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Leadership Principles and Agile Management, 6 ECTS credits

Syllabus – PhD Course 2022

Responsible person: Donatella Puglisi, donatella.puglisi@liu.se

Subject: Leadership, Agile Project Management

Cycle/Course level: Third cycle/PhD course

Main fields of study: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine (STEMM)

Period: Spring semester, 8 weeks duration. Start: April 11, 2022 (schedule below)

Course description

Specific information: This is an engineering course designed for PhD students, but suitable also for post-docs and other professionals who wish to acquire leadership and management skills to improve their work performance, and get ready for their next step, which can either be a career development in academia or a transition to industry. Not only scientists and engineers, but also any other professionals are most welcome, due to the intuitive and easy-to-follow approach to the subject.

Entry requirements

To be admitted to this course, the participants should have completed an MSc degree.


Aside from understanding some engineering terminology, no specific prerequisites are needed.

Learning outcomes

Regardless of your specific career goals and experience level, there is an increased need of talented professionals able to lead teams and exceed goals. From identifying key problems and building team dynamics to innovating complex solutions and setting objectives, leaders and Agile project managers are key players in any corporate structure that thrives on efficiency, productivity, problem solving, and decision making.

After completing this course, you should be able to accelerate and improve decisions by learning Agile’s facilitating leadership principles to unleash productivity, motivation, problem solving, and strategic thinking. Therefore, you should be able to:

  • Make better and faster decisions
  • Increase self-motivation and productivity
  • Improve time management and problem solving
  • Use negotiation styles and techniques
  • Manage conflicts
  • Work more effectively in and as teams
  • Develop emotional intelligence (EQ) skills for improved performance at work

Course content

In this course, you will acquire versatile and popular elements of leadership and Agile project management by combining the field’s primary methodologies and tactics. This course will serve as a professional training to enter the job market better prepared after the end of your PhD studies. This one-stop resource for getting started will prepare you to ace the first exams for the world- renowned Project Management Professionals (PMP) certification. Leadership is a skill for any role, independent of the position or type of job you have or are looking for. Agile project management is an innovative approach, very different from traditional project management, that companies – both in Sweden and abroad – are more and more adopting. Old-style of command-control is now belonging to the past, except for the most conservative organizations. Agile takes self-empowerment to new levels and challenges traditional beliefs in what leadership means.

In this course, you will learn about:

  • Self-empowerment and motivation enhancement to gain better decisions
  • Getting things done, ensuring success
  • Delivering on time and on budget
  • Negotiation styles and techniques across individuals and teams
  • Managing bias through mindfulness and emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • Facilitation of creativity and inclusivity for a high-functioning team
  • Identification and management of decision-making processes

Teaching and course organization

This course combines lectures, seminars, and tutorials with practical exercises, study aids, prep tips, discussion forums, and other longer-term engagement from students with the purpose of creating an active learning environment and meaningful student interaction, supported by sustained, freewheeling conversation. The class hours will be alternated with remote activities in a way that gives the students greater control of their own schedule and priorities, more freedom to reflect and respond with deeper thinking, and more sophisticated arguments than is possible in a classroom setting. Course participants are expected to be mature students willing to learn new skills and contribute to building a community of future leaders.

Textbook and course materials

The course literature will be provided during the course to registered participants.


The course is examined based on an active participation at the proposed learning activities as well as through assessment of the individual assignments. The final examination task will be in the form of a presentation or short essay.

Marking scale: Pass / Fail

Course leader/examiner: Donatella Puglisi, IFM, donatella.puglisi@liu.se

Language: English

Schedule for the planned course 2022







PART 1 – Process, Principles, Theory

w. 15

Mon. 11/4

13:15 – 15:00


Leadership principles for project success – Team perspective


Thu. 14/4

13:15 – 15:00

Models and styles of Traditional Leadership vs. Modern Leadership

w. 16

Thu. 21/4

13:15 – 15:00

Leadership vs. Management

w. 17

Mon. 25/4

13:15 – 15:00

Fifteen key qualities that define an Agile leader


Thu. 28/4

13:15 – 15:00

Agile leader’s process – or How to succeed through motivation and inspiration

w. 18

Mon. 2/5

13:15 – 15:00

Benefits of becoming an Agile leader Mastery, autonomy, purpose


Thu. 5/5

13:15 – 15:00

Designing an engaging environment – The power of playfulness (Games)



PART 2 – Skills and Techniques

w. 19

Mon. 9/5

13:15 – 15:00

Engineering the people system


Thu. 12/5

13:15 – 15:00

Empowering the mind & Empowering the team How to enable a better decision making process

w. 20

Mon. 16/5

13:15 – 15:00

Handling conflicts, managing bias Dealing with dilemmas (Games)


Mon. 19/5

13:15 – 15:00

Adapting to Agile – or Learning to leave labels behind

w. 21

Thu. 23/5

13:15 – 15:00

The importance of Emotional Intelligence

w. 22

Mon. 30/5

13:15 – 15:00

The art of Negotiation


Thu. 2/6

13:15 – 17:00

Final workshop

Individual shot presentations (3-5 min) on your own ”Take away lesson” and feedback

The course is structured in 14 sessions during eight weeks, for a total of 30 hours plus about 130 hours for self-study. The teaching and learning sessions will include group activities, skills training, and individual assignments. Active participation is expected each time through group discussions, games, assignments, mini-presentations, feedback, and other activities mixing theory and practice.

The planned activities to be carried out on campus, in remote or blended mode, may be subject to some adaptations depending on the covid-19 pandemic or post-pandemic and related restrictions or best teaching practices that could be applied, if necessary.

Additional information

In this period of a global pandemic, we are experiencing, more than ever before, the importance of leadership as a key skill for any role and position as well as the need of innovative approaches to project management. This course is designed especially for PhD students at the later stage of their studies who wish to enter better prepared the job market and acquire new knowledge and skills in the perspective of their future career development. The course is conducted in a manner where both men's and women's experience and knowledge are made visible and developed.

The course is limited to 24 participants. PhD students have priority. Seats will be distributed on a first- come-first-served basis.

Page manager: iryna.yakymenko@liu.se
Last updated: 2021-10-06