of topics that will be covered during the semester:

Course Goals

  1. To present complex technical projects from the Project Manager's perspective.
  2. To demonstrate the application of project management "tools of the trade" in managing and controlling a technical project.
  3. To identify challenges to be experienced by Project Managers and present approaches to resolve them.
  4. To illustrate the relationship between Project Management and Systems Engineering, and explain the importance of this relationship to successful project execution.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Strongly Recommended, but Not Required

Larson, E.W. & Gray, C.F. Project Management: The managerial process, New Jersey: McGraw-Hill.

ISBN: 9781260238860

Textbook information for this course is available online through the appropriate bookstore website.  For online courses, search the B&N College Textbooks website at https://aip.bncollege.com.

Other Materials & Online Resources

Additionally, any of the following texts or other texts that you may have from previous courses may be useful for this class if you find yourself struggling with specific skills:

Required Software

There is no required software for this course.  However, the following tools can be used during the semester:

Student Coursework Requirements

It is expected that each class will take approximately 6-9 hours per week to complete.  Here is an approximate breakdown: performing external research (approximately 1 hour per week), listening to the audio annotated slide presentations (approximately 2-3 hours per week), and writing homework assignments (approximately 3-5 hours per week).

This course will consist of four basic student requirements:

Preparation and Participation (Class Discussions, Team Participation, & Quizzes) (25% of Final Grade Calculation)

Class Discussions

Student participation in class discussions is imperative for a successful online class experience.  Lessons learned and past experiences provide the entire class with a broader perspective of the topics being discussed. All students are required to participate throughout the semester. As shown in the table below, class participation will count toward the student's final grade. Throughout the week, each student is required to submit postings to the assigned discussion thread. Each student is expected to respond to the initial discussion question and to at least one of your classmates' responses (additional postings are preferred and are required for full credit). A student's initial response must be "significant" in nature (see definition below). The goals of these discussions are to (a) thoroughly examine the topic area, (b) apply critical thinking skills and (c) establish a repository of research material to be used throughout the semester.

Definition of "significant" posting: (a) 300 words or greater, (b) properly referenced and (c) demonstrating critical thinking skills (opinion should be separated from fact).  These postings will count toward class participation:


  1. Day 1–3 (Wednesday–Friday) - initial student response is posted.
  2. Day 1–7 (Wednesday–Tuesday) - follow-on student responses are posted.

Discussion Questions are evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Timeliness (50%)
  2. Critical Thinking (50%)

Discussion Questions are graded as follows:

100–90 = A—Timeliness [regularly participates; all required postings; early in discussion; throughout the discussion]; Critical Thinking [rich in content; full of thoughts, insight, and analysis].

89–80 = B—Timeliness [frequently participates; all required postings; some not in time for others to read and respond]; Critical Thinking [substantial information; thought, insight, and analysis has taken place].

79–70 = C—Timeliness [infrequently participates; all required postings; most at the last minute without allowing for response time]; Critical Thinking [generally competent; information is thin and commonplace].

Team Participation

At the end of the semester, you will be assessed by your teammates on your participation as part of the team project.  This participation will also be included in the final grade calculation.

Team Participation is equally based on the following five factors:  availability, product quality, product timeliness, product quantity (fair share of work), and overall contribution.


A quiz will be associated with each module.  The goal of the quiz is to verify that the student fully reviews and understands the content included in the presentations. Credit for a quiz is granted on successfully completing the quiz no later than the 7th day of the module in which it was assigned.

Class Participation (25% of total grade) = Discussion Questions (15% of total grade) + Quizzes (5% of total grade) + Team Participation (5% of total grade)

Application Assignments (25% of Final Grade Calculation)

Each student is required to complete all homework assignments to earn a course grade. Application assignments will be evaluated and graded on a scale of 0 to 100. It is important to note that application assignments that fully meet all objectives will receive a grade of 95. The remaining 5 points are reserved for products that go beyond the established objectives of the assignment and clearly identify additional effort, additional research, or self-assessment. Assignments not submitted will receive a grade of 0, resulting in an incomplete for the course. Late assignments will be reduced by a 10-point penalty per week late (starting the day after the assignment is due). Unless otherwise noted, assignments are to be uploaded no later than 11:59 PM ET on the day they are due.

In certain circumstances, section instructors can grant one extension to an assignment, as long as the request is made prior to the due date.  Approval for the extension will be based on the justification provided by the student.  Second extensions must be reviewed and approved by the course manager.

Deficient assignments will be returned to students for resubmission within 1 week; the final grade will be the average of the two grades. The intent is to ensure that you are successfully learning the concepts taught in this course. Application assignments will generally involve answering a scenario problem based upon a specific project management skill.

Application assignments will be uploaded to Canvas and will be accepted in Microsoft Office compatible formats. Any resubmissions will be uploaded to Canvas.

Grading rubrics are provided with each assignment. 

Team Projects (20% of Final Grade Calculation)

The team project will require students to apply the skills developed in the earlier sessions of the course to the development of a proposal. Teams will be made up of 4-6 students. Each team will be required to deliver a final project report (proposal) and a presentation. All team members are expected to contribute to the team project; each team member will be asked to submit teammate evaluations with their final report. A discussion forum will be established for each team on the first week of class. The final team project presentations will be performed synchronously with the course instructors via the Microsoft Teams tool. Team presentation dates/times will be scheduled during the first few weeks of class.

The class project is evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Preparation and presentation of project (as described in Class Project Description) (10%).
  2. Integration of final submitted package (10%).
  3. Successful application of the course material to proposal deliverables (75%).
  4. Extra effort (5%).

A more detailed grading rubric is provided within the class project assignment.

Exams (30% of Final Grade Calculation, combined from 15% for Midterm and 15% for Final)

Two examinations (a mid-term and a final) will be given. Each will be graded on a scale of 0 to 100.

The exams are evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Each part of question is answered (20%).
  2. Technical accuracy and writing quality (40%) (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 answers is provided (40%).

Exam grades can be typically characterized 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].

69-63 = D - Some parts of the question are addressed; Writing Quality / Rationale / Examples / Outside References [rudimentary and superficial; no analysis or insight displayed].

63-0  = F - The question is not addressed; Writing Quality / Rationale / Examples / Outside References [poor; no analysis performed].

Grading Policy

Timely feedback on students' performance is an established learning tool, so we will endeavor to grade and return to you, as quickly as possible, all material that you submit.

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 graduate students taking the course.

Grading Schema
Grades Scored BetweenWill Equal
and <
and <93
and <90
and <87
and <83
and <80
and <70
and <63

Final grades will be determined by the following weighting:

% of Grade
Preparation and Participation (Class Discussions, Team Participation, & Quizzes)25%
Team Project20%
Exam[s] (Midterm + Final)30% (15% + 15%)

Course Evaluation

At the end of the semester, student will be provided the opportunity to assess the performance of this course.  Submission will be non-attributional.

Course Policies

All homework and exams are due on the dates as as indicated in the Modules and noted on the Course Calendar.  All external sources of information used to support your submission must be appropriately referenced.

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.