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Advanced Project Management & Outsourcing

  • Teacher(s):  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits:
  • Schedule: Spring Semester 2022-2023, 4.0h. course (weekly average)
      WARNING :   this is an old version of the syllabus, old versions contain   OBSOLETE   data.
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CAUTION: Pls note that you need to REGISTER for this course using this link (available February 6-20).


Welcome to an interactive, practice-oriented course that focuses on two hot topics – the Management of Projects and the practices of Outsourcing & Offshoring – and puts them into the context of the current megatrends of Digitalization and Industrialization of Services.

As a preparation for your future career in business, you will learn a lot, but you will also have to contribute significantly. If you agree with this fundamental rule of the game, you will find below additional elements of information.

This course has been designed with a relatively broad focus looking at both business, technology and legal aspects - which should make it relevant for students of the Masters in Management, the Master in Information Systems and the Master Law & Economics.



Let us first agree on what we will be talking about in this course, starting with the following core topics:

  • “Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.” [1]
  • Industrialization is the “process by which traditionally nonindustrial sectors (such as agriculture, education, health) of an economy become increasingly similar to the manufacturing sector of the economy … based on factory production, division of labor, concentration of industries and population in certain geographical areas, and urbanization.” [2]

Here are the defintions for Project Management as well as Outsourcing & Offshoring that are considered as enabling competencies:

  • A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create unique deliverables.[3] "Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements"[3] - Examples: EPFL builds the new Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab, a Swiss enterprise enters the Vietnamese market, a bank implements a strategy to digitize its product and services offering, etc.
  • Adopting a rather wide perspective, Outsourcing can be defined as “the sourcing of goods and services previously produced internally within the sourcing organisation from external suppliers. The term out­sourcing can cover many areas, including the outsourcing of manufacturing as well as services.”[4] - Examples: Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (BCV) handed over its IT to IBM (and recently took back some of it); in some countries, DHL per­forms the final assembly of DELL computers and delivers them to the customers; UBS, the largest Swiss bank, performs some of its financial analysis activities in a specialized centre in Poland run by the US/Indian firm Cognizant, etc.

Course goals

The aim of this course is to provide you with relevant theoretical knowledge put in a practice context concerning both the core topics and the enabling competences mentioned above.

Competencies needed

Pls see below under 'Prerequisites'.


Interactive and participative teaching

The teaching approach of this course is interactive and requires your participation.

This not only guarantees a more effective knowledge transfer, but also allows the class members to share their practical experience in the areas of digitalization or industrialization as well as related to private or professional projects or outsourcing & offshoring.

In order to extend the reach of experience you can draw from, Expert-Practicioners with a business or academic background will be invited for a presentation and interactive Q&A sessions with the class.

Course material

Instead of a 'one and only' course reference publication, several types of materials will be presented on the course website. In addition to the slides presented in class, pre-reading documents, additional readings, videos, etc. will be made available.


[1] (accessed 13.11.18)

[2] (accessed 13.11.18)

[3] PMI [2008].

[4] McIvor [2005, p. 7].


Part I: Introduction and Overview

01) Welcome & introduction, overview on Digitalization

Part II: Digitalization & Industrialization (overview)

02) Setting up & managing a Business Ecosystem

03) Digitalizing & industrializing an operating model

Part III: Project Management (advanced topics)

04) Sustainable Project Management

05) Agile Project Management

06) Critical success factors in Project Management and the role of the Project Manager

07) Global project management

08) Project Portfolio and Program Management

Part IV: Outsourcing/Offshoring

09) The impact of digitalization on Outsourcing & Offshoring

10) The definition of 'core business' at the heart of Outsourcing & Offshoring

11) Cloud computing and 'as-a-Service' economy (new module)

Part V: Group Research Presentations

12) Group Research Presentations (see details below)

Pls note that this is a preliminary version of the Course Plan that might be adapted based on current business or technology developments.


References and additional readings will be announced throughout the course.



Personal skills: As other courses on a Master level, this course expects that you possess the competencies of analysis, conceptual thinking and self-organization. In addition, due to the interactive nature of the course, your contribution will require significant and regular out-of-classroom work and a significant workload. Finally, you will only be able to achieve top results in this course if you are able to demonstrate out-of-the box and creative thinking.

Language skills: In this course, Expert-Practitioners will regularly share their experience with you. Some of them will speak in French. Therefore, in order to be able to benefit from all external contributions, you need to be able to understand spoken French in a business context.


In order to make sure that you fulfill the criteria mentioned above and are able to fully benefit from attending this course, you are required to provide some preliminary information about you and your experience by using this link which will be available from February 6-20.

You will then be contacted by email and either receive a confirmation of your registration to the course or our excuse for not being able to accept your application. The confirmation mail will also contain all the information for attending the first course. Pls note that a rejection of your application is definitive. Therefore, take enough time to provide relevant information in support of your application!


First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  


While there will be no end-of-term exam (see below), attending this course requires that you reserve an adequate time budget during the semester in order to be able to handle the workload.

Most of your contributions will elaborated in your Group (details to be communicated in class).

Course Preparation Coach (30%)

Your Group will act as Course Preparation Coach for a specific course session. In this role, you will help prepare the content of a specific session which also entails interactions with your class mates. You will then intervene during the session and dialogue with the Expert-Practitioner and the Professor. After the course, you will summarize the content of the course session. - Your contribution as a Course Preparation Coach has a weight of 30% in the overall grade.

Group Research project (50%)

After the last course session but before the exam period, your Group will present the results of a research project either in the areas of digitalization or industrialization resp. related to enabling competences in the areas of project management and outsourcing & offshoring. Your 20-30 minutes presentation will be followed by a 15 minutes Q&A session. The quality of the final deliverables is expected to be academically relevant and needs to be at a professional level (i.e., they would be usable in a 'real-life' business situation).

The Group Research project has a weight of 50% in the overall grade.

Participation in class (20%)

Your individual preparation for class, attendance and participation during the course as well as reviewing the content after class are essential conditions for effective learning and will be occasionally checked.

On top of the grade based on your regular participation, you will be able to gain bonus points by sharing your personal experience in the areas of Digitalization, Industrialization, Project Management or Outsourcing/Offshoring in a separate presentation (details to be communicated in class).

Participation in class has a weight of 20% in the overall grade (details to be communicated in class).

End-of-term exam (0%)

According to the ‘practice-oriented’ spirit of this course, there will be no end-of-term exam.


Without exam (cf. terms)  

If, at the end of the semester, a student's overall grade is below the average of 4, the 'HEC Lausanne Guidelines 1.2 for a second attempt at assessments' apply.

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