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During 2021 we will continue to support students who need to study remotely due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and travel restrictions. Make sure you check the location code when selecting a unit outline or choosing your units of study in Sydney Student. Find out more about what these codes mean. Both remote and on-campus locations have the same learning activities and assessments, however teaching staff may vary. More information about face-to-face teaching and assessment arrangements for each unit will be provided on Canvas.

Unit of study_

PMGT2711: Critical Thinking for Projects

Critical questioning is important in all project communication and action. This unit explores ways of testing assumptions, and challenging the logical validity of arguments. The ability to critically question is a fundamental competency for effective project management, whether that be exploring the finer points of contracts, constructing an argument to win a bid or challenging project decisions.


Academic unit Project Management
Unit code PMGT2711
Unit name Critical Thinking for Projects
Session, year
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Petr Matous,
Lecturer(s) Michael Buhagiar ,
Administrative staff Natalie Chan
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Reflective Learning Journal - Week 3
Written assessment to be submitted online
5% Week 07 300 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Reflective Learning Journal - Week 4
Written assignment to be submitted online
5% Week 07 300 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Reflective Learning Journal - Week 5
Written assignment to be submitted online
5% Week 07 300 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Reflective Learning Journal - Week 6
Written assignment to be submitted online
5% Week 07 300 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Critical Response Essay
Written assignment to be submitted online
35% Week 09
Due date: 09 May 2021
1,500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment group assignment Team presentation
Team presentation
35% Week 12 15 mins
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Participation
Assessment of contribution to unit
10% Week 12 Durations will vary
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
group assignment = group assignment ?
  • Reflective Learning Journals. These take the form of written reflections on the contents of Weeks 1-3, 4, 5 and 6, to be submitted in a single document in Week 7. Each reflection to be of 300 words, and worth 5%, 20% in total.
  • Critical Response Essay. On a topic to be provided. To be submitted online on Sunday of Week 9. Length = 1,500 words plus or minus 10%. Worth 35 % of total mark for unit.
  • Presentation. A team assessment on a topic to be provided. To be submitted as a video file in Week 12, or presented in person in Week 13, depending on workshop delivery mode. Worth 35 % of total mark for unit.
  • Participation. Assessed on basis of contributions to workshops throughout the semester. Worth 10% of final mark.

Please see Canvas – Home – Assessment information for more details

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).
As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name Mark range Description
High Distinction 85-100  
Distinction 75-84  
Credit 65-74  
Pass 50-64  
Fail 0-49
When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard


Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

For every calendar day up to and including ten calendar days after the due date, a penalty of 5% of the maximum awardable marks will be applied to late work. The penalty will be calculated by first marking the work, and then subtracting 5% of the maximum awardable mark for each calendar day after the due date. Example: Consider an assignment's maximum awardable mark is 10; the assignment is submitted 2 days late; and the assignment is marked as 7/10. After applying the penalty, marks will be: 7 - (0.5 x 2) = 6/10. For work submitted more than ten calendar days after the due date a mark of zero will be awarded. The marker may elect to, but is not required to, provide feedback on such work. Refer to section 7A of Assessment procedures policy available at:

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to unit Workshop (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Why do projects fail? Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 03 Journaling for project success Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 04 The discipline of critical thinking Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5
Week 05 Recognising fallacies Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 06 Teamwork. Hard and soft paradigms. Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 07 Heuristics and biases Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 08 Communicating effectively Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 09 Cultural factors in project performance Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 10 Top-down (ideological) thinking Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO9
Week 11 Bottom-up (empirical) thinking Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 12 Capstone activity Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9

Attendance and class requirements

Students are expected to attend and participate in all workshops. This will count towards your Participation mark.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Prescribed readings

All readings will be available on Canvas  

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Appreciate role of critical thinking in project problem solving and structuring
  • LO2. Understand role of cognitive biases in undermining project success
  • LO3. Understand the behavioural and rational reasons for project failure
  • LO4. Appreciate the contribution of reflection to critical thinking
  • LO5. Understand the origins of fallacious conclusions
  • LO6. Appreciate the usefulness of hard and soft concepts in project management
  • LO7. Appreciate the key role of communication in project success
  • LO8. Understand the role of cultural factors in project success
  • LO9. Appreciate the value of dichotomous thinking for project success

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
This is the second iteration of PMGT2711. It is based on a unit which has successfully been taught to the Masters students for several years. One of the lessons from the Masters unit is that students may need support in undertaking the reading required, and in completing the written assignments, and the teaching staff will be mindful of that throughout semester. Content has been added to weeks 11-12, which would otherwise have been vacant due to changed arrangements for the team presentation assessment in the COVID context.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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