MGT 8022 (Assignment 1)
Assignment 1 is a major project-based essay and requires students to obtain sufficient information on a project of their choice to carry out a critical analysis of nominated aspects of that project. Students should choose a project as early as possible after reading the requirements of assignment 1. The same project can be used for both assignments 1 and 2.
Assignment 1 – Essay 28 March 2017
Word count: 2000 approximately
TOPIC: Critical analysis of a project business case
• Assignments should be attached to the specific electronic mark sheet for this assignment.
• All assignments are to be submitted through the online assignment submission facility on the Study desk.
• Check the file types and maximum file sizes that can be submitted through the website.
• Assignment 1 submissions that do not include an Originality Report generated by Turnitin will not be marked (refer previous instructions).
Assignment 1 should be 2000 words approximately, exclusive of tables, figures, appendices, etc.
Software requirement to complete assignment
There are no specific software requirements for this assignment, apart from word processing. You may wish to use software to create diagrams where they are of value
• Refer to the Assignment Guidelines for assistance in completing this assignment. Remember to integrate academic theory into your assignment to support your arguments and proposals.
Guidelines for preparation of assignments are provided on the StudyDesk for the course. These are in the form of short videos which explain how to carry out critical analysis of your selected project in relation to the topics for each assignment. You are strongly advised to watch these videos multiple times during the semester to ensure you have an understanding of the expectations of the course examiner.
Read the requirements of assignment 1 (below) and assignment 2. Choose a project that you can analyse in both assignments if possible. Otherwise you can select different projects for each assignment
Provide the following:
Assignment 1 mark sheet: Download the MGT8022 electronic submission mark sheet from the StudyDesk. Electronic assignments should follow the correct file-naming guidelines and use the electronic submission mark sheet.
Title page: Ensure that your essay includes a normal cover sheet or title page that would be expected of a professional document to provide details of essay title, author, date, student number, etc. (this is in addition to the electronic mark sheet discussed above). This assignment is a professional academic paper so should be presented as one.
(Note: No executive summary is required for this assignment as it essay style).
(Note: No table of contents is required as it is essay style).
Critical analysis of a project business case (around 2000 words)
Consider the following statement:
It has been suggested that a project business case provides ‘justification for undertaking a project, in terms of evaluating the benefit, cost and risk of alternative options and the rationale for the preferred solution. Its purpose is to obtain management commitment and approval for investment in the project. The business case is owned by the (project) sponsor’.
(Source: Association for Project Management 2006, Body of Knowledge, 5th edn, APM, UK, p. 129) (Note: bolding has been added.)
Think about your chosen project for analysis in assignment 1 and/or 2.
Write an essay about the following:
· Is it important to have a business case for the project you have chosen?
· If not, why not?
· If it is important, why is it important?
· What should be considered in the business case for your project?
· In what way/s will it help to improve project outcomes?
Justify your argument using evidence from the literature (the literature includes text books, journal articles etc. that have some ‘academic validity’).
The focus of this essay is the 'business case'. Make sure you clearly understand what a business case is before you try to complete this assignment.
Refer to your Communication skills handbook to understand how to structure and write an essay. It is expected that you would provide an introduction, the body of your essay, a conclusion and recommendations, and a list of references. You may use headings for sections if you wish.
You may use diagrams and tables if necessary to reduce word count and to communicate your analysis more clearly.
This assignment is deliberately open-ended to give you an opportunity to do some research about project-related business cases in the context of project management. There are no right or wrong answers. This assignment will allow you to explore the text books, journal articles and other sources on the importance or otherwise of business cases in project management. There is not a lot of information about this topic so it will require you to access the e-Books and e-Journals in the USQ Library website and develop some research skills. See http://library.usq.edu.au/.
List of references – (using the Harvard AGPS system): Provide a complete list of references providing full details of all citations used in the body of the essay. For a postgraduate assignment, if you have done sufficient research, there should be at least 15 references, many of which will be cited more than once. Remember to use the e-Journals and e-Books available from the Library website to research the literature on the topic (especially Books 24×7 and eBrary). Contact the Library staff if you need assistance to find these databases
Appendices: Appendices would not normally be expected with an essay. If you have any appendices, they should be attached to the essay after the list of references. They should be numbered sequentially, e.g. Appendix 1, Appendix 2, etc.
Turnitin Originality Report: Remember to submit a shortened version of your assignment (without the mark sheet and appendices) to Turnitin for checking and to submit a copy of the Turnitin Originality Report with your assignment. See ‘Course assessment’ above for more detailed instructions.
Assignment guidelines for assignments 1 and 2
• Assignments 1 and 2 are designed to encourage you to develop skills in research, critical analysis, problem solving, decision-making, communication and ethical behaviour.
• They require you to select a project (or projects) of your choice (so your studies are contextualized for your needs) and to analyse aspects of that project in a clinical and objective manner.
• Viewing the videos on critical analysis (accessed from the StudyDesk) will help you to understand the expectations and how to go about critical analysis.
• They require you to find relevant information (as it is not always provided in the study materials) and to compare theory with practice. This is not simple nor easy but reflects what is expected of you in the real world of practice.
• Assignment 1 is an essay. Assignment 2 is a case study.
• An essay is a simpler format than a case study but can be difficult to write well. It provides insights into an issue relating to your project.
• A case study is an analytical report that examines a specific issue and provides conclusions and clear recommendations.
• The word count is indicative. Past experience indicates that it is difficult to discuss the issues in less than the nominated word count but try to stay close to the word count if possible. Marks are gained for conciseness and marks are lost for unnecessary material.
• A high standard of presentation is expected at postgraduate level. There is no excuse for poor spelling, bad grammar, nor lack of formatting. Use one and a half line spacing with 12-point font, and pages must be numbered.
• Do not use ‘I, we, you, our’ etc. Reports and assignments should not be written in the ‘first person’.
Executive summary (required only for assignment 2)
• An Executive summary must be provided for assignment 2 case study (before the Contents page). It provides a reader with a summary of why the report (assignment) was prepared, what it covers, and a summation of the conclusions, and/or recommendations.
• It should be about 10% of the assignment length, single line spacing, and is excluded from formal word counts.
• It is not an introduction, but should function as a totally self-contained removable document for readers who will read no more of the report.
• It should contain all pertinent information including conclusions and recommendations in a concise summary, but should not contain any theory.
Table of contents and numbering (required only for assignment 2)
A comprehensive table of contents is required for assignment 2, with section numbers, section headings, and page numbers as per the assignment requirements. It will include the List of references, a List of appendices, a List of figures, and a List of tables, all with page numbers indicated. All sections and pages should be fully numbered. At this level of study, you should be able to use the automated table of contents function in MS Word to create a professional report.
Introduction (for assignments 1 and 2)
• An Introduction should be provided at the beginning to summarise the structure of the following sections of the essay/report/assignment.
• The introduction does not contain theory, nor does it contain any conclusions nor recommendations.
• Do not assume that the reader has read any Executive Summary (if one is provided), as it is a totally separate document. Include any relevant information in the Introduction
Body of assignment (for assignments 1 and 2)
• This is an academic assignment, so it is essential that your statements and views be justified by relevant academic theory. For example, don’t just use terms like ‘stakeholder’ – explain why you selected those terms, and the academic theory to justify their use and definition.
• A major failing of students is to simply ‘describe’ the processes that have happened. At postgraduate level, you are expected to be able to apply recognised theory to situations, and form opinions. You will often find conflicting opinions from so-called ‘experts’. You should be developing analytical and communication skills.
• Students coming from other universities, and especially overseas students, find this need for ‘analysis’ the most difficult transition to make to Australian university study. You are expected to use your judgement to analyse problems, make value judgements as to whether it is good or bad (or both), use existing academic theory from a range of sources to justify your position, and to argue whether something is valid or not. In the study of management, there are no right nor wrong answers, only lots of opinions, many of which change over a period of time. Show that you can act as managers, and communicate your opinions.
• Watch the video at http://usqstudydesk.usq.edu.au/m2/course/view.php?id=3335 to get a better understanding of ‘critical analysis’. The enrolment key for this course is: pmd.
• Major sections of assignment 2 should start on a new page. You will be surprised just how much more readable it makes your assignment / report.
• Referencing is NOT just inserting a list of publications at the end of the report and this is not acceptable.
• Referencing is NOT just inserting a citation at the end of each paragraph and this is not acceptable.
• At postgraduate level, you are expected to cite a wide range of different sources of reference material (at least 10-15), and to make multiple references to such material. This is where e-Books and e-Journals are valuable – they are accessed through the Library website. You are recommended to explore the following databases to find relevant information easily and quickly:
• Books 24x7 - http://resguide.usq.edu.au/index.php?type=eresources&letter=All&subject=subjec ts&ID=147
• eBrary - http://resguide.usq.edu.au/index.php?type=eresources&letter=All&subject=subjec%20ts&ID=37
• You can also explore all of the professional journals to which the USQ library subscribes through http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.usq.edu.au/lib/unisouthernqld/home.action.
• In all cases, you will be asked to log into ‘EzProxy’- simply use your UConnect username and password.
• References must be cited using Harvard AGPS system (which is author/date). Please do not use footnotes, etc. Read the Communication skills handbook for information on how to cite reference materials. This is where Endnote bibliographic software will be of value. You can download it for free from the Library website.
• Please refer to the USQ Library web site for referencing guidelines in the Harvard AGPS style. Go to http://www.usq.edu.au/library/referencing. Click on the Harvard AGPS link. This provides details on the referencing of print and electronic publications. There are exercises provided to give you practice in using the Harvard AGPS referencing system. Marks will be deducted for failure to use the Harvard AGPS style.
• In the Harvard AGPS references must be listed alphabetically by author in a single List of References at the end of each assignment. Do not put multiple lists of references at the end of each section or part.
• The required referencing style is Harvard AGPS and the recommended version is AGPS 6. Endnote users may download this style from the USQ Library website. If you have problems, contact the Library staff for assistance.
Figures and tables
• There are many instances where diagrams and tables would assist in the communication of information, and the reduction of word length. For example, if a stakeholder analysis were required, it would be much more clearly understood if presented in a table.
• Figures and tables must be numbered in some logical way, so they can be listed on the Contents page, and referred to in the text. A recommendation is that you call it Figure/Table X.1, X.2 etc. where ‘X’ represents the section number. Consecutive numbering through the whole document (rather than by section) can mean lots of renumbering if there are changes.
• Tables should not run over onto following pages. Start them on a new page to avoid this. If they are multi-page tables, then think about making them into an appendix. Use a smaller font (10 point) and single line spacing to reduce the size of tables.
• Where required, larger amounts of relevant material (such as sample documents or supporting material) should be put at the end of the assignment in an Appendix after the List of References. Smaller charts or summaries could be located in the text, but anything over a page becomes a distraction.
• Where included, appendices should be numbered sequentially (Appendix 1, Appendix 2, etc.). Unnecessary and irrelevant information should not be attached. Size of assignments has no bearing on marks achieved.
• Some students choose part of a project or organisation that is extremely simple in its structure, and has few issues to discuss. Those of you who choose a more complex organisation are given credit for the ‘degree of difficulty’.
• Make sure you answer all parts of the questions. Use the mark sheet as a checklist to ensure you have addressed all sections.