UBC Award of Achievement in
Project Management with Microsoft Project

Six Fridays: Feb 19 - Apr 1 or May 27 - June 11, 2016

Project Management with Microsoft Project' course provides practical methods, tools and tips to manage projects more effectively, including demonstration of key concepts with hands-on use of Microsoft Project. Project managers clarify client objectives, define deliverables, analyze risks, develop strategies, identify tasks, recruit resources, schedule tasks, assign work, evaluate quality and track progress.

1. Scheduling Projects and tasks
Feb 19, 2016 Or May 27 2016

Plan to succeed with Project Management. Planning reduces schedule time and cost while improving quality and reliability. In the first session we plan a sample project and then create the schedule in Microsoft Project. Session is 75% hands on with Microsoft Project.

2.Managing projects and resources
Feb 26, 2016 Or May 28 2016.

A project manager must lead and manage people. Project managers define and assign work to project team members. Analyze project workload across multiple projects. Planning software like Microsoft Project supports planning and helps project managers evolve their plans.  Session is 100% hands on with Microsoft Project.

3. Initiating Projects Laying the Foundations for Success
Mar 4, 2016 Or June 3, 2016

Early phases lay the foundation for successful project management. Turbo brainstorming accelerates collection and organization of client definition of the project. Cost benefit analysis provides justification. Communicate scope clearly with sponsors and negotiate achievable contracts.

4. Specifying and Estimating Deliverables
Mar 11, 2016 Or June 4, 2016
Deliverables determine size of project. Defining deliverables and select delivery strategy determines work effort and cost to produce the deliverable. We present multiple estimating approaches. Session is 50% hands on with Microsoft Project.
5. Building High-performance Teams to fast track projects
Mar. 18, 2016 Or June 10, 2016
High-performance teams produce results more quickly resulting in shorter schedule times and lower cost. We look at the many factors that determine performance.
6.Communicating Progress to clients and management
April 1, 2016 Or June 11, 2016
Microsoft Project provides a multitude of views and reports from a single source saving time for project manager to keep project information current. These courses reduce the learning curve associated with Microsoft Project. Session is 100% hands on with Microsoft Project.
Brian Mullen , M.Sc, MCP,  your workshop leader

Brian has worked at World class companies like General Electric and Boeing Computer Services. He has taught Project Planning with Microsoft Project since 1991. The course workbook is over 1,000 pages.

UBC Robson Square UBC's downtown campus located in Robson Square easy to reach with public transit. Each student has their own desktop in the lab equipped with Microsoft Project.

The six courses form an integrated methodology for planning and managing projects. The first two courses lay the foundation in Project Management skills and introduce Microsoft Project skills used in the remainder of the course. Unless you are a very experienced with Microsoft Project Manager the first two courses are mandatory.

You can complete the courses over multiple terms so you can schedule the courses to fit your schedule and budget. You may select individual courses to suit your needs or take six courses to receive a UBC Award of Achievement: Project Management with Microsoft Project.

Each participant gets a detailed course workbook for each session. Each session will include about three hours of homework to allow you to practice lessons learned and explore topics in more detail. To complete your homework, you can download a 60- day demo copy of Microsoft Project from the Microsoft Project web site "www.microsoft.ca/project/". Click on [downloads and trails]. Click on [Trial software] and select Microsoft Office Project Standard 2013 Trial Version.

Sequencing of courses:

Courses are scheduled chronologically in order of complexity. The first, second and third should be taken in sequence, courses three to six are designed to stand alone. However to take a higher numbered course you should have completed the lower level courses or have an equivalent level of experience. Experience using Windows is required for the hands-on courses. The courses have been designed to run on consecutive Fridays so you have time to absorb and apply the concepts between classes. You may register for the first course and assess it's value to you.

Each course is $280. per day. Participants will receive about a 100 page Project Management manual for each day of the course.

All courses are presented by Brian Mullen, M.Sc.  at the UBC Campus at Robson Square, in beautiful downtown Vancouver, from 9am to 4pm. To register phone 604-822-1420 or go to the detailed pages for each course and click on the [click to register] button. 

Project Management Award of Achievement topics.
Detailed Agenda for each day in the course

For a detailed agendas for any individual session click on the session title below.

What goals do you want to achieve with Project Management?
  1. Reduce project schedules and costs with front-end planning?
  2. Lay the foundations for success?
  3. Assign tasks to resources and communicate assignments more effectively?
  4. Specifying deliverables clearly
  5. Reduce project schedules with high-performance teams?
  6. Communicate more clearly with clients and management?
  7. Use Microsoft Project Server to share project information across the organization more effectively.
The following project management methods and tools designed to accelerate your projects progress are covered in these courses:

Use Turbo brainstorming to stimulate creative thinking, involve team members in planning project activities, define client objectives, solve problems, analyze solutions, and have shorter more effective meetings.

Use Team-planning sessions to brainstorm plans, build commitment and 

Use Microsoft Project to create plans, assign resources, analyze resource workload and track progress against your original plan.

Use Joint-problem solving to build teams.

Use Cost/benefit analysis to speed project approval and focus teams on achieving benefits.

Use Zero-based budgeting to match project scope with client schedules and budgets.

About your instructor, Brian Mullen

List of recommended project management books
  • Project Management
  • PMP Exam Books
  • Team Building
  • Estimating,
  • Software Development methodologies,
  • Requirements definition,
  • business process reengineering
  • Creative thinking
  • Microsoft Project.
Comparison of the Project management Award of Achievement with the UBC Project Management Certificate

These Project Management courses are scheduled three times per year in February-April, May-June and September-October. You may complete these courses over several terms to give you maximum flexibility in tailoring the courses to suit your needs. The courses are scheduled on consecutive weeks so you can apply the lessons learned before advancing to the next stage. You may take as many or as few courses as you wish.

UBC is a PMI (Project Management Institute) certified education provider. Each of these courses is eligible for 36 PMI PDU's (Professional Development Units) applicable to writing your PMP exam. 

The next scheduled sessions are as follows:

UBC Project Management with Microsoft Project schedule
  1. Scheduling projects and Tasks
    Friday, Feb 19 or May 27, 2016, 2016
        9am - 4pm

  2. Managing projects and resources
    Friday, Feb 26 or Saturday, May 28, 2016
    9am - 4pm
  3. Initiating projects-Laying the foundations for success
    Friday, March 4 or June 3, 2016
    9am - 4pm
  4. Specifying deliverables clearly
       Friday, March 11 or Saturday, June 4, 2016
         9am - 4pm
  5. Building High-performance Teams to Fast-track Projects
       Friday, March 18 or June 10, 2016
               9am - 4pm

  6. Communicate progress to clients and management
    Friday, April 1 or Saturday, June 11, 2016
    9am - 4pm

Projects deliver the future to your organization. They deliver facilities, systems, products and services that keep your organization competitive. Managing projects effectively is a core management competency that will advance your career in any organization.

As an executive, do you want to overcome the following challenges:

As a project manager who wishes to improve your project management skills:

People who take this course include:

1. Existing project Managers
These people want to sharpen their skills particularly in the areas of Microsoft Project, team building and project methodologies. Experienced project managers can select session where the topics interest them.
2. New project Managers
People taking over projects within their organization often don't have any training in project management. They want more methods and tools to manage these project effectively.
3. Advanced planners
Anyone who wishes to prepare themselves for a future career in project management can take this course.
4. Frustrated users of Microsoft Project
Many organizations have selected Microsoft Project as their standard planning tool but Microsoft Project has a steep learning curve. Many first-time users become frustrated and give up. The first two sessions of this course provide a foundation in effective use of Microsoft Project along with tips and tricks to shorten the learning curve.
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List of topics covered for each session
  Schedule of one day sessions
Click on the course title to get a detailed agenda for each day.

You will learn how to:

Friday, Oct 16, 2015

9am - 4pm

1. Scheduling Projects and Tasks

Click to register for this course

  • Achieve benefits of team planning sessions.
  • Plan planning session with Sponsor.
  • Create planning workspace with flipcharts.
  • Brainstorm tasks with Post-it notes.
  • Organize tasks from left to right on flipcharts.
  • Assign resource responsible for each task.
  • Validate plan prior to entry into the computer.
  • Understand Critical Path concepts and calculations.
  • Start new project with Microsoft Project. 9am - 4pm
  • Define Tasks and dependencies with Network diagram.
  • Update Task data with Task Tables. 
  • Manage complexity with outlining. 
  • Refine Critical Path Schedule (Gantt Chart). 
  • Capture weekly progress. 
  • Report progress to management.


Oct. 23, 2015
9am - 4pm

2. Managing projects and resources

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  • Assign resources to complete tasks.
  • Estimate resource needs for Project.
  • Standardize resource definitions with shared resource pool.
  • Define resources in Microsoft Project. 
  • Analyze resource workloads. 
  • Schedule Tasks based on Resource availability.
  • Publish project plans.
  • Focus efforts on high priority items. 
  • Reduce wasted time in meetings with Turbo brainstorming. 
  • Perform project work. 
  • Avoid missing key deadlines with Time-box Scheduling. 
  • Track project progress. 
  • Manage scope creep with Change control
  • Manage client expectations. 
  • Bring project in on budget and on time. 
  • Rescue projects in trouble.

Oct. 30, 2015

9am - 4pm
3. Initiating Projects -Laying the foundations for Success
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  • Initiating projects to lay the foundations for success.
  • Brainstorm objectives with Turbo Brainstorming.
  • Document project scope.
  • Analyze risks that threaten project success.
  • Estimate project effort, schedule and cost.
  • Prepare master schedule with Microsoft Project.
  • Assemble business case.
  • Evaluate project with Feasibility Study.
  • Negotiate contract.

Nov. 6, 2015

9am - 4pm
4. Specifying and Estimating Deliverables

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Deliverables are results or outputs from projects and tasks. Deliverables are elaborated during the requirements and design phases. The definition of deliverables forms the foundation for estimating.

  • Focus on deliverables before strategy and tasks.
  • Prepare statement of work defining deliverables.
  • Decide delivery method (build, buy, assemble) for each component.
  • Develop project standards and guidelines.
  • Define components for each deliverable.
  • Construct assembly sequence.
  • Create summary tasks.
  • Construct Master Pert Chart.
  • Prepare master schedule.
  • Re-use sub-task definitions.
  • Design deliverables and components.
  • Create detailed plan for summary task cell in Master Project with Matrix decomposition.

Nov. 20, 2015
9am - 4pm

5. Building High-Performance Teams to Fast-Track Projects

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Tips to facilitate high-performance teams including skills assessment, recruiting tips, training and rehearsal. 
  • Achieve benefits of high performance teams.
  • Expedite team interaction with Turbo brainstorming.
  • Recruit project team.
  • Improve performance with Standards and guidelines.
  • Prepare project team.
  • Kickoff project with Team Building Session.
  • Assign Clear Responsibilities.
  • Build teams with joint problem solving.
  • Reduce wasted time in meetings with Turbo Brainstorming.
6. Communicating Progress to Clients and Management
Nov. 27, 2015

9am - 4pm
Click to register for this course

  • Overcome challenges of communication.
  • Build a communications plan for your project.
  • Define reporting requirements.
  • Design reporting architecture (Word, web, Excel, Project Central, etc).
  • Build reporting procedures and custom reports.
  • Generate multiple reports per project with VBA.
  • Automate reporting for all projects with VBA.

Project Management Methodology 

The following core competencies in project management are covered in the UBC Award of Achievement in Project Management with Microsoft Project.

  1. Defining project standards and methodology.
  2. Defining project scope.
  3. Defining client objectives.
  4. Initiating projects to lay the foundations for success.
  5. Evaluating feasibility and cost/benefit analysis.
  6. Defining deliverables for project, phases and tasks.
  7. Analyzing risks and develop mitigation strategies.
  8. Analyzing requirements to meet client objectives.
  9. Developing strategy to produce deliverables and minimize risks.
  10. Designing solution architectures to meet client requirements.
  11. Estimating effort and cost associated with the project
  12. Evaluating and select vendors.
  13. Negotiating contracts.
  14. Procuring services and materials.
  15. Preparing master schedules.
  16. Forecasting resources required to complete the project work.
  17. Mobilizing high-performance teams to fast track projects.
  18. Developing detailed schedules.
  19. Assigning work to project team.
  20. Evaluating and level team workloads.
  21. Recording actual task progress.
  22. Assessing and report project progress.
  23. Resolving issues and conflicts.
  24. Expediting project tasks.
  25. Communicating progress to clients and management.
  26. Managing resources across multiple projects.

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Project Management Methods and Tools

UBC Project Management with Microsoft Project introduces participants to key planning tools:
Continuous Improvement of Business Processes
Project Managers applying continuous improvement improve their teams effectiveness and efficiency. For example, meetings conducted with Turbo brainstorming are completed three times faster and produce better results. Plans created with project Assembly Sequences are more complete than plans developed with Team Planning sessions.
Agile Project Management with Microsoft Project
Helps you analyze and track project sprints. For example, 
Turbo brainstorming
Speeds up many processes in Project management and completing Project Activities. Many of the class exercises working in teams are accelerated with turbo brainstorming. For example, 
Microsoft Project
Microsoft Project helps you explore detail project models and manage complex detail. Many organizations have standardized on Microsoft Project for their planning software. For example, . PMI downplays the role of software in planning. In practice, you need software such as Microsoft Project to develop schedules and manage resource assignments. The largest project, I prepared using Microsoft Project contained over 10,000 tasks.
Assembly Sequence Planning
Create your project plan working with deliverables, assemblies and components. Assembly sequence planning provides validation rules to discover additional components and deliverables.
Team planning sessions
Teams that develop and refine plans to understand the big picture develop stronger commitment to plans. These sessions also build respect for other team members.
Matrix Decomposition
Helps you simplify complex problems like project management, business analysis, software requirements definition, specification standards.
Cost/Benefit Analysis
provides a powerful tool to convince management to approve projects and to select the scope of a project so that it delivers the maximum results for a minimum investment. Cost Benefit Analysis helps you harvest business benefits cost effectively.
Scope management with Zero-based budgeting
Zero Based budgeting explores options in detail and sets priorities to achieve Objectives

Turbo brainstorming

Successful projects require communication between team members to understand ideas, make decisions and take action to achieve results. Turbo brainstorming captures ideas on post-it notes and organizes them on flipcharts. Planning turbo brainstorming sessions uses post-it notes to identify topics, allocate available time, assign roles to each participants and outline the agenda.

Benefits of using turbo brainstorming in Project Management activities include:

  1. Deliver better results through consideration of more alternatives.
  2. Stimulate thinking and generate more creative ideas.
  3. Deliver better results by sharing ideas and building better solutions
  4. Build more effective teams through communication and solving challenging problems.
  5. Speed team meetings by sixty percent.
  6. Improve sharing of ideas.
  7. Reduce conflict through better understanding of others ideas.
  8. Reduce resistance to change by involving more people in key decisions.
Usually this interaction takes place in meetings. Turbo brainstorming with post-it notes, accelerates many project phases and activities: Turbo brainstorming saves you time in meetings and produces better results. The table assumes you have ten people plus the facilitator in a meeting each with six ideas.
Turbo brainstorming reduces a three-hour meeting to one hour.
Steps in the brainstorming process Traditional brainstorming Turbo brainstorming is faster and cheaper Improvement with turbo brainstorming
1. Collect sixty ideas from participants 102 minutes 10 minutes 10 times
2. Select and sort ten major ideas 60 minutes 15 minutes 4 times
3. Group sub ideas under major topics 60 minutes 5 minutes 12 times
4. Label groups 5 minutes 5 minutes same
Total time  3.75 hours .6 hours 6.4 times
Number of people 11 people 11 people  
Cost per person per hour $100 $100  
Cost to brainstorm Topic at $100/ hour $4,160 $640 6.5 times

Turbo brainstorming compresses project duration. Because you can cover more topics in less time you can compress three four-hour meetings into a single three hour meeting. This saves project schedule time, travel time, giving your project team more time to complete their project tasks.

Each topic can take 20 to 45 minutes so you can brainstorm four to six topics in a three-hour meeting. By covering topics faster you can reduce three four-hour meetings into a single three-hour meeting reducing cycle time from 15 days to 3 hours. This saves project time, team-meeting time and money while at the same time exploring topics in much more depth.

Turbo Brainstorming reduces schedule, effort and cost by expediting meetings.

 You can accomplish in one meeting with turbo brainstorming what takes three ordinary meetings.
Three traditional three-hour meetings. One three-hour meeting with Turbo brainstorming. Improvement with Turbo brainstorming.
Number of three-hour meetings 3 meetings 1 meeting 66% reduction
Number of topics covered in depth 4 to 6 4 to 6 Better quality with more depth
Number of people (* add one facilitator) 10 people 11* people Same
Level of participation Low High Better participation
Buy-in to final results Medium Higher Higher participant buyin
Elapsed schedule time depends upon time between meetings. For meetings one week apart the total elapsed time for three meetings would be two weeks compared to 3 hours. 15 days 3 hours 92% reduction
in cycle time.
Cost per person per hour $100 $100 Same
Cost per meeting $3,000 $3,300 Same
Number of meetings 3 meetings 1 meeting 66% reduction
Total Cost for all meetings $9,000 $3,300 64% reduction

The biggest benefits of turbo brainstorming are improved quality of results,  the reduction in cycle time, reduced cost of meetings and increased energy of team members.

With traditional meetings you have to publish results at the end of each meeting and refresh people's minds at the start of the next meeting. When you compress three meetings into one you can only have to write up the final results and can skip the interim results.

Turbo Brainstorming can reduce your meetings by 75% and produce better results. Turbo brainstorming energizes a team, stimulates thinking and leads to creative breakthroughs.

Turbo brainstorming has developed by ISP information systems planning corp.

Team-planning Sessions

Team planning sessions increase commitment and reduce project schedule time.
Phase n Start

Phase n Middle Phase n Finish

Team planning sessions identify tasks using post-it notes which are organized on sets of flipcharts. When the team planning session is completed then capture the results in Microsoft Project.

Cost Benefit Analysis

Cost-benefit analysis communicates project justification to management in a language they understand. Net benefits equals operating cost of new system minus operating cost of old system minus development cost. Identifying costs and benefits for individual activities focuses the  project team on delivering value to the client organization. 
Cost of operating old System Cost of operating new System
Business activities impacted by changeOld VolumeOld Unit EffortOld Unit CostOld Annual Cost New VolumeNew Unit EffortNew Unit CostNew Annual CostBenefit
Activity 11,0004h$75$300,000 8002h$100$160,000$140,000
Activity 2
Activity 3

Process improvement plays a key role in achieving benefits from a system implementation. Unit costs can be determined by measurement and by process modeling. In the case above we have eliminated 200 transactions, and reduced the unit effort per transaction from 4 hours to 2 hours. Even though our unit labor costs have increased we still have a saving of $140, 000 for the first activity. Once you have determined the benefits you can then create a cash flow based on development cost and deployment timeframe. Delaying deployment significantly effects cash flow and rate of return.

Microsoft Project as a Project planning and management tool

Planning allows you to think a project through and get organized. A plan establishes and communicates schedules, responsibilities. If you don't plan your project will take longer and cost more. 

During planning, you need to keep track of lots of detailed decisions and analyze the impact of thousands of decisions.

Without a plan, you cannot track and manage the project. Tasks don't start or finish on time. You can track project progress and compare the variance with the original baseline plan. 

We demonstrate planning concepts using Microsoft Project. With any sizable project of 100 tasks or more, you need planning software to plan a project, assign resources to tasks effectively and keep plan up to date. Microsoft Project has become the standard planning software in many organizations. Mastering Microsoft Project gives you a key career skill that will open the door to Project Management positions. If you don't already have access to Microsoft Project 2007 or 2010, download a 60-day demo copy of Microsoft Project 2010 from the Microsoft Project web site at  "www.microsoft.com/project". You will need Microsoft Project to complete some of the homework assignments.

Planning a project without planning software is like learning to drive a car without driving one.  Planning software enhances our ability to plan and track projects. Planning software can record working days in a calendar and translate working days (1, 2, 3, ...) into dates which spreadsheet software cannot. As well planning software such as Microsoft Project allows us to assign multiple resources to a task. Microsoft Project calculates costs based on assignment work and rolls costs up to the summary tasks and to the project level.

Learning Microsoft Project has a steep learning curve, partly because you are learning the planning discipline at the same time you are learning the software. This course will accelerate your understanding of why planning software is so valuable. These courses provide tips and tricks to save you time using Microsoft Project. 

Brian Mullen has extensive experience with Microsoft Project. He has taught Microsoft Project courses since 1992 at the University of British Columbia and the University of Calgary. He was a member of the Project 98 beta-test team. As well Brian uses Visual Basic for Project, Excel and Word providing an inside-out view of the structure of the objects in Microsoft Project.

Brian also has experience implemented Project Server for customers working in a project environment. Project Server 2010 simplifies project management in a multi-team environment. Many people require access to project information. As well the effort to manage shared resources across multiple projects is simplified.

Zero-based Budgeting

Zero-based Budgeting to achieve the following results:

  1. Allocate scarce resources to project activities.
  2. achieve maximum return on investment
  3. Select most promising features in a product.
  4. Determine scope of a project.

Click here List of Recommended books on Project Management, Team Building, Estimating, Software Development methodologies, requirements definition, and Microsoft Project.

Comparison with part-time "UBC Certificate in Project Management"

UBC also offers a Certificate in Project Management. People ask me what's the difference between the Award and the Certificate. The Certificate and the Award of Achievement complement each other. Consider taking a couple of courses in the Award of Achievement if you want an introduction to Project Management before making a major commitment to the Certificate. For the award of achievement you need 36 hours of coursework. For the Project Management certificate, you need 150 hours of course work. 

If you are looking for the use of Microsoft Project integrated with Project Management processes then the Project Management with Microsoft Project is for you.

Comparison of UBC Project Management Certificate
with the UBC Project Management Award of Achievement


UBC Award of achievement in Project Management with Microsoft Project UBC Part-time Certificate in Project Management
Total number of hours 36 hours for the Award of Achievement Minimum of 150 hours with 98 hours for the core program and 54 hours in specialization.
Duration The award of achievement can be spread over multiple terms. If you can only get funding for part of the program or can only attend in some of the sessions this offers you flexibility. 13 weeks for core program.
Use of Microsoft Project Extensive use of Microsoft Project to demonstrate key planning concepts. Extensive use of Microsoft Project.
Cost $280 for each session
$1,680 for six sessions
$5,800 for core program of 98 hours.
Methods and tools Class room case studies
Home work assignments
Team projects and case studies.
Conformity to PMI (Project Management Institute) Applies towards 35 hours of PMI -PMP course hours for your PMP exam qualification requirements and also for professional development units. Applies towards a minimum of 35 hours of PMI (PDU). Course is structured around the PMI PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge.
PMI Certification   The UBC Project Management certificate provides you with the skills and knowledge to write the PMP exam.

Last updated: August 25, 2015

email me with your questions