There is a gap in current project management practices that repeatedly leads to cost and schedule overruns in capital project delivery. The Construction Management Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), and the Project Production Institute (PPI) have collaborated to offer their course, CM 421, Advanced Project Management (Delivery), for junior and senior Construction Management majors. The first run of the course concluded successfully in Spring 2020 with another offering planned for 2021.

The course goals were for students to:

– Understand current performance of projects in meeting cost, schedule and production requirements utilizing standard project management practices

– Introduce and have a basic understanding of selected Operations Science (OS) principles and their application to projects

– Research projects that have “failed” and analyze them using OS principles in the Project Production Management framework

– Understand and apply selected operations science principles in analyzing projects through both case studies and an ongoing field project

Cal Poly faculty instructor Paul Redden and PPI Executive Director Ed Pound coordinated to convert the course to an online format and then deliver the course remotely, due to pandemic distancing protocols. Utilizing case examples, presentations from industry experts, and online exercises, the course aims to teach students about the current gap in project delivery methods as well as how a project production system approach can optimize project delivery. Professor Redden stated that using a “learn by doing” learning methodology was particularly effective, as students applied course concepts to summer internships. “This hands-on experience with PPM will be invaluable to these students in their future careers in Construction Management,” said Redden.

To learn more, contact Kristin Buettner at or view the Construction Management Department at Cal Poly here.

About PPI

PPI works to increase the value Engineering and Construction provides to the economy and society. PPI researches and disseminates knowledge related to the application of Project Production Management (PPM) and technology for the optimization of complex and critical energy, industrial and civil infrastructure projects.