Course syllabus


ACE225 Project management in construction (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering


  • Introduction to project management, what it involves in the modern construction project, and its development.
  • The Project management tool box
  • The specificities of project-based organizations
  • Actors and stakeholders in contemporary construction projects
  • Power, authority, and politics in Project Management.
  • CSR, sustainability, ethics and social responsibility concerns in the construction industry.

Contact details


Christian Koch, Professor, Dr. Construction Management (CK) -

Course leader

Consultant Ph.D. Kim Jacobsen, K-Jacobsen A/S. (KJ) -

Course coordinator

M.Sc. Oliver Disney (OD) -


Senior Lecturer Ph.D. Stefan Gottlieb, ACE, Construction management, Chalmers (SG)

Senior Lecturer Ph.D. Martine Buser, ACE, Construction management, Chalmers (MB)

Assistant Professor Ph.D. Dimosthenis Kifokeris, ACE, Construction management, Chalmers (DK)

Doctoral Student Antoine Manes, ACE, Construction management, Chalmers (AM)

Mathias Gustafsson, associate professor, ACE, Construction Management (MG)

Course purpose

Construction projects are the central unit of production of the built environment. Managing a construction project is probably the single most important competence for the critical and skilled design and construction project manager. Management of construction projects is a mature area with numerous standards, certifications, and educations. Yet projects are often delayed, run over budget and do not deliver the expected quality.

The course introduces the diversity and complexity of the construction sector and the role of projects and project manager. The course familiarizes participants with the vocabulary, paradigms and concepts of project management. It presents aspects of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and presents both prescriptive and analytical tools, methods and theories. In doing so, the course will provide the necessary basis for understanding the discipline and practice of project management – theoretically as well as practically. The moreover course illustrates the application of various tools and understandings in concrete cases and projects, and presents aspects of power, politics, sustainability, ethics and social responsibility as elements of project management in a modern construction industry.


The links to the scheduled Zoom sessions will be posted here:

Zoom link 21st September 13.15-16.15

Zoom link 24th September 09.00-11.45

Preliminary course plan:


Course day






Monday 31 Aug.





Introduction to course

Group formation and expectations

Course basics etc.



Thursday 3. Sep.



Project management paradigms and PMBOK

Q&A regarding assignment and student-led presentations

No teaching in week 37. Participants prepare presentations




Monday 14. Sep.



Supervision of group work (At designated time)



Thursday 17. Sep.




Student presentation seminar  +)



Monday 21. Sep.





Estimating, budgeting and cost management (lecture)

Multiple choice on PMBOK (exam)



Thursday 24. Sep.



Project based organization (lecture)



Monday 28. Sep.




PM and digitalization

Scandinavian approach to project management (lecture)



Thursday 1. Oct.



Power, authority, and politics in PM (lecture)



Monday 5. Oct.



Stakeholder management (exercise)



Thursday 8. Oct.



Social sustainability and diversity in PM (lecture)

Deadline literature review and preliminary case analysis: Monday 12. Oct. 12.00



Monday 12. Oct.



Scope and Quality (TBC)



Thursday 15. Oct. (09.00-11.45)


Ethics in PM and construction (lecture)



Monday 19. Oct.




Institutional approaches (lecture)

Governance of projects (lecture)



Thursday 22. Oct.




Project work seminar (exam) ++)

Course wrap-up and participant feedback

+) Each group will prepare a 10 minute presentation of their assigned PM knowledge area. This will be followed by 15 minutes of facilitated discussion between the group, teacher and other participants. Participation by all students are mandatory, also the groups not presenting on the day.

++) Each group prepares a short presentation, which is followed by questions, feedback and discussions. Each group is assigned an opposition group to provide feedback to.

Course literature

The literature will primarily consist of scientific papers, but exerts from books will also be used. The participants should familiarize themselves with the “Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” by the Project Management Institute. Chalmers Library provides full text access to the 6th edition of the guide. Most literature is available through Chalmers Library. Further literature will be uploaded on Canvas before the course starts including handouts from lectures. Literature should be read before the listed date.

Course day 1:

  • None

Course day 2:

  • Mandatory: 
    • Pollack, J. (2007). The changing paradigms of project management. International journal of project management, 25(3), 266-274.
    • Project Management Institute (2017). Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (6th Edition). Project Management Institute, Inc. (PMI).
      • You will need to access the PMBOK guide via Chalmers Library. Start by familiarizing yourself with it as it's used later in the project work.
  • Supplementary:
    • Garel, G. (2013). A history of project management models: From pre-models to the standard models. International Journal of Project Management, 31(5), 663-669

Course day 3 to 5:

  • Work with the PMBOK

Course day 6:

  • Mandatory:
    • Flyvbjerg, B., Holm, M. K. S., & Buhl, S. L. (2002, Summer). Underestimating costs in public works projects: Error or lie? Journal of the American Planning Association, 68(3), 279–295.
  • Supplementary:
    • Flyvbjerg, B. (2008). Curbing optimism bias and strategic misrepresentation in planning: Reference class forecasting in practice. European planning studies16(1), 3-21.
    • Lichtenberg, S. (1974, September). The successive principle. In Proceedings of the PMI International Symposium, Project Management Institute, Washington, DC, USA (pp. 570-578).
    • Bent Flyvbjerg: Rio 2016 - The Costs & Bent Flyvbjerg: Oxford Olympics Study 2016

Course day 7:

  • Mandatory:
    • Engwall, M. (2003). No project is an island: linking projects to history and context. Research policy, 32(5), 789-808.
  • Supplementary:
    • Koch, C. (2004). The tyranny of projects: Teamworking, knowledge production and management in consulting engineering. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 25(2), 277-300.

Course day 8:

  • Hällgren, M., Jacobsson, M., & Söderholm, A. (2012). Embracing the drifting environment: The legacy and impact of a Scandinavian project literature classic. International Journal of Managing projects in business, 5(4), 695-713.
  • Kreiner, K. (1995). In search of relevance: project management in drifting environments. Scandinavian Journal of management, 11(4), 335-346.

Course day 9:

  • Hodgson, D. (2002). Disciplining the professional: the case of project management. Journal of management studies, 39(6), 803-821.
  • Hodgson, D. (2005). ‘Putting on a professional performance’: performativity, subversion and project management. Organization, 12(1), 51-68.
  • Koch, C., & Friis, O. (2015). Operations strategy development in project based production–a political process perspective. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management.

Course day 10:

  • Winch, G. M., Morris, P., & Pinto, J. (2007). Managing project stakeholders. The Wiley guide to project, program, and portfolio management, 271-289.

Course day 11:

  • Colantonio, A., & Dixon, T. (2010). Social sustainability and sustainable communities: Towards a conceptual framework. Urban Regeneration & Social Sustainability: Best Practice from European Cities, 18-36.

Course day 12:

  • TBA

Course day 13:

  • TBA

Course day 14:

  • Mandatory:
    • Kadefors, A. (1995). Institutions in building projects: implications for flexibility and change. Scandinavian journal of management, 11(4), 395-408.
    • Klakegg, O. J., Williams, T., Magnussen, O. M., & Glasspool, H. (2008). Governance frameworks for public project development and estimation. Project Management Journal39(1_suppl), S27-S42.
  • Supplementary:
    • Gottlieb, S. C., & Jensen, J. S. (2012). Making sense of partnering: Discourses, governance and institutional change. Engineering project organization journal, 2(3), 159-170. 
    • Hughes, W., & Hughes, C. (2013). Professionalism and professional institutions in times of change. Building Research & Information, 41(1), 28-38.
    • Kolltveit, B. J., Karlsen, J. T., & Grønhaug, K. (2007). Perspectives on project management. International Journal of Project Management, 25(1), 3-9.
    • Ahola, T., Ruuska, I., Artto, K., & Kujala, J. (2014). What is project governance and what are its origins?. International Journal of Project Management, 32(8), 1321-1332.
    • Muller, R. (2017). Project governance. Routledge.
    • What is Project Governance? Project Management in Under 5

Course day 15:

  • None

Course design

The course is online (through Zoom) and includes lectures, exercises, tests, student-led presentations and seminars.

Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the participant should be able to)

Learning objectives:


  • Describe basic project management (PM) concepts and tools
  • Have knowledge of different PM knowledge areas, paradigms and traditions
  • Identify PM issues in specific cases
  • Understand specific characteristics of construction projects


  • Identify and synthesize relevant PM literature
  • Analyze and evaluate organizational aspects of PM practice
  • Analyze, evaluate and interpret PM practice
  • Evaluate the impact of PM practices on actors and stakeholders


  • Define, formulate and solve PM related problems through process-based pedagogy
  • Critically evaluate project management models
  • Critically review and discuss peer students work
  • Reflect on power, politics and ethical issues in PM practice
  • Reflect on issues of uncertainty, complexity and bias for PM practice

Link to the syllabus on the student portal.

Study plan

Examination form

To be confirmed:

Intermediate test consists of:

  • An oral presentation of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)
  • An intermediate individual multiple choice test in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)

Project exam consists of:

  • A completed group project assignment
  • A presentation and peer-review feedback at a literature seminar

All parts of the assignments have to be passed to pass the course. There is no minimum threshold for the multiple choice test. Any score obtained in the multiple choice test thus counts towards the final grade. The final grade is an overall assessment of all evaluated elements with the weight given for the different elements.

Course summary:

Date Details