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If you Build it, will they come?It Depends! Do you have a strategy?

In spring of 2021, we received approval to launch a new master’s degree that is a Master of Professional Studies in Product Management. We are jointly offering this degree with the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), another business unit in the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Since product management is such an important topic, we thought we would share a very informative presentation on the topic from our 2021 Virtual Project Management Symposium . Our newest adjunct professor, Tushar Rathod, presented on “Product Strategy: Framework and Execution” and explained that a product strategy is more than just an idea . . . continue reading
Managing in the Time of CrisisSpeaker Spotlight - 2021 Virtual Project Management Symposium

In our 2021 Virtual Project Management Symposium Nikola Ivanov, who serves as Director of Operations at the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory, presented a captivating session on “Managing in the Time of Crisis.” We felt his presentation was exceptional, so we decided to share his insights with you. In times of crisis, some managers shine, and others do not. Perhaps you are faced with a major, public problem, or it could be something internal and more contained. It could be something specific to your organization, or something with global impact, like the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Nikola, one thing . . . continue reading
Five Reasons Why Project Management Skills are Just as Important as Your Technical Degree

Perception is if you’ve got an engineering degree, you’re an engineer, so you know everything.  Well….you’ve got excellent technical skills, but do you really know everything?  Of course not. The fact is, to be a truly successful engineer, in addition to technical skills, you also need project management, communications and leadership skills.  In today’s market, engineers who lack these skills could be regarded as having only half the training and knowledge they need to offer full value to their company. Project management courses are important for any engineer because projects can be extremely complex, risky, and high stake.  It is . . . continue reading
How the Pandemic Changed the WorkplaceFeatured Speaker Spotlight - 2021 Virtual Project Management Symposium

In our 2021 Virtual Project Management Symposium, we continued the idea that one of our featured speakers would address issues around the workplace. In 2019, Stephen Shields, a Gallup Senior Consultant, lead an energizing breakout session on “Thriving Strengths-based Leaders” so, for 2021, we invited him as a featured speaker to discuss “The Workplace Moving Forward: How has the Pandemic Changed the Workplace?” When millions of Americans suddenly began working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, managers acquired trial-by-fire experience with at-home work policies. As we move forward in a post-pandemic workplace, some of those experiences are useful, others are . . . continue reading
What Have We Learned?

Context At the University of Maryland, when the campus closed suddenly in March 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, all classes moved to the online environment. This was not a problem for the graduate courses offered by the Project Management Center for Excellence.  Our faculty regularly teaches both on campus and online courses so each instructor has an extensive library of previously recorded lectures and uses our LMS (Canvas) for assignments for both on campus and online courses. The graduate faculty have years of experience facilitating virtual classes, discussion groups, and assignments so the sudden switch to all . . . continue reading
What is Active Learning?Tips for Designing and Managing an Active Classroom

In September 2020, we published an article promoting Blended Learning[1] as our recommended approach to structuring a course. Blended Learning combines the best aspects of both classroom and online learning, and our version incorporates a flipped classroom approach. All course content is designed and posted on a learning management system (LMS) and students review the content and complete any assignments prior to participating in a synchronous class. The class meeting with the instructor could be either in person or online or could switch between the two seamlessly. Simply stated, instructors assign various asynchronous activities for learners to complete before class (lecture . . . continue reading
Combining Behavioral Science with Project ManagementThe Road to Improvement

In our 2020 Project Management Symposium at the University of Maryland, we launched the idea of having one of our featured speakers present on how brain functioning impacts the management of projects, and we featured Josh Ramirez[1] speaking on “Redesigning Project Management Around the Brain”. In the 2021 Symposium, Dr. Shari De Baets[2] delighted the audience sharing insights from her research on the intersection of behavioral science and project management “Combining Behavioral Science with Project Management: The Road to Improvement”. This article is a summary of the highlights of her presentation. People want to do their jobs well. They want . . . continue reading
Non-verbal Communications in Video ConferencingWhat It Says About You!

Since spring of 2020, I have written several articles providing guidance to our faculty that had never taught an online course.  I discussed different topics all related to teaching in a virtual environment; Blended Learning Classroom Guidance, Video Production Guidance, and Facilitating Virtual Classes to name a few. In a recent video class that I observed, it stuck me that everyone needs to understand that “You Can Not; Not Communicate.” In the article on Facilitating Virtual Classes, we briefly discussed having a good webcam, lighting, and microphones. But we really focused the article on conducting the virtual class. This article . . . continue reading
5 Necessary Skills for an Aspiring Product Manager

A product team without a product manager is a bit like an orchestra without a conductor. No matter how talented the musicians, the sound would quickly devolve into dissonance without a conductor’s lead and guidance. Much like the orchestra conductor, a product manager must conduct the communication and workflow between all the units and departments within a company to ensure everyone on the team is aligned toward the same goal: satisfying the customer, meeting their needs while reducing their pain and increasing their gain is their most important job.  The internet has completely changed how people find products that meet . . . continue reading
Speaker Guidance – Present Like a Pro

Introduction Eight years ago, when we launched our successful annual Project Management Symposium, we rapidly learned that while many speakers had very good content, they were not necessarily up to speed in preparing their visual support, which is generally PowerPoint, so, we began to offer some guidance. Over the past several years, the guidance has been refined and I believe is now applicable for any presentation, virtual or in person. This article is a modified version of that guidance. Preparing Your Presentation This section may be adjusted for the specific time allocation of your event, but the timing is what . . . continue reading
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