How to Teach Project Management

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Project managers are charged with the serious task of planning and overseeing the completion of business projects. Learning the skills necessary to be an effective project manager isn't easy. If you aim to educate a future project manager on how to complete this duty, you must not only tell this individual what to do but also provide her with practice opportunities. By doing so, you can ensure that she concludes the study ready to manage whatever projects may come her way.

Define a “project” in business terms. Explain to your learners that a “project” in business terms is an event or self-contained activity that must be completed. Brainstorm a list of projects with your students, allowing them to think up some things that may qualify as projects in the business sense, such as fundraisers, advertising campaigns and product launches.

List the three elements of project management. Write the three elements of project management: 1. Time, 2. Cost and 3. Quality, on the board. Tell students that to successfully manage a project, they must tend to each of these three elements.

Discuss time budgeting. Explain to students that to successfully manage a project they must first budget their time for completion of the project. Allow students to practice this skill by telling them to pretend that they have a test in three days over 50 pages of their text book. Ask each student to write out an explanation of how he would budget his time to ensure that he can successfully prepare for this test. Allow students to share their time budgeting with each other.

Practice cost budgeting with your students. Familiarize your students with the task of cost budgeting by partnering them up and asking them to pretend that they are throwing a wedding. Give each duo a budget, and ask them to research the different components that they would need to throw a successful wedding event. Instruct each group to write up a budget for their planned wedding, explaining how their money would be spent and making reference to the places from which they gathered their prices.

Engage your students in a group idea evaluation. To ensure a high-quality final product, project managers must take the lead in evaluating group ideas. Practice this skill with your students by asking them to pretend that they are throwing a school fundraiser. Instruct students to suggest themes for this event. Write each suggested theme on the board, then move through them, evaluating each with your students.

Craft a project for students to manage to enable them to put their skills to the test. Conclude your study of project management by allowing students to combine their skills and try to manage a project. Ask each student to come up with an event to organize. One student may elect to plan a poetry reading at a cafe, another may decide to plan a dance show at which her dance team is showcased. Allow the students ample time to arrange and put on their events, then ask them to write a report outlining the steps they took managing their practice projects.