The projects associated with NGS degrees offer a disciplined approach for pursuing quality improvement of core organizational processes by identifying root causes of process problems and applying quantitative and qualitative methods and tools to measure, monitor, and improve performance.
It is through these projects, overseen by a faculty team, that the students apply principles learned from the completed comprehensive curriculum. Most students choose projects directly related to their every-day work.
Collaboratively, the students of the Project Management Teams work on a project, with a sponsor, applying the principles learned in the comprehensive curriculum and required research.
Project teams tackling difficult, chronic and important problems within an organization for which solutions have not been found. In so doing, they can help their sponsoring organizations uncover potential problems before they occur and discover new opportunities for change and transformation.
Projects are required for graduation from all programs. The success of the project creates a mutual benefit to the student, the sponsor and the School. The student succeeds in achievement of the graduate degree, the sponsor receives high level management analysis and recommendations for process improvement and NGS enjoys a continued high reputation for commitment to its students and professional relationships with associates and colleagues.
Projects demonstrate a number of important benefits, ranging from cost reductions, reduced cycle times, to increased customer satisfaction, all of which can help an organization gain a strategic advantage. There are other benefits to the sponsoring organization:
- Students introduce a different perspective and fresh point of view that can lead to innovation.
- The process requires students to research and test all recommendations using the most rigorous and objective analytical tools. Therefore, sponsors are better able to make reasoned decisions prior to adopting proposed changes, thus reducing any element of risk.
- People within the organization come to appreciate the power of process and systems thinking and the power of teams, a lasting legacy.
- In many situations, the lessons and knowledge produced by the project can be extrapolated to other areas within the sponsoring organization.
- The team’s work along with the technical supervision it receives from faculty members and all of the supporting documentation developed by the team is performed and delivered at no cost to the sponsoring organization.
The Return on Investment (ROI) varies from project to project depending on the nature, scope, and state of the sponsoring organization. Quality and productivity are intrinsically linked. Improved process quality leads to improved productivity that, in turn, leads to lower costs due to less rework, waste, scrap, etc. If the causes of poor quality are prevented in the first place, or if the process is improved, savings should follow. Through project efforts, cost reductions and a substantial return of investment should occur as an outcome of process improvement.