During more than a decade of teaching technical project management to graduate engineering students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, professors Jeffrey Russell, Wayne Pferdehirt, and John Nelson found themselves circling around a new approach to the field. Whereas traditional project management focuses on methodical plans, they wanted to acknowledge the realities of a modern world constantly in flux. The result is the new e-book Technical Project Management in Living and Geometric Order, now available as an open educational resource.
Technical Project Management in Living and Geometric Order demonstrates that even the best-laid project plans can be undone by new technologies, financial upheavals, or resource scarcity, among other disruptors. It encourages students to focus on learning throughout a project, with the understanding that what they learn could necessitate major changes in midstream. This adaptive, flexible, living-order approach is inspired by Lean in construction projects and Agile in software development.
Russell, Pferdehirt, and Nelson developed Technical Project Management in Living and Geometric Order as a supplemental textbook for UW-Madison online Master of Engineering degrees.
These online programs include masters in Engine Systems, Engineering Data Analytics, Engineering Management, Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Polymer Science, and Sustainable Systems Engineering. The programs are rated as one of the top online graduate engineering programs by U.S. News & World Report and have won several national awards for their educational quality.
“Like our technical project management course, Technical Project Management in Living and Geometric Order helps students build on their experiences and develop effective strategies for managing complex technical projects,” says Russell, dean of Continuing Studies and vice provost for Lifelong Learning at UW-Madison. “The book emphasizes applying project management concepts to real-world problems.”