[SOLVED] Roehampton University and Partners, Spring 2021
Project Management L5 Assignment 2 – Notes for Students
Roehampton University and Partners, Spring 2021. Updated 02/03/21
The assignment this year is based on a fictitious case study (choose one from four different options) and students are required to develop some sample documentation typical of that which would be produced by a real project manager. This document is intended to ensure that as many questions as possible are answered and that there is consistency across all teams and locations delivering the module. If you have further questions you should contact your seminar tutor in the first instance.
We want to measure and mark on learning outcomes documented in your module specifications so, aside from the specifics of the task, your main aim is to demonstrate real understanding by doing what has been asked of you. If you do that, then by definition you will at least get a pass. If your work demonstrates some mature insight and perceptiveness beyond that which we reasonably expect for a pass level answer then clearly you get higher marks.
The requirements must be met in order to maximise your marks. So, for example, if you are asked for ten risks and you produce a fantastic risk register with, perhaps, additional commentary and lots of references, but only provide eight risks, we cannot mark it as highly as we would like. It will still be recognised that, overall, you have demonstrated depth of understanding, albeit marks will be reduced to reflect failure to deliver all that was required.
Conversely, if a piece of work includes ten risks, but they are either ridiculously unrealistic or all the same (e.g. ten different members of the project team all getting ill!), or contain little in the way of additional information (scoring, mitigating and contingency actions, etc.), then you will have been deemed to have missed the basic requirements of the brief. Hence clearly you will fail.
You do not need technical knowledge to do this well. We want you to show you can follow process regardless of the project case study you choose. For example, for the refurbishment of Chapman Hall we don’t need to know details of, say, steel substructures supporting tiered seating for an adaptable and flexible lecture theatre. All we need to know is that you have recognised that tiered seating will need to be designed and installed by specialists. That might include ripping up the existing floor but it might not. We don’t know because we are not experts, so you decide one way or another and state that as an assumption. It’s applied common sense all the way through and nothing else. As another example, we don’t expect you to have medical knowledge of what vaccinations would be required for a trip to Uganda (although you can look it up if you wish). What we do expect you to realise is that some form of medical planning process is required, that some students will need more jabs than others (as they may have had some already), etc. You will need to allow a budget for that and build it into the planning process so perhaps there needs to be a ‘medical’ section for that case study’s WBS? Just a thought!
Referencing: This is crucial and we DO expect this stuff to be referenced thoroughly, using Harvard-style in-text citations and not just a bibliography at the end of the document. Just because it is a fictitious example doesn’t mean no references are required. For example, references for the PID or risk register formats and structures used should be given – you must have got the ideas from somewhere so where do they come from (even if it is just the lecture notes)? If you have used other documents to understand this case then reference those as well. You might, for example, have found risk registers or discussions relating to other launch events and you should provide those with the associated task. Hence the risk register might have a reference underneath it saying, “Derived from ….. (reference here)” but an individual risk line item might also be referenced within the risk register showing where you got the idea for the risk and how to manage it. Such a reference should be cited in the correct place in the risk register text just as you would any citation in body text. This applies to all tasks. If you have not referenced it we will assume you have completely made it up out of thin air with no inspiration from any other sources and your marks will be low at best or may fail.
Word count: This seems to cause issues every year so I am going to clarify as far as possible. The university requires all module tasks to have a word count and actually there is QAA national guidance on this and not just our own local rules. However, clearly word count is more relevant to an essay discussing something like socialist ideals represented in the novels of Charles Dickens than it is for a series of project planning tasks for this module, some of which may be diagrammatic. Hence, word count as provided in the assignment is a GUIDE ONLY. Specifically, the word count required for the PID is deliberately designed to get you to think about producing a concise document – probably the PID needs to be about one to two pages and the stakeholder analysis could also be a page or two. I know that the full rules about word count exclude stuff in tables and diagrams but whether or not you put the PID and stakeholder analysis in as tables and diagrams or as paragraphs (like this document) it still needs to be approx. the right number of words otherwise it fundamentally fails to fulfil the requirement of a PID, which, by definition, is a concise, summary document.
The other tasks should cause less issues about word count. I’m not going to define how many words go into a risk register with ten risks, and how ‘wordy’ you make your WBS is up to you but we do expect you to take some notice of the guidelines around the additional narrative stuff – such as ‘a paragraph’ (which probably means about 5-15 lines, as in the paragraphs in this document you are reading now), or the guidance for the report to sponsor (assignment 2).
Assignment 2 – Report to Sponsor – B) Project closure and C) Methodologies
This report to the sponsor needs to say something like “You need to make sure the project is deliberately finished well and does not just fizzle out otherwise…” All we then want is a persuasive argument showing why it is important and what it means to finish your project in a deliberate and planned manner. The lecture week on this topic will give you everything you need but you MUST apply the general theory and principles to your specific chosen case. What do you need to do to close your particular project correctly and gain maximum benefit? Use examples and reference them well. Better students will reference every few sentences in this so use referenced examples throughout to illustrate your points. The same then applies to methodologies but there is absolutely no right or wrong answer here. All methodologies have their strengths and weaknesses so be aware that we do not have a hidden agenda that you have to work out or guess. We simply need you to write a persuasive argument one way or another. That means you will have to research, cite correctly and demonstrate understanding of the strengths and weakness of PRINCE2, Waterfall and Agile and come up with some sort of a final recommendation. Don’t miss one out – you will lose marks. Make sure you spend time on applied recommendations. Give good, project-specific reasons as to why this is your choice. You will not get max marks if your answer here is entirely generic and could apply to any project. Specific application to your case moves your marks from ordinary to good or very good.
Too often students do poorly on their methodologies argument because they use up their word count on reporting ‘facts’ or describing the methodologies and do little on application (you should use this method for this reason or avoid this one because it will not do the following…). Actually the emphasis should be on application rather than reporting facts so give a very brief line or two overview on each methodology (we do not need a history lesson) and focus on what might work well or otherwise for your project. Think about specialist knowledge/resources, costs, time impact, flexibility, etc.
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