How Arizona State Keeps Up With the Chaos: 5 Fundamental Keys to Success in Project Management

Written by Sirin Srikier, Social Media Planner for the Arizona State University EcoCAR 3 team

The Arizona State University (ASU) EcoCAR 3 Project Management team has a method to their madness. Brian Hennesy, Arizona State’s team Project Manager, is able to manage the chaos using five key components that helps the team achieve success. He was able to gain inspiration from Inside Indiana Business and and below he shares his process to managing his team.


Arizona State Team Hard at Work


Project management is a practice that revolves around change.  Every project is different in one way or another, so there are no established ‘laws’ in project management but there are five components that can make or break any project.

  1. SCOPE: The scope provides project boundaries while defining the “big picture”. The scope of a project can change due to things like environmental conditions and financial reasons. The scope of a project provides the foundation, or purpose, of a project. Clearly identifying the scope of a project is critical. The ability to communicate the scope to the team is just as important as determining the scope itself. Providing your team with the ability to understand the project and how they impact it influences the performance of the project from start to finish. The impact that the team has on the project also effects the team members individually. This brings us to the second key component.
  1. ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES: The impact that each team member has on the project is determined by their level of understanding of the project. Their impact is determined by actual contributions made. By providing specific roles and responsibilities, each team member is given a specific position that allows them to make those contributions.
  1. SCHEDULE: The work breakdown structure outlines task delegation. By delegating tasks, a project manager or manager within the project commits to current and future activity. This requires figuring out when to do what and writing it down in an easily interpreted, graphical model. An example of this type of schedule management method would be a Gantt chart, which illustrates individual task status, planned task length, and task dependencies distributed to the team.
  1. TEAM INTEGRATION: All teams within a project work towards a common goal, bearing the need for a ‘big picture’ approach for successful team integration. The ASU EcoCAR 3 project team holds weekly team lead meetings in order to maintain knowledge transfer between all teams. Knowledge transfer between teams is only part of the process for team integration. The other part is skill transfer – experience-based knowledge transfer that educates beyond the specific topic of interest.
  1. HUMAN CAPITAL: The word ‘team’ has been used in each of the above descriptions. It is because human capital, the people, are the most important part of the project. Without people, there is no project. So, who are these people? Find out as soon as possible. Every manager needs to know their team and what makes them feel happy and sad and ambitiously challenged.


These five keys to success have kept the newcomer Arizona State team at bay with chaos.