Course Preview : Steering Complex Projects at Cambridge

22 November 2022

[Video Transcript] Steering Complex Projects at Cambridge

Welcome to the program. I hope you are ready and excited to get started. To that end, we would like to run through what you can expect from this program over the next few weeks. First of all, let's talk about structure. We have built this course to run over eight weeks. Each week starts with a vignette that is a pre-reading, describing a real situation to introduce a problem related to project management and strategy, and the vignette will give that problem some context.

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Once you've read the vignette, we will launch into the week's videos in which Kishor and I dive deeper into the problem and share our insights from experience and research. In between the lectures, you'll find activities to practice with the key concepts and reinforce your learning.

At the end of each week, you'll reflect on your learning and plot the next steps to apply this in your professional practice. This is an important part of the program, which we hope you'll use as a roadmap to manage your own future projects.

Now, let's talk about what this program is really about. If we could sum this up in one line, it would be that we view projects as a weapon of organizational change. Projects are the nitty gritty work that brings opportunities for changing the organization for the better into concrete reality. This includes the strategic context in the organization for change ideas and the actual work needed to translate the ideas into organizational action.

A key part of this is recognizing that all project management is a widely applicable method. Not all projects can be managed the same way. Uncertainty and the dispersion of influence change how you need to manage. You learn how to identify the type of project you're tackling, build responsive project plans and competent teams, assemble supportive governance structures, and design opportunities to learn.

Also, we are concerned with the bidirectional flow of feedback between strategy and project goals. We don't take project goals as a given but as a crucial part of leadership and project design.

Now, let's also consider what this program is not. It is not a PMI certification that teaches you how to manage all the technical components of a project. We'll talk about what goes into a project plan, but we are not here to build spreadsheets and gain charts. What's more important is that you learn how to translate strategic goals into operational goals for a project and make sure the project continues to support the goals of the organization.

You'll want to be able to identify the types of projects warranted for strategic goals, down to scope creep when it occurs, and balance flexibility and rigidity.

To accomplish all of this, we have organized the program into eight key topics. In the first module, we tackle the overriding theme of the program, how projects enable strategic change. In weeks two to four, we talk about the different types of projects, execution, novel, and change projects. We then move on to discuss how to assemble and manage competent project teams, how to set up sound governance structures, how to manage partners, and how to build opportunities for learning.

As you move through the program, a few more things to keep in mind. Yours is a global cohort from a wide variety of cultural and professional backgrounds. We hope that you will be able to use the program as an opportunity to compare notes and network and learn from one another.

The program includes 24-hour support for technical issues through program support. And learning facilitators with experience in leadership and project management will respond to content inquiries and host office hours to further your learning. Do take advantage of these. I hope you're ready for an exciting eight weeks of learning. Let's get started.

[End of Video Transcript]

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