Faculty across disciplines and cultures are quite emphatic that PM courses should build to a final project. While there are many different approaches to the final project, students are expected to work through all of the elements of a project by using either an assigned case or one of their own choosing. By doing so, students practice critical thinking, applying both the hard and soft skills that comprise good project management. In this section we illustrate different approaches to implementing course projects.
The final project is typically implemented gradually throughout the course as topics are covered. Weekly deliverables accumulate and form the basis for the final project. Some faculty members require students to choose their own project early on while others assign a single project for all students to complete.
An alternative means for assignments throughout course using the concept of a “running problem case”. This involves the use of a single problem scenario that provides an opportunity for students to create multiple deliverables throughout the course that apply to this scenario as they learn various topics within the subject of Project Management (PM).
To distinguish this type of project from the previous examples and to clarify the differences, we refer to this version of the final project as a “term paper.” In the curriculum resources we document one specimen research term paper assignment on a project management topic, including the required learning outcomes, sample project idea, research methods details and possible grading rubrics, alongside general guidance regarding research projects and dissertations.
Some universities refer to the Final Project as a “capstone” assignment. (Chapter 4, Volume 2)
In this document, the word “capstone” is reserved for a course at the end of a program—see course PM-10.