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Unit of study_

PMGT3858: Adapting to Project Context

Complex projects have always existed, but their frequency and importance are increasing in a complex, intertwined world. 'Complex' is qualitatively different from 'complicated. ' Complex projects are characterised by a web of interactions between their elements that lead to non-linearity, emergence, adaptiveness and other novel features. That is to say, they behave as Complex Adaptive Systems, and they should be managed as such. The majority of projects demonstrate some degree of complexity. The traditional model of projects is expressed in standard methodologies such as PMBoK, Prince2, and MS Project. While absolutely necessary as a basis for effective project management, the limitations of these methodologies become evident when uncertainty - structural, technical, directional or temporal - begins to intrude on a project. In these situations, a systemic pluralist approach is to be preferred. Project management then becomes less like painting by numbers, and more like selecting from a rich and broad palette of methods, tools and techniques. Such competencies can make a substantial difference, in a complex world with an unacceptably high rate of project failure.


Academic unit Civil Engineering
Unit code PMGT3858
Unit name Adapting to Project Context
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
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 Kenneth Chung,
Lecturer(s) Chris Lawler ,
Administrative staff Natalie Chan
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Annotated Bibliography
Annotated bibliography and analysis. See assessment guideline on Canvas.
20% Week 03
Due date: 13 Mar 2020
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7
Assignment Reflections
Reflective responses to content and activities in workshops.
30% Week 08
Due date: 24 Apr 2020
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Presentation group assignment Symposium
Culmination of workshop activities
30% Week 11
Due date: 13 May 2020
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Report
Report based upon Symposium
20% Week 13
Due date: 29 May 2020
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
group assignment = group assignment ?

The assessment for the unit is comprised of:

Annotated Bibliography (20%) – This assignment will guide you in reviewing some of the most current research and is a foundation for undertaking critical analysis. You are asked to select from a range of topics and use articles for a set list of journals.

Reflections (30%) - A short set of questions are provided at the conclusion of the weekly workshop and are to encourage you think or reflect on the nature of the activity and to connect the activities with the online content. The questions range in a simple observation of your workshop experience to ones that will require some further research. This is best compiled over the semester.

Symposium (30%) - This group task is the culmination of your weekly workshop activities however it is anticipated your group will spend some additional time outside of class to further research and refine key outputs. Most workshops will require groups to undertake activities that are presented at the Symposium day and are assessed during this session.

Report (20%) - This activity can only be completed once the Symposium has concluded in Week 11. A few weeks prior to the Symposium you will be provided with your role and purpose for this business writing report. You will need to collect information at the event and then complete this final assignment.

More detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

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


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

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 and overview Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO7
Week 02 Culture, environment and context Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 Approaches, frameworks, methods, methodology and tools Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO6 LO7
Week 04 1. Governance versus management; 2. Standards and guides Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 05 Communicating for governance Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Project approaches - diving deeper Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO6 LO7
Week 07 Developing an enterprise PM method or framework: part 1 Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 08 Stability to chaos Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO5 LO7
Week 09 Change, transformation and purpose Workshop (2 hr) LO4 LO6
Week 10 Developing an enterprise PM method or framework: part 2 Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 11 Implementing a PM method Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 12 Other: Evaluating your PM method or framework Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 13 1. You; 2. Your role; 3. Your influence Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

A substantial part of this unit is based on the experiences and outputs from the weekly workshops. This makes regular attendance of high importance.

Please note there is not always a direct relationship between the week’s workshop activity and the online module. However, these become more unified by the time we reach the culminating Symposium (A3) and Report (A4).

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

Readings and lectures are integrated within the material on Canvas. You are expected to study these as part of your independent study time each week.

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. explore the development and effectiveness of PM governance criteria within different organisational contexts and cultures
  • LO2. demonstrate how the project is aligned with internal reporting and control processes within different project contexts
  • LO3. critically evaluate PM approaches, propose alternatives or adaptations and communicate appropriately with senior management
  • LO4. identify and implement change and transformation requirements related to the project
  • LO5. assess project complexity and its consequences for the approach
  • LO6. demonstrate understanding of how methodologies are constructed, selected and implemented at an enterprise-wide level
  • LO7. identify essential differences between methods commonly used in a range of different contexts.

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
Following feedback from students we have more clearly identified the individual and group contribution that are linked to assessments and workshop activity. The very successful Symposium is being retained with slight modification to make it run even better.


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