Managing Projects Texas A&M University MGMT 658
Dr. Victoria Buenger
Fall 2019
415E Wehner

Office Hours:   Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-2:00 and by appointment


Course Schedule


Project management is a special case of management concerned with directing a specific set of tasks with a finite life to accomplish a goal or goals. Management in a general sense relies on established policies and procedures. Project managers cannot always depend on policies and procedures, because at the start of the project these tools do not necessarily exist. The project manager develops them as the project progresses. Thus, project management requires more planning and forethought than the ongoing, day-to-day management of ordinary activities.

Much of the material (techniques and procedures) key to project management developed from the need to manage large, complex engineering projects. Engineering and construction companies use project management more heavily than other firms, but increasingly other businesses find project management a useful way to organize. Principles of project management apply anytime a firm must carry out a complex set of activities with a well-defined set of objectives over a set time period.

This class will help you develop your skills in project management. These skills include:
•    defining key processes essential to projects;
•    developing the scope and objectives of projects;
•    identifying and evaluating needed activities and their logical sequence;
•    assigning and budgeting for resources to project activities
•    understanding how to accomplish project team work that happens outside the hierarchy;
•    responding when things don't go according to plan;
•    gaining needed support from people who are not under your direct authority;
•    thinking abstractly and practically at the same time.


Required Reading

There is no textbook required for this class.  An interactive calendar on E-Campus will contain links to readings and cases that you will need to prepare for this course.  If you are uncomfortable operating without a textbook, you may stop by or email me for suggestions for trade or other type books you can purchase from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Additional Materials

This course makes extensive use of a software package (Microsoft Project 2016). Instruction for this software will occur in our classroom (Room 408) of the Wehner Building. This program is widely used and available commercially, but unless you prefer to work at home there is no reason to purchase it. You will also have the opportunity to try Basecamp, an online project management tool  or some other online project management tool.  It offers 30 day free-trials, and if you like it you can subscribe on a monthly basis.

Office Hours

I hold office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00-12:30.

Performance Appraisal

Your final grade will be calculated based on the following approximate weights:

Daily Work
Self-Assessment Paper
Partner Communication Paper
Small-Group Lab Report
Super Team Lab Report

Scale for final grades

A  (89.5% or greater)
B  (79-5%-89.4%)
C  (69.5%-79.4%)
D  (59.5%-69.4%)
F  (less than 59.5%)


There are no scheduled exams in this course.

Absence Policy

Except in the unlikely event that a student has a legitimate reason for being absent, failing to turn in assignments because of missing class will result in a zero for that assignment. Absences will be excused only for the following reasons:

1)     Participation in an activity appearing on the university authorized activity list.
2)     Death or major illness in a student's immediate family.
3)     Illness of a dependent family member.
4)     Participation in legal proceedings or administrative procedures that require a student's presence.
5)     Religious holy day. NOTE: Prior notification is NOT required.
6)     Illness that is too severe or contagious for the student to attend class.
a)     Injury or illness of three or more class days -- student will provide a medical confirmation note from his or her medical provider within one week of the last date of the absence (see Student Rules
b)    Injury or illness of less than three class days – student will provide the following, within one week of the last date of the absence:  (i.)Texas A&M University Explanatory Statement for Absence from Class form available at or (ii.) Confirmation of visit to a health care professional affirming date and time of visit
7)     Required participation in military duties.
8)     Mandatory admission interviews for professional or graduate school which cannot be rescheduled.
9)     Mandatory participation as a student-athlete in NCAA-sanctioned competition.
10)   In accordance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Texas A&M University shall treat pregnancy (childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy and recovery therefrom) and related conditions as a justification for an excused absence for so long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by the student’s physician.
11)   Other absences may be excused at the discretion of the instructor with prior notification and proper documentation.
12)   No more than one mandatory interview for permanent, full-time employment or full-time internships.
Microsoft Word - Syllabus 466 Fall 2019.docx

You must provide proof of one of these conditions if you miss an exam. Job interviews, CPA, GMAT, LSAT, and GRE exams, employment conflicts, etc. are not officially excused absences. Please note the days that assignments are due and schedule other activities around this time.

Self-Assessment Paper

Your first paper, due in hard copy by the beginning of class, Thursday, January 30, will be an individual writing assignment exploring a topic of your choice relating to self-management, including personality, behavior, and time management skills.  The four-page paper (1200 word limit) will contain descriptive, analytic, and persuasive elements.  You may read more about my expectations for this assignment on the course schedule and at Guidelines for Written Work.

Partner Communication Paper

Your second paper, due in hard copy by the beginning of class, Tuesday, February 18, will be a paired writing assignment exploring dyad communication in two settings--solving for and building the Singer Corp. network diagram and acting out a hierarchical communication scenario.  The paper can be no longer than six pages (1500-1800 word limit) will contain descriptive, analytic, and persuasive elements.  You may read more about my expectations for this assignment on the course schedule and at Guidelines for Written Work.

Lab Reports

Lab reports involve the use of Basecamp or Basecamp substitute and MS Project 2016, software packages designed to help plan and manage projects. There will be two required lab reports in the course.  The first lab is due by 5:00 Friday March 6 in my departmental mailbox (Wehner 420), and will be based on a scenario that I provide.  The second report will apply what you learn about project software to a problem of interest to you, perhaps in your own field of study.  Using the software will help you define the scope and sequence of the project you choose.  Your project should involve at least forty or fifty activities and should include some summary tasks with subtasks.  You should turn in a memo that you received from your boss outlining a "request" that your project fulfills.  This memo should make it clear who your intended audience is and what expectations your boss has for you.  The final project is due in my departmental mailbox (Wehner 420) or electronically through e-Campus by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 6.

We will follow a procedure for helping you identify your work team for each lab. Working with others will increase your learning and develop your communications and interpersonal skills. It will also allow you to check each others' work and avoid major mistakes. I will not vary grades on any single group assignment between partners or across group members.

Lab reports consist of two main components: computer-generated output and written interpretation of output. Turning in computer-generated output without accompanying support, documentation, and interpretation is unacceptable. A reasonably well-educated person should understand your solution to the lab problem without having to refer to computer manuals or other reference material.

When you do lab work, technical obstacles may arise that prevent you from proceeding to the next stage of problem solving. I will provide support and troubleshooting for the lab problems and help you resolve software questions.  Please feel free to contact me if you have reached an impasse and need help.  Do not wait until the last minute to begin your projects.

Daily Work

You will have three different types of graded daily work.  Two are traditional assignment types: problems (scheduling, resources loading, and control) and case study questions (Boeing and Peter Olafson).  In addition, you will submit ten reflective assignments online worth ten points each for a total Reflection grade worth 100 points (timely and complete responses will receive full credit).  If I find that students are not preparing for class, I will add further daily work.  All daily work is equally weighted.

Make-up Work Policy

I only accept late work when you provide documentation of a university excused absence (see above).

If your absence is excused, you will have the opportunity to make up any quiz, exam or other graded activities or I will provide a satisfactory alternative to be completed within 30 calendar days from the last day of the absence.  To be excused you must notify me in writing (acknowledged e-mail message is acceptable) prior to the date of absence, and provide appropriate documentation for the absence.  In cases where advance notification is not feasible (e.g., accident or emergency) you must provide notification by the end of the second working day after the absence, including an explanation of why notice could not be sent prior to the class.  The reasons absences are considered excused by the university are listed above. Student Rule 7 outlines the details of University policy for attendance and make up work ( Even if an absence is university-excused absences, you must still exercise your responsibility for prior notification and documentation. Failure to notify and/or document properly may result in an unexcused absence. Falsification of documentation is a violation of the Honor Code.

Please contact me as soon as you realize you will be unable to turn in an assignment on time so that you can make alternative arrangements. If you miss class and your absence is not university excused, you should complete and turn in assignments on time or before they are due.

Classroom Environment

We will maintain a classroom environment designed to promote open discussion, professionalism, and mutual respect. I anticipate that our class sessions will be heavily discussion-oriented. I also anticipate that we will occasionally discuss some issues about which there is disagreement. I would hope that we will listen carefully to everyone’s perspective, be open to discussing and/or debating those perspectives, and respect everyone’s rights to their respective opinions.

Class will start on time each day, so please be in the classroom ready to begin at the scheduled time.  Remember that the misuse of gadgets (including the workstations in the class) colors my opinion of you and contributes to your earned reputation among your classmates.  Please act courteously and with restraint when making choices about your telephone and other portable and stationary electronic devices during class time.  Let me know in advance if you plan to use your device to take notes.  Otherwise, leave your gadgets stowed and exit the room to make or take calls and texts.                   

Preparing for Class                           

Preparation for class is important in this course. Most class meetings will require you to be prepared to discuss what you have read. You are expected to contribute your insights and observations about cases and readings based on careful preparation of the materials available to you. Mere physical presence does not constitute participation (though being absent precludes any possibility of participation).

Your job is to come to class prepared. Read all assignments before class and make notes of critical points. Identify key concepts and terms. Look for facts. Ask yourself what contribution the reading has to make. Use the study questions for cases to guide you toward greater understanding of the material. Be aware that the issues raised by the study questions are only part of what you should expect to get out of each case. Feel free to discuss readings and cases with others in the class. It is unethical to discuss a case or lab problem with someone not currently enrolled in the course.

Preparation is expected and monitored. You never want me to call on you if you aren't prepared, just as you wouldn't want to surprise you boss by floundering at an important business meeting.

Participating in Class

You can make this class better by adding your insights and improving class discussion. Sharing your own perspective on relevant issues is important to the learning process, for you and the rest of the class. You will learn not only about the subject being discussed, but also how to discuss issues at a business meeting. I expect you to challenge me if you do not agree with me or if you doubt what I say (like anyone in business, I interpret silence as agreement or lack of preparation). Asking stimulating questions is another excellent form of participation. The class sessions are not meant to be free-form brain storming sessions. Do not be afraid to be wrong, but also do not waste the class time if you have not taken the time to master the material.

Study Partners and Groups

I strongly urge students to find a partner or partners for the purpose of studying and discussing cases and readings. I may also ask you and your partner(s) to become "the expert" on some aspect of a case or reading. In addition, we will follow a procedure for helping you locate compatible group members for your lab, final, and student-led learning. Working with partners will increase your learning and develop your communications and interpersonal skills. It will also allow you to check each others' work and avoid major mistakes. I will not vary grades on any single group assignment between partners or across group members. 


Academic Dishonesty

I expect you to be academically honest and that you will complete individual assignments and exams alone without aid from others.  It may be wise to consult the University's information regarding academic misconduct ( Upon accepting admission to Texas A&M University, a student immediately assumes a commitment to uphold the Honor Code, to accept responsibility for learning and to follow the philosophy and rules of the Honor System. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the Texas A&M University community from the requirements or the processes of the Honor System.  If you are unsure of the meaning of any of the described violation in this description, confer with me.

Plagiarism is a particular concern.  It is a form of cheating.  According to the aggiehonor Web site, “plagiarism” can be understood as “the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit.”  Plagiarism may involve uncited or uncredited use of papers or materials taken in whole or in part from other persons or references, such as from Internet Web sites, books, magazines, journals, or newspapers, or from other students’ papers, and with current technology can happen as easily as Cut and Paste.

To help you avoid plagiarism, I require that you name your sources for any work that is not entirely your own. Any verbatim or nearly verbatim quotes from published material, whether published in hard copy or online, must be in quotation marks and properly cited. Lack of citation will be considered plagiarism.  

You have my permission to duplicate information from these web pages, only for use in this course. The online and written material which the instructor distributes for this course is copyrighted, and may not be duplicated for any use outside this course without the instructor's consent. Lectures may not be tape recorded without instructor's consent. 

Academic dishonesty and copyright violation are serious offenses and will be punished by a zero on the assignment, failure in the course, and possibly by more serious consequences, depending on the offense. If you have questions or concerns about the expectations for academic honesty, please ask me.

Classroom Maintenance

We have an agency problem with regard to the maintenance of the classrooms in the Wehner Building. Please do not eat, drink, smoke, chew, or dip in the classroom.

Students with Disabilities

Texas A&M University is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. If you experience barriers to your education due to a disability or think you may have a disability, please contact Disability Resources in the Student Services Building or at (979) 845-1637 or visit Disabilities may include, but are not limited to attentional, learning, mental health, sensory, physical, or chronic health conditions. All students are encouraged to discuss their disability related needs with Disability Resources and their instructors as soon as possible.

If you are entitled to special accommodations due to a disability, please discuss it with me sometime during the first two weeks of class.

Faculty Support

Do not wait until the end of the semester if you have problems with the course material or if you are worried about your performance. By then, it will be too late for me to help. Instead, call me or visit my office early in the semester.

Questions, comments, compliments, complaints? Email Dr. Buenger at .


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Website design by Margaret D. Hill.