Course Details

Fall Semester 1: Leadership & Strategy

Ethical Leadership

This course examines key ethical methodologies, principles, values, and frameworks with the ultimate goal of producing ethical leaders. It explores the ethical responsibilities of management professionals to themselves, corporations, the government, and the public. Students study discipline- and field-specific codes of ethics within the profession and contrast the roles and responsibilities of ethics versus compliance and their interdependencies. Weekly topics align with the Project Management Institute’s Code of Ethics. Students codify an individual code of ethics in relation to professional codes of conduct. This course also provides an examination of essential skills needed for all strategic leaders including communication, negotiation, persuasion, and influence. Learning objectives for this course include demonstrating ethical leadership skills and applying proven techniques in leading teams; applying communication best practices in projects; and, evaluating communication needs for different motivational approaches through utilization of the Strength Development Inventory (SDI) for the normal behavior and conflict mode of individuals. Discussion and work sessions provide individuals with the ability to identify and resolve conflicts by practicing different conflict resolution approaches. This course component also includes an examination of individual motivators, which aid students in effectively negotiating and influencing discussions with others. Students work with an executive coach to identify areas of leadership development and create a personalized leadership development plan.

This course is completed in an on-ground intensive session format with pre- and post-session coursework and assignments. This intensive onsite component enhances the program by creating a format for executive-level peer-to-peer learning and a distinguishing leadership-coaching component to enhance the development of leadership abilities. The course also includes onsite visits to organizations in Washington, D.C.

Strategic Management

This course teaches students the leadership traits required to execute strategy. Students learn about the crucial role that leadership plays in achieving better organizational performance and how best to use that role through innovative techniques for making astute decisions, translating strategy, assessing risk, managing change, and applying a personal framework to increase leadership effectiveness.

Spring Semester 1: Alignment & Prioritization

Strategy Implementation & Organizational Design

This course explores methods for gaining a strategic perspective. A large percentage of the portfolio manager’s role is to understand the strategic intent and deliver that intent in a tactical format via project and program delivery. This course demonstrates what it takes to improve organizational alignment and deliver on strategic objectives. Students learn the framework for strategic execution, which incorporates a full range of proven approaches and emerging concepts for aligning project and program initiatives with strategic objectives. Learning objectives for this course include creating an aligned way of thinking and behaving to support full strategy execution to bridge the gap between strategic plans and individual daily work. Students learn how to apply a process view to strategy execution; communicate priorities and change in a simple and compelling way; create and align smaller, achievable projects and initiatives; engage and prepare individuals and teams to accomplish strategic goals; apply best practices and frameworks to address execution challenges; ensure discipline in measuring performance and managing accountabilities; identify and reduce organizational barriers to strategic execution; formulate approaches for improving alignment between the organization and the PMO’s culture, structure, strategy, and metrics; recognize, communicate, and influence project, program, and portfolio decisions and deliverables; build a stronger project-based organization that consistently delivers high-performance results; and improve their ability to impact results beyond the project level.

Project Portfolio Management

This course provides an introduction to project portfolio management. Students examine proven approaches for ensuring that an organization is investing in the right projects and programs, providing the right resources, and completing those projects and programs at the right time. Additionally, students learn how to utilize a strategic framework, encompassing clearly identified and agreed upon success metrics to align projects and programs with business strategies. This includes benefits identification and realization by effectively managing resources and delivering the strategic intent through effective risk management and investment optimization. Class discussions and exercises illustrate that the depth, quality, and flexibility of a strategy provide competitive advantage. Students learn how to use frameworks for benefits and value identification, assessment, validation, and realization through theory and technique discussions and applied exercises, which incorporate real-world industry examples. Resource optimization is taught through group discussion and exercises designed to provide insight and methodology to optimize time, money, and work hours available to run portfolio components in order to obtain the maximum benefits and value in return. Students learn and apply tools and techniques through industry standard software applications. Discussion and exercises include selecting projects through formalized portfolio management processes and facilitating the successful execution of projects and programs.

Summer Semester 1: Delivery

Program Management & Benefits Realization Lifecycles

This course introduces students to program management and its lifecycle. It also examines processes and measures for managing expected program benefits and assuring compliance with governance standards. Learning objectives for this course include an in-depth examination of the program lifecycle and identification of success factors at each step in the process. Students learn how to describe the relationship between program requirements and overall success criteria, including recognition of the benefits of maintaining continuous alignment of program scope with strategic objectives by realizing the stated program benefits. Through the use of real-world scenarios and case studies, students examine various program management tools and techniques and ensure the quality of deliverables and their impact on program-level management. This includes the ability to distinguish between program risks and project risks and maintain communication with internal and external stakeholders at multiple levels. Students also learn how to properly identify and plan expected benefits, track the realization of the benefits, and assure that actions are taken in order to guarantee that the resources to sustain the benefits are in place after realization. The coursework aligns with the Project Management Institute’s Standard for Program Management and industry-standard benefits management frameworks.

This course is completed in an on-ground intensive session format, with pre- and post-session coursework and assignments. This intensive onsite component provides students with an opportunity to address challenges and identify opportunities in a real-world program or megaproject selected by industry advisors and program faculty. It includes onsite visits to organizations in a European country.

Fall Semester 2: Delivery

Procurement: Outsourcing & Contract Management

This course teaches students how to conduct program-level procurement of capital assets, supplies, and services. Upon completion, students will be able to identify legal, administrative, and governance frameworks that apply to procurement and be equipped to undertake procurement activities with increased confidence, efficiency, and effectiveness. Learning objectives for this course include an in-depth examination of the formal source selection process, including acquisition planning and pre-solicitation processes, market research, the request for proposal (RFP), evaluation of proposals, and contract award. Additionally, students learn how to develop and control the lifecycle of a contract from initialization to its termination through the systematic coordination of resources and processes for the purpose of financial and operational performance maximization and risk control. This course also includes the examination of the federal government contracting process, including the federal procurement laws, regulations, and practical requirements applicable to it.

Agile Frameworks for Lean Enterprises

Agile organizations quickly sense and adapt to external and internal changes to deliver relevant results in a productive and cost-effective manner. This course explores emerging life cycle approaches, which lead to greater organizational agility, and provides an in-depth examination and evaluation of Lean-Agile principles and values and the drivers behind becoming a more agile organization. Students learn how organizations can achieve agility at scale by funding ecosystems of teams that deliver large initiatives, allowing decentralized financial decision making within the portfolio, and continuously prioritizing their backlog of activities within each agile project. Learning objectives for this course include the ability to achieve true end-to-end business agility by utilizing industry standard agile frameworks (such as Scrum, Kanban, and SAFe); establishing the strategic themes that guide an organization's strategy and investments; determining and funding the relevant value streams; defining and prioritizing cross cutting portfolio backlog epics; and monitoring the performance of the portfolios using applicable Lean portfolio, program, and team metrics. Students learn how to link an organizational strategy into relatively small investment increments called epics, study the breakup of epics into features that can be delivered by program teams, and explore the decomposition of features into user stories delivered by single teams in individual sprints. This course also explores organizational factors that impact the use of agile approaches, such as culture, readiness, business practices, and the role of the PMO.

Spring Semester 2: Operation

Capstone: Governance, Performance Measurement, & the PMO

Students enroll in the Capstone course during their final term. Students end the program with an onsite intensive session, which consists of five days of coursework. Students produce a substantial piece of work under the advisement of an industry advisor and program faculty. They select projects from their chosen areas of interest and present their work for review and feedback from industry professionals. Each student receives assistance in devising a strategy to support the topic of interest, consistent with the course goals. The capstone project is presented formally in the final onsite intensive session. One-on-one preparatory and coaching sessions with program faculty and the industry advisor occur remotely throughout the course, with the final discussion taking place during the onsite intensive session.

Pre- and post-session online lectures include topics such as a Program Management Office (PMO) Optimization, PMO implementation, and PMO governance and financial management decisions, including PMO metrics, organization structures, roles and responsibilities, governance models, project portfolio components (projects, resources, goals, and assets), and their interrelationships. Students in this course also review PPM function against benchmarked standards and known best practices to assess the effectiveness of an organization's delivery capability. In turn, students learn how to review project documentation to identify and assess key risks to the portfolio, program, and/or project, document observations, and prepare executive briefings representing their most important findings and recommendations.