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Unit of study_

PMGT2711: Critical Thinking for Projects

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

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.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PMGT2711
Academic unit Project Management
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Michael Buhagiar,
Lecturer(s) Michael Buhagiar,
Tutor(s) Claire Kim-Chung,
Jafar Hamra,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
A written paper to be completed in the exam period
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Participation Participation
Assessment of contribution to unit
5% Multiple weeks Durations will vary
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Online task Focus Question 1
Students to provide 150 word answer to question relating to coming week
1% Week 02 Durations will vary
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO3
Online task Focus Question 2
Students to provide 150 word answer to question relating to coming week
1% Week 03 Durations will vary
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO4
Online task Focus Question 3
Students to provide 150 word answer to question relating to coming week
1% Week 04 Durations will vary
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Online task Focus Question 4
Students to provide 150 word answer to question relating to coming week
1% Week 05 Durations will vary
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO3
Online task Focus Question 5
Students to provide 150 word answer to question relating to coming week
1% Week 06 Durations will vary
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Reflective Learning Journal
Written assessment to be submitted online
20% Week 07
Due date: 14 Apr 2024 at 23:59
1200 words
Outcomes assessed: LO5 LO6 LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment group assignment Team charter
Written completion of template
5% Week 08
Due date: 21 Apr 2024 at 23:59
5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment group assignment Team presentation
Team presentation
25% Week 12 15 mins
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Focus Questions. To be submitted online on the morning of the workshop in Weeks, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, each requiring a 150 word answer to a question relating to the content for that week. Each worth 1% of final mark,
  • Participation. Assessed on basis of contributions to workshops throughout the semester. Worth 5% of final mark.
  • 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.
  • Team charter: The charter is a component of the presentation assessment. It is intended to enhance team performance by ensuring that all team members develop, at an early stage, a common understanding of team communication, meetings arrangements, performance expectations, and penalties. The charter is due on the Sunday of Week 8, and is worth 5% of the final mark.
  • Presentation. A team assessment in workshop time on a topic to be provided.  Because of limited workshop capacity, the team presentations will be spread over Weeks 12 and 13. Worth 25 % of the final mark.
  • Final paper. A written exam, in the formal exam period,  comprising four project scenarios requiring a number of short answers. Worth 40% of the 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


For more information see guide to grades.

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:

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity 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 integrity breaches seriously.  

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

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to unit Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 02 Behavioural biases in PM Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 03 Journaling for project success Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Critical thinking: Facione model Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 05 Critical thinking: Paul and Elder model Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 06 Dichotomies in PM; McKinsey 7 Ss Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7
Week 07 Diagnosing project complexity Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 08 Communicating in uncertain project environments Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Cultural factors in project performance Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO7
Week 10 Bottom-up and top-down thinking Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 11 Capstone activity Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

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.

Required 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. Apply conceptual thinking to define situations and strategies
  • LO2. Promote an holistic view of the project and its context to improve decision-making
  • LO3. Critically question and challenge assumptions
  • LO4. Apply logical reasoning to construct and deconstruct arguments
  • LO5. Inform critical thinking with considerations of human and social aspects of the project
  • LO6. Select from a variety of critical thinking approaches to suit the situation
  • LO7. Employ critical thinking to leverage pluralism in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment

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 section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

We know that there may be some anxiety around the final paper. To mitigate this we are keeping fairness very much in mind, with a focus on conciseness and simplicity of language in the questions, and only short answers required. The opening mini-lecture will be strictly limited to 20 mins, to allow more time for the activities. However, a video on the weekly contents will be provided each week to explain some of the topics in more detail.


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

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.