Preparing Undergraduates for Project Management on the Manufacturing Shop Floor

  • Mark Angolia (East Carolina University)
  • April H. Reed (East Carolina University)


The purpose of this paper is to establish a project management pedagogy for applied engineering students focused on a manufacturing career. To accomplish this, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 manufacturing engineering managers from a variety of manufacturing companies, in conjunction with the development of custom project management training for their support staff. From the interviews and questions, a set of core project management competencies for applied engineering students was developed. A review of the Project Management Institute’s body of knowledge and the engineering management body of knowledge was undertaken to validate and establish relevancy for the defined competencies. A review of literature revealed a paucity of pedagogical articles addressing project management education targeted at manufacturing shop-floor operations. A comprehensive undergraduate pedagogical approach utilizing active learning modules is presented for instructors to teach the currently demanded project management core competencies needed for a manufacturing environment. Graduates will be able to speak to project situations relevant and meaningful to production when interviewing for entry level positions with engineering managers. The Kolb Learning Cycle is used as a foundational education theory for active learning. The structure and methodology include technical objectives and development of soft skills required for effective project management. The approach considers project management capability maturity models from the International Institute for Learning. Its model is adapted to analyze core competencies presented by the pedagogy and is directed at the shop-floor level for manufacturing operations.

Keywords: project management|pedagogy|active learning|core project management competencies

How to Cite:

Angolia, M. & Reed, A. H., (2016) “Preparing Undergraduates for Project Management on the Manufacturing Shop Floor”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 32(2).

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Published on
30 Nov 2016