Texas A&M University Extension
Project Management for Scientists and Engineers*
Kem Robinson, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Emeritus
Purpose and Audience
Scientists and engineers are well prepared to develop and execute scientific research, but do not receive the systematic approaches and training necessary to successfully execute the managerial mechanisms by which such research must often be realized. Consequently, scientific project management expertise is often acquired in a random, almost Monte Carlo approach. Unfortunately, budgets are too tight, reputations too fragile, and careers too short to rely on such a stochastic approach. Successful project management is NOT the mere use of narrow fiscal and schedule tools, but involves all aspects of developing, executing, and controlling a project. The successful manager of scientific projects understands the need for technical, managerial, and organizational psychology acumen. This course is designed to present and develop knowledge and understanding of a number of skills for principal investigators, project scientists, engineers and group leaders to help ensure successful project outcomes.
A general background in undergraduate physics or engineering.
It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.
To understand the basics aspects of project management as applied to scientific and collaborative projects across all phases of a project and all of the project management knowledge areas as well particular aspects associated with funding agencies.
Matching the diversity of a scientific project, this course will present and reinforce project management foundations through a combination of methods. In addition to lectures, readings, and individual homework assignment, there will be project team activities, interactive sessions, and project management simulations, as well as students reporting their work in a fashion similar to the formal project reviews that all major scientific projects undergo.
The course is framed on the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) of the Project Management Institute with emphasis on specific issues and challenges of scientific collaborative projects within the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. The following general areas will be covered within the general body of project management knowledge: project initiation and planning, execution, change control, technical scope management, time/schedule management, cost management, quality management, human resources considerations, communications, risk management, and procurement management. Additionally, aspects of DOE and NSF directives on project management, specific approaches and resources, and project team ethics and responsibilities will be discussed.
The instructor will provide materials and lecture notes. A course textbook will be identified at a later date.
Students will be evaluated on performance: final exam (30% of final grade), homework assignments (35% of final grade) and in-class assignments, simulations and presentations (35% of final grade).
*Professional Development Units (PDUs) are available for this course. Please contact the USPAS for more info.
Texas A&M University Extension course number:
Indiana University course number: Physics 671, Advanced Topics in Accelerator Physics
Michigan State University course number: PHY 963, "U.S. Particle Accelerator School"
MIT course number: 8.790, "Accelerator Physics"