Online course

Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

Learn the basics of project planning and management so you can run effective projects at work or in daily life.

Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

Learn how to ensure your projects run smoothly

Projects are all around us. Virtually every organisation runs projects, either formally or informally. In this course you will learn planning principles and execution methods so your projects can be run more effectively and efficiently at work and in daily life. You’ll discover the language and frameworks for scoping projects, sequencing activities, utilizing resources, and minimizing 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®).

What topics will you cover?

Week 1

  • What a project is, what it is not, and why that matters
  • How projects are defined and a project’s three objectives
  • Models for examining a project’s organization and its stakeholders
  • Reasons why projects fail and how to measure success
  • Key stages in the project life-cycle and the features of each

Week 2

  • Why we plan and how to develop a project plan
  • Process of scoping
  • Tools that can help us identify what should be included in a project
  • Sequencing project tasks and the nature of dependencies among project activities
  • Determine a project’s duration and critical path
  • Schedule a project and making changes to a plan

Week 3

  • Identify and assess project risks
  • Prioritize and schedule project risks
  • Setting a project budget
  • Identify methods that can be used in situations with high degree of ambiguity

Week 4

  • Execution phase of a project
  • Earned value approach for monitoring and controlling progress
  • How habits of individuals executing the project can impact progress
  • Alternative methods for project execution: Agile, Scrum, and Kanban

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
    This course started 26 November 2018

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 ensuring their projects run smoothly. You don’t need any prior experience.

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.

Emmanuel Unung

Who will you learn with?

Yael Grushka-Cockayne

Associate Professor of Business Administration Darden School of Business University of Virginia. You can read more about me here or follow me on Twitter @grushkay

Who developed the course?

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.

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  • Access to this course for 6 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes


  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime