Project Design and Management Knowledge and Project Management Skills

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2012

26 Pages



The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of the topic of project design and implementation, where issues of project design and management knowledge and project management skills have been the main focus. In the process of analysis, the paper provides various aspects like the concept of project, features of project, major characteristics of project and the project life cycle phases. On the other hand, issues on project design and the Logical Framework Approach in project planning are emphasized. Moreover, the paper provides significant information on project management, where issues on project management process, stages/phases of project management, management skills and project management knowledge are discussed. The most important thing to bear in mind is that, the information provided in this paper is useful in any kind of project, and therefore including education projects.


In the educational arena there are always projects which take place. They include schools constructions, classroom constructions, library constructions, laboratory constructions and so many others. Based on that reality, the issue of project management knowledge and skills remain vital for every educational manager. This is due to the fact that, these educational managers are the ones who are responsible in the whole process of managing the said projects above so as to ensure maximum productivity of such projects. However, educational managers should take into consideration the issue of involving other stakeholders, particularly the beneficiaries of those projects in order to ensure sustainability of the projects. The knowledge and skills provided below may be used by any project manager in any area. Moreover, these knowledge and skills may help the project manager to be able to mobilize both, human and technical role aspects. Therefore, this paper intends to provide significant information on the project management knowledge and skills.


Project "is a one-time-only set of activities that has a definite beginning and ending point in time" (Robbins & Coulter, 2007 p. 219). Project refers to temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, services or results. Graham (1985) as quoted in Field & Keller (1998) perceives project as a set of people and other resources temporarily assembled to reach a specified objective, normally within a fixed budget and within a fixed time period. Projects vary in size and scope. Callahan & Brooks (2004) identified the features of the project that;

- It should have a specific objective to be completed within a certain specification.
- It should have defined start and end dates.
- It should have funding limits (if applicable) and,
- It should consume resources (money, people and equipments).

However, Sutherland & Canwell (2004) identified two major characteristics of projects which are:

1. Projects are unique

They are unique in terms of the outcome they produce. They are also unique in terms of how they are conducted, in terms of their staffing, stakeholders, the resources used, when things have to be done, how work is to be coordinated, and a host of other operational aspects.

2. Projects are temporary

They have the life that fundamentally affects their structure, dynamics, operations, in results and their management. On the other hand, projects are considered to be temporary because they have different phases including initiation and closing. They do no sustain forever.

Therefore, all the features provided by Callahan & Brooks (2004) & Sutherland & Canwell (2004) can be taken as important features/characteristics of projects. None of them can be ignored.

Project life cycle phases

1. Need assessment phase

This involves the following

- Procedures for the systematic identification of stakeholders
- Procedures for review of stakeholders" needs (such as in interviews, questionnaires and focus group exercises)
- Procedures for managing changes to needs and requirement such as configuration management.

2. Project selection phase

This involves the following

- Procedures for development of proposals, feasibility studies, business cases or competitive analysis.
- Procedures for selecting projects through formal processes such benefit cost ratio analysis, project scoring sheets and analytical hierarchy process.
- Procedures for negotiating and writing contracts to engage in project work.
- Risk management procedures to ascertain whether promised dates, budgets and resource allocation can be met as defined by contractual obligation.
- Procedures for accepting or rejecting the terms and conditions written into contract because contracts are actually signed.

3. Planning and development phase

This involves the following

- Procedures for developing clearly defined requirements.
- Procedures for pursuing clearly defined development methodologies.
- Procedures for planning, budgeting, schedules and resource allocation (including competence in developing standard project management tools such as PERT charts, Grantt Charts, S-curves and resource histogram.

4. Implementation phase

This involves the following

- Procedures for step by step implementation of solutions.
- Procedures for generating and capturing project performance data.
- Procedures for acquiring resources.
- Procedures for structuring teams.
- Procedures for rewarding and punishing project performance.

5. Control phase

This involves the following

- Procedures for tracking actual versus planned schedule, budget, resource and technical performance.
- Procedures for taking corrective action.

6. Evaluation phase which involves

- Procedures for identifying competent internal and external evaluators.
- Procedures for conducting periodic test.
- Procedures for implementing recommendations of evaluative efforts.

7. Closeout phase

This involves the following

- Procedures for assembling project documentation.
- Procedures for achieving customer acceptance.
- Procedures for reallocating resources.
- Procedures for handing over deliverables to customers.
- Procedures for conducting post project lessons-learned exercises.

Source: Frame (1999).

Project design

Longman Dictionary (2005) defines design as the art or process of making a drawing of something to show how you will make it or what it will look like. Therefore, project design refers to the art or process of making a conceptual framework of a project to show how the project will be initiated, implemented, monitored and controlled as well as being evaluated.

However, Tenge (2009) maintains that, when you design a project you need to do the following:

- Broadly outline the project.
- Define your goals and objectives.
- Decide on what and how much content do you need in your instruction
- Decide how will you assess (evaluate) whether or not the project objectives have been met
- Then create a Program Logic Model, where;


Excerpt out of 26 pages


Project Design and Management Knowledge and Project Management Skills
University of Dodoma  (College of Education)
Policy Planning and Project Design in Education
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ISBN (Book)
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It is a good paper for project managers and project designers of every kind. You should read it.
project, design, management, knowledge, skills
Quote paper
Assistant Lecturer Mohamed Msoroka (Author), 2012, Project Design and Management Knowledge and Project Management Skills, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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