Course Syllabus

  Course Syllabus & Information

Project Management
Critical Steps to Launching and Leading Successful Change Initiatives

PDF of Syllabus

Harvard University Extension School Winter Session
January 4-January 21, 2016*
Time: 2:00-5:00pm
Location: 1 Story Street 306 (tentative)

*Students must plan travel so they are in Boston/Cambridge on Friday, January 22, 2016, which is the designated make-up date in case of snow cancellation between January 4 and January 21.


David A. Shore, PhD
Faculty, Harvard Extension School
Adjunct Professor of Organizational Development and Change
Business School, University of Monterrey, Mexico

Deb Cote, PMP
Corporate Manager, Information Systems
Director, Project Management Office
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Partners Healthcare

Office hours: 1:30-2:00pm on days when the class meets with the faculty member who is teaching on that day.
Faculty are also available via email throughout the course.

Snow Cancellations: 617-495-4024, 617-496-NEWS, Harvard Extension Website

Harvard Extension School Calendar:

Please note: This syllabus is subject to change.
Most recent update: 10.28.15

Syllabus Outline

  1. Course Description
  2. Course Purpose
  3. Teaching Methodology
  4. Course Material
  5. Assignments
  6. Evaluation and Grading
  7. Detailed Class Schedule

1. Course Description

This course guides students through fundamental project management concepts and behavioral skills needed to success-fully launch, lead, and realize benefits from projects in profit and nonprofit organizations. Successful project managers skillfully manage their resources, schedules, risks, and scope to produce a desired outcome. In this course, students explore project management with a practical, hands-on approach through case studies and class exercises. A key and often overlooked challenge for project managers is the ability to manage without influence—to gain the support of stakeholders and access to resources not directly under their control. Special attention is given to critical success factors required to overcome resistance to change. We will review causes of project failure and how to mitigate risks through proper planning in the early phases of a new initiative. The course may be taken for credit at the Harvard Extension School, but does not offer credits towards outside certification.

2. Course Purpose
This course focuses on project management methodology that will allow you to initiate and manage projects efficiently and effectively. You will learn key project management skills and strategies, and you will have the opportunity to apply this knowledge through assignments.

Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Understand project management design, development, and deployment
  • Use project management tools, techniques, and skills
  • Employ strategies to address the ubiquitous issue of resistance to change
  • Align critical resources for effective project implementation
  • Understand the implications, challenges, and opportunities of organizational dynamics in project management
  • Identify and use key performance metrics for project success
  • Understand how to manage project cost, quality, and delivery
  • Engage and lead effective project management teams in your organization
  • Impart project management knowledge, tools, and processes to your colleagues
  • Recognize and mitigate the early seeds of failure in the project life cycle

3. Teaching Methodology

The concepts in this course will be taught using a combination of lecture, discussion, and dialogue around cases, with emphasis on active learning. A case is a comprehensive exposition of a real managerial situation describing a set of problems and requiring a plan of action. The case method provides a pragmatic framework for the learning process. Its success depends heavily on student preparation and active participation in class discussions.

The Case Method of Learning
The case method of learning requires that each person prepare for the case on his or her own. While there are no right or wrong answers, there are good and bad analyses as well as hasty and impractical recommendations. This course highlights the process of arriving at your own conclusions and recommendations, rewarding those that marshal evidence in the case analysis and apply careful thinking to shared problems.

Case preparation has two major parts: diagnosis and solution. They should be tightly connected. In the diagnosis, it is critical to distinguish between the symptoms (case facts) of a problem and the actual problem (causes). The solution should be sound and capable of implementation.

The real discussion of a case takes place in class. Meaningful discussions depend upon five prerequisite conditions: 1) presence, 2) punctuality, 3) preparation, 4) participation, and 5) pertinence. Each student must be thoroughly familiar with the details of the case and be ready to share his/her views with the class. The case method demands that students challenge each other’s ideas and collectively build upon the collective deliberations. The instructor, in this format, only facilitates the discussion. The instructor does not judge who or what is right or wrong given the case at hand.

The overriding aim of any case study is to explore the entire range of key issues and fully articulate the potential pros and cons of the possible measures.

In-Class Contributions
You are expected to be present for all classes, arrive on time, and submit all assignments on time. If you absolutely cannot attend class, please let the instructor know in writing in advance.

Your in-class contributions are important because you will be learning from one another. The case instructor’s role is not to impart wisdom, but to facilitate your learning from each other. Our discussion should not always arrive at some consensus. To the contrary, comments that identify the pros and cons of alternative decisions and generate a healthy debate are strongly encouraged.

While we anticipate vigorous in-class discussion, we expect arguments to remain professional. In this spirit, we ask that class members speak only when called upon. Whoever is talking should receive the full attention of the class; listen to what he or she has to say and build upon previous speakers’ comments. Try to wait to raise your hand until someone has finished talking. Finally, address your comments to the entire class, not just to the instructor.

Please come fully prepared and ready to participate for every class. You may be called upon to open a case by presenting your analysis and recommendations at the start of class or to be asked for a comment in the midst of the discussion.

How to Benefit Most From Our Class                           

  1. Come to classes regularly and on time, despite the New England weather.
  2. Find learning and positive experiences with your classmates and the instructor.
  3. Proclaim yourself a willing learner, with the desire to learn and to share.
  4. Read your assignments, and read them on time.
  5. If asked by the instructor to give your opinion on a topic, give your best answer.
  6. Willingly and unselfishly share your ideas, experiences, and opinions to the class.
  7. Go above and beyond the call of duty in participation.
  8. Appreciate the opinions and values of your classmates.
  9. Turn in your assignments completed well and on time.
  10. Respect the basic tenets of confidentiality in this class, where people are encouraged to share their knowledge, experiences, beliefs, and fears; and expect that their confidentiality will be respected.
Harvard Extension School Grading Policies
Grades reflect the quality and quantity of a student’s work submitted throughout the term according to the grading standards listed below. Undergraduate- and graduate-credit students may earn the following grades:
  • A and A− grades represent work whose superior quality indicates a full mastery of the subject and, in the case of A, work of extraordinary distinction. There is no grade of A+.
  • B+, B, and B− grades represent work of good to very good quality throughout the term; however, it does not merit special distinction.
  • C+, C, and C− grades designate an average command of the course material.
  • D+, D, and D- grades indicate work that shows a deficiency in knowledge of the material.
  • E is a failing grade representing work that deserves no credit. E may also be assigned to students who do not submit required work in courses from which they have not officially withdrawn by the withdrawal deadline.

This description is from the Harvard Extension School:

Harvard Extension School policy is that grades below a B- do not count toward the Certificate Program.

Academic Honesty
You are responsible for understanding Harvard Extension School policies on academic integrity ( and how to use sources responsibly. Not knowing the rules, misunderstanding the rules, running out of time, submitting the wrong draft, or being overwhelmed with multiple demands are not acceptable excuses. There are no excuses for failure to uphold academic integrity. To support your learning about academic citation rules, please visit the Harvard Extension School Tips to Avoid Plagiarism (, where you'll find links to the Harvard Guide to Using Sources and two free online 15-minute tutorials to test your knowledge of academic citation policy. The tutorials are anonymous open-learning tools. All students are encouraged to review Writing with Sources, prepared by Harvard’s Expository Writing Program, available at the COOP and online at

The Extension School is committed to providing an accessible academic community. The Accessibility Office offers a variety of accommodations and services to students with documented disabilities. Please visit for more information.

4. Course Materials
The course materials include one required book and a course pack.

Required Book

Shore, David A., Launching and Leading Change Initiatives in Health Care Organizations: Managing Successful Projects. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014. ISBN 978-1-118-09914-8

Course Pack
The course pack must be purchased through Harvard Business Publishing. The syllabus also lists a few additional materials that may be accessed online for free. Additional related materials will be made available as handouts. The course pack includes most published materials you will need to purchase, such as cases and articles.

To access the course pack:

  1. Register for the course through the Harvard Extension School.
  2. Go to 
  3. Complete the short registration.
  4. Use a credit card to purchase the course pack.
  5. After you purchase the downloaded course pack, you may print the materials.
If you want all materials in one bound packet, you may order a printed version of the course pack to be shipped to you for an additional fee. (Please note that this is not required: you can print the materials individually without purchasing an additional bound version.)

5. Assignments

The length of the course makes advance preparation critical to maximize your investment. We expect all students to arrive in class ready to discuss the readings due that day and to deliver assignments on time, with proper citation using APA citation style:

Students will be assessed through individual assignments and group assignments as indicated below. Further details on the assignments will be discussed in class.

6. Evaluation and Grading
Evaluation of your performance will be based on the following:

Assignment               Percentage             Due Date                    
Assignment #1                  5%                     Thursday, January 7
Assignment #2                40%                     Monday, January 11
Assignment #3                15%                     Thursday, January 14
Assignment #4                40%                     Tuesday, January 19

Three assignments are completed in groups. Groups must ensure that each team member plays an active role. Groups will assign a team leader who will ensure the assignment is turned in by the deadline. Each assignment must be posted to the course dropbox before or at the time it is due. Peer review will play a part in assignment evaluation.

Assignment #1 is a team contract. Teams will be assigned based on a course questionnaire. Teams will meet to write a one-page contract/terms of engagement paper that all members can agree to abide by for assignment #4. This assignment is due on January 7, 2016 so teams can lay this groundwork prior to beginning the final assignment.

Assignment #2 is an individual written and oral assignment. Each student will identify a challenge encountered in projects that they would like to explore. The student will identify the typical circumstances in which the issue arises, make recommendations on how to address this problem, and how to prevent this problem in the first place. Students will write a 2-page, double-spaced paper on this problem and solution. This individual assignment is due on Monday, 1/11. Students will then give a 5-minute oral summary of this problem and their suggested solution in class. Sources should be cited using APA format: 

Assignment #3 is a small group-written paper and presentation. During our first class on 1/4 small group assignments will be outlined and due on 1/14. The assignment includes a 3-5 page written paper and a 10-minute presentation. The later will be graded in part through peer feedback.

Assignment #4 is a 20-minute group presentation on 1/20 based on a case study. This presentation should be completed using PowerPoint. The presentation should be brought on a thumb drive (memory stick) to class on 1/19. Memory sticks will be returned. Please include any notes along with slides.

Class attendance (expected) and participation in discussions are important parts of your learning. The quality of your contributions is more important than quantity. Be prepared to present your analysis and action in a concise, logical fashion. You should be able to refer to specific outside materials and/or case material to support your points.

7. Detailed Class Schedule

Sessions 1&2,
Mon 1/4 & Tues 1/5

The Right Start: Preparing people and organizations for the challenge of change

Effective and efficient project management matters now more than ever. We will discuss some traditional and innovative ways of thinking about project management to gain a broad perspective on the field. This session will spotlight managing change as a critical element of project management. We will also review administrative details about the course.

Session Objectives

  • Identify and link the three essential elements of true innovation
  • Examine insights into the antecedents and consequences of project failure
  • Summarize the characteristics of a change-adverse workforce
  • Identify the driving force in establishing individual readiness for change
  • Define three domains required to create organizational readiness for change
  • Discuss, interpret, and ascribe meaning to a typology for change initiatives
  • Examine seven critical success factors for launching change initiatives
  • Understand the structure and expectations of MGMT 5030 Project Management

Required Reading

From book:
Launching and Leading Change Initiatives in Health Care Organizations: Managing Successful Projects. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014, pages 1-39.

Session 3,
Wed 1/6

Strategic Excellence in Project Management
Project Activation Management System (PAMS) Process for Project Management

Overview and Phase I: Seed / Accelerating New Initiatives from Ideas to Implementation

This session introduces project management and the PAMS model. We explore Phase I of the PAMS model, the “Seed” phase. This session will spotlight critical considerations in selecting which projects to invest in and launch.

Session Objectives

  • Consider the definition and common attributes of a project
  • Understand stakeholders’ key to the early development of a project

Required Reading

From book:
Launching and Leading Change Initiatives in Health Care Organizations: Managing Successful Projects. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014, pages 41-81.

From course pack (final group projects will be based on these cases):

  • “A Project Dilemma at Canadian Shield Insurance”
  • “AtekPC”
Session 4,
Thu 1/7

Phase II: The Start-Up Process. Introduction to Green-Lighted Projects
PAMS Process for Project Management

This session sets the framework for what transpires after the initial “Seed” stage of PAMS. Once the concept is approved, teams members must be selected and “onboarded” to the project.

Session Objectives

  • Review the steps in the Start-Up process
  • Understand how to build a strong project foundation
  • Discuss the challenges and opportunities of working in a team
  • Discuss the team expectations document that teams created
  • Consider strategies to influence without authority      

Required Reading

From book:
Launching and Leading Change Initiatives in Health Care Organizations: Managing Successful Projects. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014, pages 83-138.

From course pack:

  • “Is the Rookie Ready?” HBR Case study

Due: Assignment # 1: Team Contract

Session 5,
Mon 1/11

Phase III: “Develop” – Preparing Projects for Launch
PAMS Process for Project Management

After the Project and Portfolio Management Review Board approves the Project Charter in Phase II, we enter Phase III, the “Develop” stage. During this stage, the team plans project implementation, composing formal plans to address work breakdown structure (WBS), schedule, budget, quality, risk management, and key performance metrics.

Session Objectives

  • Explore elements of key project management tools including WBS, schedule, budget
  • Understand risk mitigation strategies
  • Consider key performance metrics
  • Discuss scope and scope statements

Required Reading
From course pack:

  • “Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups” HBR article

Due: Assignment #2: All papers due at 2pm on this date.

Session 6,
Tue 1/12

Phase IV: “Implement”
PAMS Process for Project Management

We will examine the fourth phase of the PAMS process: “Implement”. This phase depicts the steps for project implementation.

Session Objectives

  • Construct the final project implementation plan
  • Manage plan revisions and change control
  • Conduct problem solving and stakeholder management
  • Discuss strategies for monitoring the project implementation plan

Required Reading

  • “Cisco Systems, Inc.: Implementing ERP.” We will use this case for class discussion.
Presentations: Project Challenge (Assign #2): ½ of students will present challenge summaries
Session 7,
Wed 1/13

Phase V: “Close”
PAMS Process for Project Management

We will study the final phase of the PAMS process. This phase covers how to successfully close out projects and how to capture lessons learned.

Session Objectives

  • Explore the process for closing out the project
  • Capture Lessons Learned
  • Highlight the importance of project team recognition

Required Reading

From book:
Launching and Leading Change Initiatives in Health Care Organizations: Managing Successful Projects. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014. Pages 139-144.

From course pack:

  • “When Key Employees Clash” HBR Case study, 2012, 4 pages.
Presentations: Project Challenge (Assign #2): ½ of students will present challenge summaries
Session 8,
Thu 1/14
Tales from the Field: Enable East Case Studies
Project management is about getting things done, or according to Enable East’s slogan, 'making improvements actually happen'. In complex projects operating in uncertain environments, this is often much harder than expected. Formal methodologies, including Prince2 in the UK, can offer a useful framework for concepts and dynamics. However, any methodology is only as good as the way in which it is applied. A successful PM needs to be pragmatic, combining methodology and theory with a broad range of practical tips and tools. This session will examine two case studies. The 'Journeys' programme was a 5-year project that led to a radical redesign of community mental health services for a population of one million people living in Essex County. 'Bounce!' was a £1 million project funded by the British Big Lottery Fund that delivered an innovative well-being workshop to 14,000 people across the UK. Using a variety of media, both case studies will demonstrate how the principles of formal project management have been brought to life in a practical way, working with real human beings to deliver real change and results.
Susannah Howard – Director, Enable East, United Kingdom
Susannah originally trained as a psychologist and has spent her career working in a range of roles linked to the delivery of improvements in the health sector. She has worked with the World Health Organisation in several trauma-affected countries and has led two major Big Lottery Funded well-being programmes delivering outcomes to hundreds of thousands of people in the east of England. As Director of Enable East, she has established the organisation as a current leading provider of improvement support to the public sector and was named Colchester ‘Business Woman of the Year’ in 2013.
Due: Assignment #3: Written paper on change
Presentations: All groups will present assignment #3.
Session 9,
Tue 1/19
Tips from the Field:
While tools aren’t as important as the data they capture and resulting project information that is communicated to stakeholders, they make project managers’ jobs easier. Partners HealthCare has a number of tools for PMs to better manage their projects. Three highly successful project managers who have over 50 years of experience between them will discuss and demo some of these tools and methodologies, including templates; schedule software using effort-based vs. duration based practices; project kickoff artifacts; SharePoint lists to track decisions, risks, issues, and tasks; OneNote; and the Office Pro Plus (O365) suite. From how to have a successful kickoff, to leading high-functioning technical teams, to raising the flag on a realized risk, to project closure, this presentation will provide insight into the habits of these PMs to help you form your own project management habits on your road to becoming a high-functioning project manager.

Janette M. Raab – Corporate Manager, Partners HealthCare
Janette has 20 years of healthcare IT experience in project management, business analysis, and system support. She currently manages a team of 15 project managers who execute enterprise-wide, infrastructure, and security-related projects within the Information Systems Department for the Deputy CIO, CISO, and CTO at Partners HealthCare. Partners is an integrated healthcare system, founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, that offers patients a continuum of coordinated and high-quality care.

Jim Colbert, PMP – Senior Project Specialist, Partners HealthCare
Jim received his BS in Computer Science and MBA in New Venture Management. He began his career in IT infrastructure and operations. Jim spent time both as a systems administrator and database administrator working in the utilities and telecommunications industries. At Staples headquarters, Jim took on a role managing all Windows-based projects for both corporate and store operations, where he was first exposed to and finally appreciated the art of project management.  Jim has since passed his PMP and currently works at Partners HealthCare, focusing on information security projects. 

Steven Lefkowitz – Senior Project Specialist, Partners HealthCare
Steven was trained in accounting and computer sciences but found his interest to be in process improvement and project management. A successful track record in retirement plan record-keeping and institutional financial project management provided the platform for him to assist in maturing standard practices and process at Partners HealthCare. Steve was part of the Epic implementation and is currently working on an enterprise migration to cloud-based productivity tools.

Due: Assignment #4: All presentations due. Please bring them on a memory stick so they may be loaded prior to the start of class on Wed, 1/20.

Session 10,
Wed 1/20
DAShore, DLCote

Project Presentations (Assignment #4)
All teams present projects on this final day of class. Presentations will be loaded in advance so groups will present without delay.

Session 11,
Thu 1/21

The Trust Prescription for Change
Trust is the currency of all projects. This session will examine the various dimensions of trust:
what trust is and is not, how to acquire it, and how to leverage it in managing change and managing projects. Special attention will be given to Shore’s four domains of trust and to rebuilding trust where necessary.

Project Closure Review + Celebration/Recognition
After the presentation, we will devote time to discussion around the closure for the “project” of completing the course itself. We will also celebrate the accomplishments of course participants.

Fri 1/22 

Reserved for a make-up day in case of snow cancellation. Students must plan travel so that they are in Cambridge on this day.




Course Summary:

Date Details Due