Computer Science (3 Years) [BSc]

Project Organizations: Management & Strategy

Unit code: BMAN30982
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit?: Y



Additional Requirements

BMAN30982 is a free choice option for students with prior agreement from their home schools. Core for MchemChemwBM, MEngChemEngwBM.


This course aims to equip students with knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles, theory, and practical tools and methods essential to help them succeed in project-based organizations (‘projects’). It will develop students' general understanding of the managerial challenges and decision-making processes that arise along the project life-cycle from inception of an idea through its gestation and delivery to project handover. Project-based organizing is a pervasive form of structuring work to achieve a goal across the private, public, and private-public sectors. Projects[1] as a form of organizing work can be set up to develop a:

  • new commercial product (eg. a mobile phone, software, car, computer, furniture)
  • new service (for example in education, health-care, insurance, finance, banking)
  • new complex socio-technical system (e.g., power plant, railway, wind farm, airport)
  • new organization form (e.g., merger and acquisition, government restructuring)
  • new idea (R&D projects to develop new drugs, perfumes, apps, materials)

During the course we will discuss how the structure of the managerial problems and choices evolves along the life-cycle of a project organization, and how problems vary in function of context (e.g., private vs. public, stable vs. unstable environment, closed vs. open system). Specifically, the course will provide students with theoretical and practical knowledge to discuss proficiently the following questions, and resolve related real-world problems:

  • what is a ‘project’ as a form of organizing work?
  • why do we need project organizations? Where do projects come from?
  • who creates projects? who finances them? who manages them? who governs them?
  • What are the structural differences between search and execution project organizations?
  • what does project performance mean? how can we measure project performance?
  • What is the relationship between project organizing and the environment?
  • Which basics tools are employed to support the practice of managing projects?
  • how does project management practice fit with bodies of knowledge of professional organizations such as the Project Management Institute (US), Association for Project Management (UK), and regulation such as Office of Government Commerce Gateway
  • How does project management practice scale up in large organizations (‘megaprojects’)?

What are the cutting-edge practices and conceptual framings for managing projects?

[1] Note the word ‘project’ in common English has multiple meanings and is ambiguous since it designates both an undertaking requiring concerted effort or an extensive task, and thus  refers simultaneously to the task, organization, and the subject of the task. In this course we see ‘projects’ as  project-based organizations.



* Project life-cycle models: ideation, planning, implementation
* Designing the project organisation and  governance structure
* Developing a strategic plan
* Developing a project execution plan
* Developing a risk management strategy
* Designing monitoring and control procedures
* Management of project stakeholders
* Structure-performance relationships
* Introduction to project leadership

The course will be fully supported by a Blackboard virtual learning environment which will include the course materials, assignments, and the reading list. Course Materials to be posted on Blackboard.


Teaching and learning methods

Methods of delivery: Lectures complemented by participative learning activities including small group work, discussions, assigned reading and case study analysis.

Lecture hours: 24 (2 hours per week over 12 weeks)

Seminar hours: none

Private study: 76

Total study hours: 100

Total study hours: 100 hours split between lectures, classes, self study and preparation for classes, coursework and examinations.

Informal Contact Methods
1. Office Hours
2. Online Learning Activities (blogs, discussions, self-assessment questions)
3. Peer Assisted Study Sessions

Learning outcomes

In this course, we conceptualize a ‘project’ as a form of organizing work that assembles a collective of actors (individuals and organizations) to achieve an identifiable system-level goal. By conceptualizing a project as an organizational social artefact, our focus is to understand how to design project organizations that work efficiently and effectively. We will study project organizations which assemble resources all of which lie under the control of a single organization (in-house projects), as well as projects that pool resources controlled by independent actors.  In the latter case, project organizing involves forging strategic alliances and buyer-supplier relationships.  In sum, throughout the course, students will learn:

  1. Processes and organizational structures endemic to project organizing;
  2. project stakeholders and stakeholder classifications; 
  3. tools and techniques to support project management practice (e.g., activity-based networks, CPM-PERT, earned value, line of balance, risk registers, Monte Carlo simulations)
  4. alternative framings to define and measure performance of project organizations
  5. contingencies affecting choices in project organizing (environment, scale, technology)

Assessment Further Information

This course has no exam. The course will be assessed using a combination of two group coursework submissions (each one counting 30%) and one individual coursework submission (40%). The three submissions will be spread out across the semester. The groups will be  around four students (this is an indicative number. The final size of the teams will be a function of the number of students taking the course).


Feedback methods

- Informal advice and discussion during the lectures and seminars

- written responses to questions and issues raised by e-mail

- face-to-face feedback in meetings during office hours and meetings scheduled outside office hours

- Written and verbal comments on assessed group coursework

Study hours

  • Lectures - 24 hours
  • Independent study hours - 76 hours

Teaching staff

Nuno Gil - Unit coordinator

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