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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Computing Short Name: COMM032
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: SCHAATHUN H Dr (Computing)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Semester 2
Assessment Pattern
Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)
Examination: One 2 hour unseen examination

Coursework: 4 weeks to complete a 2000 word written answer to specific questions on a real company


Coursework: 2 weeks to complete a 1000 word written answer to specific questions related to an IT project

Qualifying Condition(s) 

A weighted aggregate of 50% is required to pass the module

Module Overview
The module consists of two parts:

Business Strategy: This part will introduce the student to the high-level strategic decision-making processes that organisations use to analyse their competitive environment, select appropriate courses of action, and put this action into practice in the pursuit of growth, prosperity, and competitive advantage. Case studies of national, multinational, and global organisations will be used to illustrate strategic thinking and to apply analytical techniques and models.

Project Management: Business Strategy will often lead to projects aimed at implementing the vision/goals set out in the Business Strategy. This aspect of the module will look at the practicalities and challenges of running small (in team size and duration) and big (including global) projects.
Students will gain an appreciation of how business strategy will influence the type of projects run by a business and the importance of proper project management to ensure that the projects actually deliver the benefits described by the business strategy.
Module Aims
The module aims to give the students understanding and skills necessary to manage projects and operations in industry. This includes tools and techniques for effective project management and an appreciation and awareness of the strategy forming processes.
Learning Outcomes

At the end of the Business Strategy aspect of the module, the learner is expected to be able to:

·         apply theory drawn from finance, marketing, economics, human resources management, and operations management into a single conceptual framework which enables a holistic view of business activity

·         apply common strategic management models to derive insight into how organisations can achieve competitive advantage - e.g. Porter's generic strategies, PEST and SWOT analysis, market analysis, value chain analysis, core competencies, Ansoff's box, the Boston Matrix

At the end of the Project Management aspect of the module, the learner is expected to be able to:

·         Understand the project life cycle

·         Articulate the difference between project objectives and requirements

·         Use concepts like MoSCoW and SMART

·         Understand and apply risk and resource management

Describe the importance of softer skills like team management and running effective meetings as part of Project Management
Module Content

The Business Strategy aspect of the module is divided into the following topic areas:

·         Introduction to Strategy

    • The role of strategy in organisations
    • Mintzberg’s strategic perspectives
    • Types and levels of strategy in organisations
    • Competitive advantage
  • Internal Strategic Analysis
    • The resource based view and core competences
    • Value analysis and the value & supply chain
    • Products and portfolio management (the Boston Matrix)
  • External Strategic Analysis
    • Environmental analysis (PEST)
    • Industry Analysis (Porter’s five forces)
    • SWOT analysis
  • Growth Strategies
    • Ansoff’s Box
  • Organisations
    • Organisational structure
    • The cultural web
    • Managing change within organisations

The Project Management aspect of the module covers the following areas:

  • Introduction to Project Management:
    • History
    • Definition of a project
    • Current Challenges
  • The project lifecycle
    • Different Project management approaches, e.g. Prince2, PMBoK, DSDM
    • Effect of different software development methodologies
  • Managing Projects
    • Taking on a project
    • Risk management
    • Delivering quality
    • Resource management
People management
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Three hours of taught sessions per week over ten weeks, including lectures, class discussions and guest lecturers. There will be two pieces of coursework and one 2 hour examination at the end of the semester.
Selected Texts/Journals

Recommended Reading:

  • Business Strategy:
    • “Exploring Corporate Strategy” by Johnson, Scholes & Whittington
    • Business Strategy – An Introduction” by Campbell, Stone & Houston
  • Project Management:
    • “Making Things happen” by Berkun
    • “The definite guide to Project Management” by Nokes & Kelly

Background Reading and Reference:

  • The business section of a quality newspaper, e.g. The (Financial) Times, The Guardian or The Daily Telegraph

Last Updated
September 2010