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Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

Improve your project planning and management skills and learn how to run effective projects at work or in your daily life.

89,705 enrolled on this course

Businesswoman and businessman drawing on glass in modern office, working on a project planning and management together.
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Discover the importance of project planning and management

On this course, you will learn project planning techniques, principles and execution methods to create projects that can be run more effectively and efficiently.

Whether it’s for projects at work or in daily life, you’ll discover the language and frameworks for scoping projects, sequencing activities, utilising resources, and minimising risks.

You also have the chance to earn professional development units (PDUs) as the University of Virginia Darden School of Business is approved by the Project Management Institute (PMI®).

Find out how to create a project plan

Once you’ve learned about the basics of project planning and management, you’ll explore in more detail how to create a project plan. As well as examining the scoping process, you’ll learn about the project life-cycle, duration, and critical path.

Once you’re finished, you’ll have a solid project planning template that you can use across a whole range of different situations.

Develop your project management skills

If you’ve already taken a project management course, you’ll know that the planning stages are crucial to your ultimate success. By learning how to plan a project, you’ll also cover topics such as risk assessment, budgeting, and prioritisation.

With this course, you’ll learn how to use the right language and mindset to create an effective project management plan.

Equip yourself with project planning tools

With the set of project management skills you’ll develop on this course, you’ll be equipped with the necessary tools to manage all kinds of projects, no matter their size and scope.

When it comes to the project’s execution phase, you’ll also learn about some of the methods you can use to carry out and analyse your plans.


  • Week 1

    Welcome to the World of Projects

    • Prepare for Course Success

      Welcome to Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management. Watch our course introduction video, read a short course overview, and browse the resources to familiarize yourself with the course and how to prepare for success.

    • Understanding Projects

      Learn how to define a project through real-life examples by examining the three objectives associated with each: scope, time, and budget. Then we are going to learn how to identify priorities and think about the organization.

    • Project Success and Failure

      Why do projects fail? Learn the main reasons why projects fail so often, and what dimensions may lead to project success. Real-life examples are provided showing success and failure.

    • Project Life-Cycle

      What are the stages of the project-life cycle? Learn about the four stages including: initiate, plan, execute, and close.

    • Week 1 Wrap Up Activities

      Finish up Week 1 by first seeing how well you've understood this week's content by taking a multiple-choice assessment. Then read a summary of this week's lessons and a brief overview of what to expect next week.

  • Week 2

    The Ins and Outs of Project Planning

    • The Importance of Planning

      In order to start planning a project, you need to first understand what a plan is and why having one is so important. Learn from a real-life example on how project planning and management was used for a festival.

    • Scoping and Identifying Dependencies

      Learn about the process of scoping out a project and the tools that can help identify what to include in your project. Then learn about sequencing project tasks and the nature of the dependencies among project activities.

    • Determining the Completion Date and Critical Path

      Learn how to determine a project’s duration and critical path, how it is determined, and why it is useful.

    • Scheduling and Making Changes

      Learn how to should schedule a project and how you can make changes to a plan to support your overall project objectives.

    • Common Mistakes in Project Planning

      Learn the importance of taking time to pause and reflect on some common mistakes made throughout the planning process.

    • Week 2 Wrap Up Activities

      Finish up Week 2 by first seeing how well you've understood this week's content by taking a multiple-choice assessment. Then read a summary of this week's lessons and a brief overview of what to expect next week.

  • Week 3

    It’s a Risky World and Then the Unexpected Happened

    • Why Think About Risks?

      Learn about the risks that you might foresee in the execution of projects. By doing so, we can plan and amend our plans accordingly in order to better face those risks.

    • Properly Managing Risks

      How do we properly manage our risks? Learn how to develop a risk management plan to identify and assess project risks in order to develop a solution to use throughout the execution of the project.

    • Schedule Risk Analysis and Tornado Charts

      Learn how to plan for and address duration variability in your project, and how Tornado Charts can be used as a visual representation of the overall duration of the project based on the change in each task.

    • Schedule Risk Analysis and Monte Carlo Simulations

      Learn how to plan for and address duration variability in your project, and how Monte Carlo simulations can show the impact on the overall project duration when all tasks vary simultaneously.

    • Cost Risk Analysis and Planning for Ambiguity

      Learn how to plan for and address cost risk in your project. Then learn how to plan for ambiguity using tools and concepts that allow you to think about working and dealing with highly ambiguous project settings.

    • Week 3 Wrap Up Activities

      Finish up Week 3 by first seeing how well you've understood this week's content by taking a multiple-choice assessment. Then read a summary of this week's lessons and a brief overview of what to expect next week.

  • Week 4

    Ready, Set, Go: Project Execution

    • From Plan to Action

      When moving from the plan to action there are specific questions that need to be asked and answered in order to proactively prepare for a successful execution phase.

    • The Execution Phase

      Learn how to start executing the project, the systems to put into place to monitor, report, and take corrective action of the project in terms of cost and the schedule, and understand the possible affects of the human factor.

    • Agile Project Management

      Learn what agile is, where it came from, its mission, and how this approach might be relevant to the project you are about to start.

    • Week 4 Wrap Up Activities

      Finish up Week 4 by completing the practice quiz on Earned Value Analysis and then seeing how well you've understood this week's content by taking a multiple-choice assessment.

    • Course Wrap Up

      Reflect on all the material that has been covered over the last four weeks and think about how you will use the tools and knowledge gained from this course to execute and deliver the best possible project.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe how to initiate a project by defining the project goal, identifying the priorities, and establishing the organization.
  • Explain how to develop a project plan by identifying the scope, task dependencies, schedule, critical path, and risks.
  • Identify factors that lead to project success.
  • Describe the four stages of the project-life-cycle and the role each stage has in the evolution of a project.
  • Explain how to execute a project by monitoring the progress, communicating with stakeholders, and deciding how to correct and control.
  • Develop an awareness of some behavioral biases in project settings and identify how these impact the planning and execution of a project.
  • Develop the language and mindset for planning and managing projects by properly setting and prioritizing project goals and objectives.
  • Identify the most appropriate project management methodology given the project objectives, the degrees of uncertainty, and the constraints.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in project planning and project management.

It’s suitable for anyone considering a career as a project manager who wants to develop planning techniques that ensure projects run smoothly from start to finish.

It will also benefit those already in management positions who have taken on new responsibilities and want to further their knowledge of project management processes and techniques.

What do people say about this course?

"This course has provided me with an in-depth perspective on project planning and management; spotting on special areas of interest such as, “the holy trinity of project - scope, time and budget” and “the power interest grid” which are crucial in any project planning and management. I see these aspects as the basic skills required to forge an effective and efficient managerial career."

Who will you learn with?

Associate Professor of Business Administration Darden School of Business University of Virginia. You can read more about me here http://bit.ly/NgGtVz or follow me on Twitter @grushkay

Who developed the course?

Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global-minded and responsible leaders.

Endorsers and supporters

endorsed by

PMI logo

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