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Project Management Assignment: Collaboration Of AstraZeneca & Oxford For Vaccine Development Project


Task: Task Summary
Following group discussions, individually write a 1,200-word report that discusses the strengths, weaknesses, similarities, and contrasts of PMBoK and PRINCE2 or Agile in contemporary projects.

In this project management assignment, you will write a 1,200-word (+/- 10%) report that considers the application of a project management methodology to a project as described in a case study of “ASTRAZENECA: Fighting a Global Pandemic”. In particular, you will review the assigned case study, then compare and contrast the application of the PMBoK project management approach to the highlighted project with your choice of one of the following methodologies/approaches:

a) PRINCE2, or
b) Agile
The report must use the following headings:
1. INTRODUCTION: Develop an introduction to PMBoK and the other methodology/approach you have selected (PRINCE2 or Agile) that includes their background and historical context (approximately 200 words)
2. SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES: List 2–3 similarities and 2–3 differences between them and why these similarities and differences are relevant to the assigned case study (approximately 200 words combined)
3. RISK: How each method treats project risk and how these approaches to risk are relevant to the assigned case study (approximately 200 words)
4. PROJECT CONTEXT: The types of projects in which each is used (approximately 200 words)
5. LIFECYCLE IMPLICATIONS: How each differs across different phases of a project’s lifecycle (approximately 200 words)
6. APPLICATION: Explain which methodology you would choose to apply for the project in the assigned case study, and why (approximately 200 words)
Be sure to cite any source material, including learning resources or other academic or industry literature you research, used to inform your analysis.


Agile and PMBOK Project Method Used In the Case Of Project Management Assignment
PMBOK is an abbreviation of Project Management Body of Knowledge. It is nothing but a comprehensive understanding and application of the complete idea necessary for managing a project. It includes the procedures, best practices in the industry, standard terminologies, guidelines for regulatory and competitive excellence etc. There are five critical steps in the PMBOK process. These are – initiation, planning, execution, control and closure (Wilkinson, Hill, & Gollan, 2021). The steps indicate the conclusive nature of projects, where PMBOK will work best, should have one-time goal and certain boundary to execute. The method is a guideline to certain projects, that require little to no change after the closure. The vaccine development project taken up by Astrazeneca in collaboration with Oxford, required this exact knowledge-based execution of the project since the beginning. Initially, the project went messed up because of the lack of knowledge at the end of the project management team. Being an initiative to be taken up by two large and globally renowned companies, it was crucial for AstraZeneca to ensure integrity among the project units.

Agile method is a single methodology outlined in the Agile Manifesto. The method has a large area of application with different focus. Continuous improvement of the project outcome is one of the key foci of agile method. Frameworks for managing agile projects include scrum, Kanban, Extreme programming, and adaptive project framework (Wilkinson, Hill, & Gollan, 2021). These frameworks differ from one another due to their styles and methods of execution of any project under the agile perspective. Usually small teams work in agile projects. These teams are called Agile iterations. They are responsible for regular and quick results of project deliverables with continuous improvement and consumers’ satisfaction. Since developing and marketing of a vaccine cannot be experimental in human trial for very long, the agile method is not applicable for Astrazeneca’s vaccination project plan. Further, as a medicinal project, the company cannot risk multiple trial and error before marketing it for human use.

Similarities and Differences

1. Both Agile and PMBOK require a comprehensive framework of project execution for developing the blueprint of the project method. For instance, a central Covid-19 hospital care system requires a PMBOK approach.
2. Both the methods have certain flow of steps to follow during the execution of the project. The steps PMBOK outline, apply for the overall execution of agile method as well. These steps are simple and include planning, execution and closure. Agile only adds the continuous improvement part in it (Wilkinson, Hill, & Gollan, 2021).In case of the vaccine development plan by Astrzeneca, the company planned a four step method of Integration, Contract Management, Team process Guidance and Risk Management. Each of these stages required direct communication and explanation of the next stage strategically to the team members of the project and the shareholders of both the companies, that is including Oxford.
3. Finally, success in project under Agile or PMBOK depends on testing of the outcome after the closure of final delivery of the project.

1. Unlike the PMBOK, the agile methodology of project management is more practical. It not only guides the project team, but also stays with each step of the project development for reviewing and modification within the steps (Murugesan, 2018).
2. Agile method is applicable to continuous projects or to those requiring aggressive quality checking and assurance (Murugesan, 2018). Most software development projects benefits from the agile method. Covid-19 case tracking software is an appropriate example for this. However, though a vaccine development project by Astrazeneca is supposed to require aggressive testing, its fundamental testing criteria does not match with the Agile project’s testing and modification of results. Hence, it is not applicable for the present case of vaccine development by Astrazeneca.
3. Steps in the agile technology involve Meeting and Planning, Designing, Testing, Releasing, feedback and repeating if required. The project under the agile method can even change its direction and operational instructions in response to the client’s demands or test results.

In agile methodology, risks are mostly due to the long-term and multi-direction operational process. The teams engaged in managing the projects are usually the key focus of risks. Hence, integration and communication among the team members are integral to the success of agile projects. Repeated customization and changes made during the process may deliver a completely different product than what the developers have primarily outlined in the blueprint (Murugesan, 2018). Aligning the product with the primary requirements of the customer becomes challenging after the complete investment of resources in the agile method. Thus, integrating and updating each stage of the project is necessary for avoiding loss. These approaches will help in reducing miscommunication and wrong entry of data in Covid-19 disaster response system. In the present case, Astrazeneca has already identified risks in the Phase 3 Clinical programme for emergency use of the vaccine. Setting up the manufacturing plant, allocating resource, getting necessary approvals from the US FDA and ensuring harmless application on the target market of the vaccine were all moderately risky considering the nature of project Astrazeneca has taken up. However, collaboration with Oxford made the risks shareable with them for better solutions.

In PMBOK, the risk usually lies on the perfection and success of the project deliverables. As a one-time project mechanism, there are little chances of recovery for the resource invested on the project in this method after closure (Lee et al., 2019). Hence, this approach requires more minute consideration of the requirements asked by the clients while proceeding with a project.

The PMBOK will help in taking precautionary measures to avoid risks in the assigned case. On the other hand, the agile approach will help with the execution of operation in each stage of the project for error-free execution.

Project Contexts
The PMBOK method is used in one-time projects, where the goal is clearly defined and the timeline is clearly outlined. Projects like a change in business process for adapting IT in the place of manual operation, is an example of PMBOK method, as it needs to be done in a certain deadline to ensure operational continuity (Lee et al., 2019). Some administrative projects that need to reach certain population of beneficiaries, like integrating vaccination programmes for citizens during the pandemic on digital platform may also follow a PMBOK method for comprehensive understanding and desired outcome of the initiative. Evidently, the vaccine project by Astrazeneca will require a detailed approach in knowledge-based decision-making with adequate information from different fields of operations like healthcare, market, affordability of the target consumers, and governmental rules and regulations. The company has identified six basic steps regarding this – the pre-clinic research, phase I, phase II, phase III testing, manufacturing and approval.

Agile projects are usually long-term and as a rule, subject to continuous development. The most common application areas of agile project is software development. Since developing a software according to the requirements of a client is the most critical task within a short period of time, continuous changes for reducing rejection of the project deliverables is necessary (Lee et al., 2019). Software development projects also face trade-off between the demands and process of execution. Agile method guides the project team members to manage such situations and work more effectively with little chance to failure and waste of the investment for necessary resources. In the present case context, timeline and visibility are the two main concerns of Astrazeneca. Since other competitors have also entered into the trial and error phase for developing vaccine, their rush to bring the product before the peers required aggressive time management, which is not typically characterized by Agile method.

Lifecycle Implications
In the PMBOK project lifecycle, the stages involve initiation, planning, execution, control and closure. In agile project, the stages involve Planning, Designing, Testing, Releasing, feedback. In the initiation stage of PMBOK, the project’s planning I executed along with the initiation of the plan. On the other hand, in the Agile method, the project needs to be perfectly outlined before proceeding with the initiation to find the right way of direction(Buh et al., 2017). Hence, the planning is crucial for Agile method, but not for PMBOK method, as it reflects on progress through experience. However, the planning in PMBOK comes after the initiation as the project grows after starting with the concept. Execution of the plan in PMBOK requires a comprehensive access to all necessary data by the project team. In Agile method, again, the task of project requires detailed designing of the process before proceeding with the actual execution(Buh et al., 2017). Again, testing and reviewing come after the control stage in the PMBOK method, but in Agile, testing is imperative before releasing. In both the methods, however, feedback plays a crucial role to determine the project’s success. While in the PMBOK, feedback-based correction does not really work after the closure of the project, in Agile, the continuous developmental process depends on the analysis of feedback largely.

For the assigned project, I shall apply the PMBOK method. This method will help in adhering to the project timeline and making the team more active and alert about the necessary information required. In Agile project, the problem of integration among different units of projects is always a major barrier to success. Since, this project does not require continuous feedback-based changes of improvement, the need for Agile method is absent in any consideration of it (Buh et al., 2017). On the other hand, being strictly focused on the exact outcome required and procedures to be followed, the PMBOK will aid with its specifically detailed lifecycle management cycle. The problem of trade off as frequent in Agile method, can be avoided with the adoption of PMBOK method. One of the most direct reasons behind this possibility of avoiding trade off is the comprehensive acquisition of information about the project in detail. Again, in this project, control and execution need to be integrally considered. This integration further helps in avoiding chances of failure and disorientation within different units of the project. Finally, time plays a crucial role in this kind of project, hence, certainty is a prerequisite. It is very evident in developing Covid-19 vaccine management systems adopted by governments of many nations. The analyses on risks, time-management, information required, integration necessary among units and also among the two corporations, Astrazeneca and Oxford, clearly indicate to the appropriateness of PMBOK project method over Agile in this case.

Buh, B., Kovacic, A., & Stemberger, M. I. (2017). Critical success factors for different stages of business process management adoption – a case study. Economic Research-EkonomskaIstraživanja, 28(1), 243-258.
Lee, R. G., & Dale, B. G. (2019). Business process management: a review and evaluation. Business Process Journal, 4(3), 214-225.
Leung, N., Lau, S. & Lau, S. Y. (2019). A Study of Factors Influencing Green IT Practices, Buying and Subscription Behaviours of Computer and Mobile Devices, and Streaming Services. Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 11(1), 88-107.
Murugesan, S. (2018, January/February).Harnessing green IT: principles and practices, IT Professional.Project management assignmentIEEE Wilkinson , A., Hill, M. & Gollan, P. (2021). The sustainability debate.International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 21(12), 1492-1502
Weiss-Dagan, S., Ben-Porat, A., &Itzhaky, H. (2018).The contribution of role characteristics and supervisory functions to supervision effectiveness. Clinical Social Work Journal, 46(4), 341-349.


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