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University of Virginia

Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

University of Virginia via Coursera


Projects are all around us. Virtually every organization runs projects, either formally or informally. We are engaged in projects at home and at work. Across settings, planning principles and execution methodologies can offer ways in which projects can be run more effectively and efficiently. Project management provides organizations (and individuals) with the language and the frameworks for scoping projects, sequencing activities, utilizing resources, and minimizing risks.

This is an introductory course on the key concepts of planning and executing projects. We will identify factors that lead to project success, and learn how to plan, analyze, and manage projects. Learners will be exposed to state-of-the-art methodologies and to considering the challenges of various types of projects.


  • Welcome to the World of Projects
    • Welcome to the course -- we're excited you're here! In our first week, we'll gain an understanding of what a project is, what it isn't, and why that matters. We'll consider how projects are defined and a project’s three objectives. We'll look at a model for examining a project’s organization and its stakeholders, and then analyze those stakeholders using a power/interest grid. We'll look at the main reasons why many projects fail and then learn how to measure success. Finally, we'll review the key stages in the project life cycle and highlight the important features of each stage.
  • The Ins & Outs of Project Planning
    • During our second week, we'll start digging into the details, focusing on how to develop a project plan. We'll understand why we plan and what a plan should or should not include. We'll discuss the process of scoping out a project and see tools that can help us identify what should be included in our project. We'll learn about sequencing project tasks and the nature of the dependencies among project activates. We'll learn how to determine a project’s duration and critical path, how it is determined, and why it is useful. We'll see how we should schedule a project and, finally, we’ll review how you can make changes to a plan to support your overall project objectives.
  • It’s a Risky World & Then the Unexpected Happened
    • In our third week, we'll consider the risk and uncertainties projects face. We'll understand what is risky about projects. We'll identify and assess project risks and prioritize these risks in order to focus our attention on those most impactful to the project. We’ll consider schedule risks in detail and ask, "What is the likelihood of finishing on time? What are the drivers that may cause delays in my project?" We'll see how a project budget can be set to include a contingency. Finally, we'll consider situations with a high degree of ambiguity and identify methods than can useful in these situations.
  • Ready, Set, Go: Project Execution
    • In our final week, we'll move from plan to action and consider the execution phase of a project. We'll learn about the earned value approach for monitoring and controlling progress. We'll consider the individuals who are executing the project and how their habits impact project progress. We'll discuss some alternative methods for project execution such as Agile, Scrum, and Kanban. Finally, we'll review and summarize the course, and our journey from project definition through execution and completion.

Taught by

Yael Grushka-Cockayne


4.1 rating, based on 30 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 9034 ratings

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  • Vijayakumar Menon N completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management is a good course of 4 weeks duration for the beginners. Most of us will have to manage projects in our career knowingly or unknowingly. Most of us become project managers by accident without any forma…
  • Profile image for Inuwa Manju
    Inuwa Manju
    The "Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management" course offered by the University of Virginia via Coursera is an informative and comprehensive program. It covers essential concepts and techniques in project planning and management, providing le…
  • Profile image for Ben Johns
    Ben Johns

    Ben Johns completed this course.

    Yael provides an excellent overview of general project management that I would suggest to anyone who is working on some aspect of a project and has not completed a formal project management course.

    The structure and presentation of the content is easily digested. Yael's presentation style is professional and it is quite evident that she is an expert in the field.

    Those who have worked within projects should be able to get by with 2hrs a week and up to 6hrs including optional tasks such as discussing real world case studies.
  • Tariku Mantafo Adaye
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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The lecturer's speech is often interrupted and the thought-flow seems to take a different direction. Some examples given on the separate tasks were not well thought-out. Overall seemed to be a shallow course that was filmed in a hurry, but it delivers what the name of the course said - give an idea, a foundation. Not impressed with the delivery.
  • Jonathan Golland is taking this course right now and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    I already took a course just like this. It feels redundant to repeat something I already know. This course is best suited to somebody just being introduced to business management and project planning.
  • Profile image for Aneesh Vasudev
    Aneesh Vasudev

    Aneesh Vasudev completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    As the name suggests, this course offers various tools and techniques for PM at an introductory level. While the content of the course is really good, the quizzes are relatively easy. To get a better grasp on the material or be more decisive in the application of the tools, it would be wise to do the case studies wholeheartedly.
  • Klaas Naaijkens

    Klaas Naaijkens completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    This is a very basic project management course. Especially the agile part was kind of a copy paste of the agile manifesto. No downsides/problems are presented.
  • Nana Adwoa Owusu-Nyantakyi
    This course was well-structured and informative. Definitely one where you want to really dedicate your time and effort, take notes and follow the lectures closely, as there is a quiz for each week that heavily relies on the video lectures. All in all, I think it is a great course to take if you intend to use project planning in your career or field of work.
  • Ginevra completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    It was a really nice course to understand the basics of project planning and management. It gives you many different scenarios and discussions of those scenarios. You will many things like Earned Value, Actual Cost, how to graph the information, and many more things.
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