The purpose of this class is to teach technical professionals the fundamental skills and behaviors needed to run a major development project in a large company, or to successfully start or to run a new business venture. The material falls into three basic groups: Understanding of business issues, having the personal skills to make-it-happen, and organization and cultural issues.
The basis for the development of the “people” side of the material is the concept of “The Cornerstones of Competence”, i.e.:
1. One must have a core competence. For a technical person/business, this is often your profession or your product.
2. One must be able to sell this competence. This includes the ability to effectively communicate your ideas, and to rally money and team behind your ideas.
3. One must have someone to sell it to. One must have the skills to develop and maintain business relationships. These skills can be taught, even to engineers. There are both external relationships (customers), and internal relationships (team, gov’t).
4. One must deliver this competence you sold to someone, to his or her expectations. If you do not deliver to your customer’s expectations, you loose their trust, and don’t get a chance again. This is Project Management.
5. You must have the motivation to reach the goal. These motivations drive the behaviors that are needed for success.
The skills and behaviors learned in this course apply equally to entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs, i.e. people who can “make things happen”. The recent interest in entrepreneurship, and the resulting study of this by major universities, helps yield insight into what makes people who can “make-it-happen” tick, and how to spread these skills to others. I am pleased to be able to participate in these efforts at MIT.
The material included is taken from a variety of sources, which I have collected over the last 18 years, and have used successfully in building a business, and in developing successful management. The material forms the basis of 2 courses I teach at MIT. Most of the information is collected from published sources. Some is unique to this course. I have organized some of the material into a set of simple tools that can be used to solve seemingly complex issues, with amazing results.