Project Field Studies: sense making on-the-job

Project Management Institute
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Project Management Institute (PMI) Global Congress Asia Pacific 2010, 2010, pp. 1 - 7
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This paper describes the practice of learning through field study placement the art and science of managing a project. How project managers learn outside the walls of a lecture room will be explore using two current project management subjects being taught at the University of Technology, Sydney. One subject is an elective in an undergraduate construction degree and the other is taught to second year Masters Degree students. The role of the supervisor and student will be reviewed against the concept of internships and coaching which are used as tools to assist in the apprentice's learning journey. When undertaking the role of a field educator, the supervisor needs to approach the transfer of theory into practice by developing a language and behavioural guidelines that support the agreed learning outcomes. Contracts need to be developed and agreed so as all parties understand their responsibilities and liabilities when managing this dynamic learning environment. This is not dissimilar to what a client or program manager may expect of a project manger delivering agreed outcomes. Leading the approach to this form of learning is the practice of field work. Understanding the approach to developing competency and the impact of cultural differences provides a multi-levelled dynamic where parallels can be drawn against practising project managers. Ongoing partnerships to continue the iterative approach to learning on-th-job provides the apprentice project manager with a support network of mentors or 'masters' to assist in the transfer of knowledge.
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