Course syllabus

Course Plan - ACE225 Project management in construction (7.5 hp)

The 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 toolbox
  • 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

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

Course supervisor

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

Course coordinator

M.Sc. Oliver Disney (OD) -


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

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

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 can be found by clicking here (if logged in):

All sessions are from 09.00-11.45 unless stated otherwise. Note the obligatory sessions. Recorded lectures should be watched by the date given in the schedule.

Week number Date Event Teacher Notes
3 Monday 18th Jan Introduction to the course and assignments, group formation and expectations KJ/CK
3 Wednesday 20th Jan


Project management paradigms & PMBOK Q&A



Recorded lecture (3x 45mins)



Wednesday 27th Jan

Supervision - PMBOK presentations (Obligatory) KJ/CK/OD/AM Attend at your groups assigned time
5 Monday 1st Feb PMBOK group presentations (Obligatory) OD/AM Attend the whole session
5 Wednesday 3rd Feb CHARM - Chalmers job fair No lecture on this date, group study
6 Monday 8th Feb

PMBOK Quiz (Obligatory)

Literature review introduction presentation and Q&A session (Obligatory)

6 Wednesday 10th Feb

"Estimating, budgeting and cost management"

"Project based organization"



Recorded lectures
7 Monday 15th Feb PM and digitization AM/KJ PM and digitization
7 Wednesday 17th Feb (09.00) Deadline literature review (Obligatory)
7 Wednesday 17th Feb

Power, authority, and politics in PM

"Scandinavian approach to project management"

Introduction to Assignment 2




Normal lecture (09.00-11.45)

Recorded lecture


8 Monday 22nd Feb Literature review presentation (Obligatory) KJ Attend the whole session
8 Wednesday 24th Feb Stakeholder management exercise


9 Monday 1st March Case analysis supervision (Obligatory) KJ Attend at your groups assigned time
9 Wednesday 3rd March Quality in construction, Talk By Professor Peter Love, Perth on quality issues in "The Level Crossing Removal Project"  (Obligatory) Peter Love  Peter Love is professor, Perth university

Monday 8th March


Deadline case analysis (Obligatory)
10 Monday 8th March "Governance of projects" SG Recorded lecture
10 Wednesday 10th March "Social sustainability and diversity in PM" MB/CK Recorded lecture

Monday 15th March


Case analysis presentation / Opposition (Obligatory) KJ Attend the whole session

Wednesday 17th March


Deadline evaluation of PM models (Obligatory)

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.

Week 3-5

  • Mandatory: 
    • 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.
    • Pollack, J. (2007). The changing paradigms of project management. International journal of project management, 25(3), 266-274.
  • 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

Week 6

Estimating, budgeting and cost

  • 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:

Project based organization

  • 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.

Week 7

Scandinavian approach to project management

  • 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.

Power, authority, and politics in PM

  • 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.

Week 8

Stakeholder management

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

Week 9 (in preparation for week 10)

Social sustainability and diversity in PM

  • 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.

Week 10

Governance of projects & Institutional approaches

  • 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(Links to an external site.)

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)


  • 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


Study plan

Examination form

  • A group oral presentation of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)
  • An individual multiple choice test on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)
  • A completed group project assignment (literature review, case analysis and evaluation of PM models)
  • Group oral presentations of literature review and case analysis
  • Opposition to another groups case analysis

All parts of the assignments must 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 Due