Online Programs

MS in Agile Project Management: Course Descriptions

The 36-credit online MS in Agile Project Management includes 18 credits of Agile project management courses as part of a larger project management curriculum including related business and leadership coursework.

SPECIALIZED COURSES IN AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT (18 credits)

This course introduces the concepts, principles, and methods of the foundations of all project management and development. Learners will examine traditional, agile, and adaptive styles of management. Explore the advantages and disadvantages of Agile development, including variants such as Scrum, and discuss and demonstrate how to apply best practices from various methodologies to organize and lead an Agile team. A particular emphasis is adaptive project management, which is based on Agile principles but blends traditional methods as needed to adapt to particular environments and management needs.

The engineering and delivery practices of organizations have been under scrutiny since 2001 when the Agile manifesto was ushered in. This manifesto by distinguished software engineers and architects impacted project delivery, integration, and infrastructure while emphasizing iterative development and delivery of value added code in new and meaningful ways for teams. This course examines IT governance, finance, portfolio management, team designs, metrics, and culture. It also looks at the organization’s ability to respond to changing market conditions, customer needs, and emerging software trends as projects move through the lifecycle. Through case studies and problem-based learning, students the will examine project and program governance and financial management as well as examine the influence and impact of systems architecture and organizational culture. Prerequisite: APM 600.

Understanding the impact of Agile on the bottom line and how this affects the financial management and appraisal of projects is important to executives, project sponsors and managers, risk managers, staff, and anyone in the organization that shares an interest in the initiative. This course focuses on the elements of Agile that are relevant to risk assessment and management, including requirements gathering and estimation (“story” writing and “sizing”), contracting (team total and iteration “backlogs”), cost accounting (time and task recording) and the handling of operational and capital expenditure, ROI, financial decision-making, the impact of budgetary practices, and financial uncertainty. Some of these activities are done by the project manager alongside, instead of inside, the project team. Additionally, students will be introduced to DeOps on the importance of the relationship and communication between Development and Operations. Prerequisite: APM 600.

Agile is an established methodology used to cope with change and uncertainty. It has proved popular in product development and project management across a wide range of sectors. This course will examine both the role of the project manager in Agile and the similarities and differences between Agile and Six Sigma and Lean practices. It will take a deep look at Total Quality Management and the characteristics of the Principles of Systems Thinking. Finally, this course will explore in-depth Agile metrics and different approaches to testing and problem solving. Prerequisite: APM 600.

This course provides students with training in the design of proposals, project management plans, and budgets from the unique perspective of Agile philosophy and practices. It discusses the critical importance of engaging stakeholders in these processes, including donor agencies and local community members. Students will become familiar with donor processes and practices as they relate to project design and proposal development. Prerequisite: APM 600.

The final capstone is a culminating project that utilizes a set of skills which demonstrate maturity and professionalism in strategic thinking in Agile Project Management. Informed by an understanding of data, technology, emerging trends in Agile Project Management, leadership, and information technology, the course focuses on high-level independent document delivery and writing, applied research and analysis, and the creation of a polished, professionally written business plan. The major content of this course focuses on high-level independent document delivery and writing, applied research and analysis, and the creation of a polished, professionally written analytical report that will be shared with a local organization. From a personal development perspective, this course adds value in its requirement for self-directed time management, meeting milestones, individual project management, and peer review of colleagues’ work. Academically, this course provides a valuable in-depth experience into the careful planning, preparation, research, analysis, and writing required for high-level leadership in the healthcare industry. All work is supported by an instructor, a structured course that provides milestones and deadlines, and interaction with peers who will experience the same course simultaneously. Prerequisites: All other courses in the program.


PROFESSIONAL COURSES (9 credits)

When initiating change, companies need to decide what the right change is for their company and how to implement that change correctly. In making these decisions, various critical factors also need to be taken into individual consideration in a methodical, deliberate, and measurable way. This course provides the benefits of and insights into pre-implementation decision-making processes for framing and subsequently implementing strategic change. The impact of measurement and metrics on decisions for successful strategic change is discussed. The course concludes with a reflective evaluation of the lessons learned.

This course will cover: identifying challenges with virtual teams, increasing awareness of the need for virtual leadership, assessing the strengths and recognizing the unique differences between creating and sustaining trust. Additionally, a major goal is recognizing and influencing levels of engagement and appreciating generational and cultural differences in the way people operate and manage conflict among team members in the absence of normal interactive and visual cues.


Choose one of the following:

The main objective of this course is to improve the intercultural competencies and communication skills of students, with a particular focus on aspects of intercultural communication highly relevant for technical experts and managers. Students will increase their understanding of, and ability to work with, the processes involved when cultures come into contact. This course will enhance the student’s ability to think critically and creatively about today’s cultural challenges, to practice intercultural relations, and to provide a perspective on one’s personal and social responsibility as current and future leaders. No prerequisites.

This course provides students with the skills needed to collaborate with global partners and widespread teams and to effectively communicate with clients, including large and small corporations, internal and external customers, and members of the project team. Drawing on real-world case studies, students will learn how to prepare and document project correspondence, how to master the art of persuasion, and how to satisfy clients despite budgetary and methodological restrictions. No prerequisites.


PROFESSIONAL ELECTIVE COURSES (Choose 9 credits)

This course explores the current and potential impacts of new, emerging, and rapidly evolving technologies on organizations and their operations, across a range of industries and sectors. Topics include project design, data collection, and data storage as well as legal and privacy issues. Students will gain hands-on experience with techniques for gathering and analyzing information including audio, video, and text capture; media analytics; mapping and data visualization; mobile data collection systems; and more. In addition to tools and best practices, participants will examine challenges and opportunities for designing projects that implement current and emerging technologies to ensure success.

This course explores professional ethics and leadership to maximize organizational and personal success across a wide range of disciplines and fields. Participants will learn about ethical issues involved in working with clients and donors, professional correspondence, and managing monitoring and evaluation functions. These topics will be approached within a framework of organizational leadership theories and current trends.

This course provides students with the skill set needed to develop innovative solutions for addressing strategic business problems. Students will be introduced to human-centered design, which will allow them to understand what customers want in terms of products, services, and processes. Explore various approaches to innovative thinking and techniques for working with a team to develop and facilitate creative ideas that will contribute to the growth and success of an organization.

Learn qualitative research skills for project planning, monitoring, and evaluation activities. Students will analyze the strengths, weaknesses, and uses of qualitative data, investigating the circumstances under which planners and evaluators use qualitative methods. Working with an academic practitioner, students will learn qualitative data collection tools and techniques, including participant observation, interviews, and focus groups. In collaboration with an organization in their local community, students will complete practical assignments that require the application of several data collection techniques.

This course explores quantitative methods in project planning, monitoring, and evaluation. It provides opportunities for students to design quantitative evaluations and apply statistical measures to test hypotheses. Students will explore the use of statistical software in managing and manipulating data and the production of descriptive and analytical reports that meet the guidelines and expectations of professional practitioners in the field. Develop an understanding of an often intimidating and difficult subject with an approach that is informative, personable, and clear as they are guided through various statistical procedures, beginning with descriptive statistics, correlation, and graphical representation of data through inferential techniques, analysis of variance, and more.

This course explores quantitative and qualitative tools and methods used to evaluate, present, and communicate data (big and small). Students will also learn how to summarize and communicate findings to stakeholders so that they may make informed decisions that will improve the overall quality and efficiency of an organization. Topics include asking the right questions of data, constructing Statements of Work for performance and impact evaluation, conducting t-tests, ANOVA, ANCOVA, matching, differences in differences, regression discontinuity in program evaluation, and disseminating quantitative findings.

This course is designed specifically with the non-economist in mind, including adult professionals who may have little or no academic preparation in economics. It includes recent developments in the theoretical and empirical cost-benefit analysis (CBA) literature, beginning with a detailed discussion of welfare economics and the microeconomic foundations of CBA. It gives comprehensive treatment to CBA methodology and concludes with the current state of CBA as it is practiced by a variety of public, private, and international agencies with applications in areas such as healthcare, environmental management, energy, law enforcement, internet strategy, and others.

This is an intensive writing course that introduces mid-career professionals to the theory, research, and practice of analytical business writing. In this course students will be exposed to a variety of research techniques and writing forms including, but not limited to, entrepreneurial writing, grant writing, and clear writing principles for professionals in any field. Students will learn how to interview experts, work with clients, and write for the web.


To learn more about American University’s online MS in Agile Project Management program, call 855.725.7614 to speak with an admissions adviser or request more information.