Unit 16 Operations and Project Management

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Introduction


The aim of this unit is to develop students’ understanding of contemporary operations theory as a function of a modern organisation. Students explore key benchmarks and processes which will enable effective critique of an operation function. Students will also consider the fundamentals of project management utilising the prescribed, but well established, project life cycle.
On successful completion of this unit students will have developed sufficient knowledge and understanding of operations and project management to make an effective and immediate contribution to the way in which an organisation conducts its business. Students will also be in a strong position to contribute to, as well as lead, small-scale projects.
Underpinning all aspects of the content for this unit will be the consideration of the strategic role of operations management and planning and control of resources, and project management theories and the project life cycle.

Learning outcomes


LO1 Review and critique the effectiveness of operations management principles

Operations vs operations management:

  • Operations as a concept and as a function vs management as strategic oversight

Operations as a concept:

  • Different approaches to operations management, Taylor’s theory of Scientific Management, flexible specialisation, lean production, mass customisation and agile manufacturing.
  • The operation process in a service sector and manufacturing sector organisation.
  • The relationship between operations and other business functions.

Operations management:

  • Overseeing the design, implementation and effectiveness of an operations function.
  • Utilising control systems and contingencies to ensure efficiency.
  • The use of Six Sigma and Lean principles to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

LO2 Apply the concept of continuous improvement in an operational context

Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the operations function:

  • Policies and processes including cost reduction and quality improvement.
  • Continuous improvement as a philosophy and approach using the application of Lean principles within a cycle of continuous improvement.
  • Operations as a cross-organisation activity and not simply an independent function.
  • The significant impact that technology has had upon operational functions and information flows.

Improving quality:

  • Reducing defects through Total Quality Management, the concept of Kaizen and process re-engineering.

LO 3 Apply the Project Life Cycle (PLC) to a given context

The Project Life Cycle (PLC):

  • The phases and activities of the PLC: initiation, planning, execution and closure.
  • Developing the business case for a project and undertaking feasibility study.

The theories and practice of project management:

  • To include agile methodologies, project management tools and project leadership within the PLC.

Project documentation:

  • To include the project initiation document, project plan, cost benefit analysis and work breakdown structure.

Directing projects:

  • Differentiating between large and small-scale projects and those used in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors.

LO4 Review and critique the application of the PLC used in a given project

Holistic and focused critiques:

  • The broader influence/impacts of a project alongside a detailed analysis of the application of the PLC.

Performance measurement:

  • To include milestones, targets, deliverables, benchmarks (internal and external) and key performance indicators.

The review and critique process:

  • Using project monitoring to inform an evaluation.
  • The importance of reliability and validity in evaluation.
  • Programme theory and logic models to support a review.

Resources


  • ANDERSON, M., A., ANDERSON, E. and PARKER, G. (2013) Operations Management for Dummies. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.
  • PENDLETON, D. and FURNHAM, A. (2012) Leadership: All You Need to Know. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Journals

  • International Journal of Project Management
  • Journal of Change Management
  • Journal of Operations Management

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