Analyzing Scope Creep

 

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During any particular project whether personal or professional, unanticipated issues may arise that could result in an increase in the scope of a project. For example, timelines may change or lengthen your duration of certain activities, both of which will directly impact your project’s schedule. In this week post, I will like to share a personal project in which I experienced scope creep. 

 

In my initial post for EDUC 6145, I shared my family experience with moving from a rental property to a property we purchase.  Because there were many planning and development mistakes from the beginning, the scope creep issues occurred in the very beginning stages of the “project.”  On the moving day, we didn’t have the necessary resources to carry the heavy furniture; therefore, we had to rent a dolly which was not accounted for in the budget. Then a critical step to contact the electricity company was missed caused a delay in the moving deadline and interrupted the schedule.

 

My family or the “stakeholder” didn’t take the issues very well. Because of the scope creep my husband had to take additional days off from work to finish moving, the budget increase because we had to rent the moving truck for extra days and recruit more manpower.

 

We are currently looking to move closer to our job, and I know I will have a better handle on the “project.”  I will ensure I have a schedule with the clear designated resource.  It will include important task, based on high-level priorities to lower level priorities.  I will communicate with my family the expectations and the timeline.  I will collaborate with my family and listen to any suggestion or feedback and incorporate any missed task.

 

Looking back, there are many things I could have done to manage these issues better and control the scope of the project.  It would have been very helpful to put together a work breakdown to ensure all the human resources were in place with the proper resources.  A good breakdown of support, communication plan, accountability matrix, resource allocation, and identify the key stakeholder would have made the “project” successful, on-time and within the budget allocated. The project manager must faithfully monitor and control the constraints of scope, time and resources for a project to be successful (Lynch & Roecker, 2007).

 

 

 

References:

 

Lynch, M. M., & Roecker, J. (2007). Project managing e-learning: A handbook for successful design, delivery, and management. London: Routledge.

 

Portney, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., & Sutton, M. M. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 

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Project Schedule and Estimating Activity Duration

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This week our task is to locate useful resources that will be helpful in estimating costs, time and/or activity length associated with Project manager instructional design projects. After searching online for different resources for estimating project cost and budgeting. I found Microsoft project which had great tips on how to prepare a budget. There five simple steps to follow to prepared your project. It would be one of the tools I think I will use to prepared by budget because it breaks down the budget by pay rate, cost per use, fixed costs, task and resources.

Microsoft Project: https://products.office.com/en-US/project?legRedir=true&CorrelationId=5fad7593-d2c9-409e-b1c5-b0ac162019d1

The second resource I found is Wrike. Wrike is an online tool for project management and work collaboration. Wrike incorporates, task management, interactive Gantt chart, workload management, time-tracker, email integration, custom Fields, iPhone and Android apps, customized reports, Discussions, real-time newsfeed, document collaboration, box, dropbox, and Google Drive integration. It’s a great tool that can help the PM bridged the gap from project planning and actual work. With Wrike integrated tools it could help you to easily handle and monitor projects, tasks, deadlines, and other schedules.

Wrike: https://try.wrike.com/all-in-one-collaboration-and-project-management-us-vb/?ga_campaign=%28roi%29%20branded%20-%20us&ga_adgroup=wrike&ga_adgroup=Wrike&ga_keyword=wrike%3Fga_campaign%3D%28ROI%29%20Branded%20-%20US&ga_keyword=wrike&gclid=CNvtxe7b8dECFdQ6gQodCFYKIA

ProjectManager.com an online platform that features project tools like Gantt Charts, time sheets, resource tracking, task tracking, real-time dashboards, and collaboration features. The online and the mobile app are geared for all levels of users.

Project Manager: https://www.projectmanager.com/

The last resources I want to share is Bright Hub. This site gives methods for organizing your financial plan and templates to help facilitate the life of the project manager. The template that is given appears to be exceptionally essential and simple to utilize. They also given tips on what ought to be included and not into the budget. This is a great starting point for any project manager.

Bright hub: http://www.brighthubpm.com/

Resources:

Microsoft Project. (n.d). Retrieved February 02,2017, from : https://products.office.com/en-US/project?legRedir=true&CorrelationId=5fad7593-d2c9-409e-b1c5-b0ac162019d1

Wrike. (n.d). Retrieved February 02,2017, from https://try.wrike.com/all-in-one-collaboration-and-project-management-us-vb/?ga_campaign=%28roi%29%20branded%20-%20us&ga_adgroup=wrike&ga_adgroup=Wrike&ga_keyword=wrike%3Fga_campaign%3D%28ROI%29%20Branded%20-%20US&ga_keyword=wrike&gclid=CNvtxe7b8dECFdQ6gQodCFYKIA

Project Manager. (n.d). Retrieved February 02,2017, from https://www.projectmanager.com/

Bright Hub Education. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2017, from http://www.brighthubpm.com/

Communicating Effectively

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To communicate effectively, you need to be aware that communication is not just exchanging information. You also need to consider the emotion and intentions under the information. Effective communication is not just how you deliver the message. It is also how the message is received and understood by the person precisely the way you intended. Also how you hear the meaning of what is said and how you let the other person know that you heard and understood. Therefore, a project manager should be able to communicate effectively with all the project members because it is essential for a project’s success.

For this week’s assignment, we had to view a multimedia program about “The Art of Effective Communication” and reflect on a coworker message received in three different modalities. Email, voicemail and in person. The first message received was in an email format. The email sent by Jane was clear and straightforward.   She was following up on a missing report Mark needed to send her because it had data she needs to finish her report before the deadline. The email had a sense of urgency, but in a professional manner and clearly stating that she was aware of his other responsibilities which might have prevented him from sending the missing report.

The second message delivered in a voicemail format. In the voicemail message Jane’s voice came across as a being annoyed, and you could also hear her frustration. Besides, you could hear and feel the urgency in her voice. Although you hear her say I know you are in a meeting and perhaps busy, what I heard was I don’t care, I need this data now to finish my report because thanks to you know I might miss my deadline.

The final message was delivered in a face-to-face format. In this delivery format, you could see Jane facial expression and see that she is not annoyed, but that she is just in need of the data to deliver her report on time. You can see that she didn’t want to bother him, but she needs just the data that he could perhaps share immediately instead of the full report.

In my opinion, the voicemail and face to face format had the best communication approach. Maybe in the message, Jane could have asked Mark to call her back. My reasoning is that Mark could respond and deliver the data needed in the email as well as handed her the report during the face to face meeting. Stolovitch states that communication is not just words. Effective communication is influenced by spirit and attitude, tonality and body language, timing and the personality of the recipient. (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). “Effective communication is the glue that helps you deepen your connections to others and improve teamwork, decision-making, and problem-solving. It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust.” (Robinson, Segal, & Smith, December 2016).

References:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Robinson, L., Segal, J. & Smith, M. (December 2016), Effective Communication: Improving Communication Skills in Your Work and Personal Relationships. Retrieved from: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/effective-communication.htm

Learning from a “Project Post-mortem

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Learning from a “Project post-mortem.”

When my family relocated to Florida, we lived with my parents for several months.  After almost six months we decided to rent a house for a year.  After renting for one year, we finally decided to purchase a home.  It was exciting to do all the planning and to organize all the details. Planning, organizing, and controlling are three main components of a project manager’s job (Portney et al., 2008, pp. 3-4).  I made a list of everything we needed to do to including the time, and the budget.  Since we were moving across town, we decided to do it ourselves.  This was my first mistake, besides, to doing everything on my own without assigning a role to any of my family members.

The day of the moving came, and we quickly realize we needed help with carrying the heavy furniture; therefore we had to rent a dolly which was not accounted for in the budget. Then because we didn’t recruit any help, it was late at night, and I realize I never contacted the electricity company to have new services install in our new home.  Because of this oversight, we didn’t have any light and couldn’t continue to move.  Therefore, we now have to rent the truck for another day, and on top of that, we had to stay with my mother for a couple of night because we didn’t anticipate this change and we didn’t allow ourselves and overlap in the lease. I should have thought about moving earlier before our lease was up at least a couple of days to spare the stress of an overnight move.

A big mistake on my part and it is something that I have learned from.  If in the future we decide to move again, I would guarantee that mistake would not happen and I will always give ourselves some overlap time for any potential problems.

As the project manager for our moving, I felt like I didn’t deliver.  There were many planning and development mistakes.  I was doing everything on my own and lacked communication with “stakeholders” such as the electric company, cable company and to recruit resources to help with the moving.  I learned that communicating, brainstorming, and collaborating are vital to a successful project (Murphy, 1994).  This is why I failed in this project as a PM.  Besides, I did not provide clear expectations or provided clear roles and responsibilities to each of my team (Murphy, 1994) or family members. To be a successful PM, you need to be clear and make each member responsible.

Although there were bumps along the way, in the end, we were able to get everything done.  Perhaps not on time or within the budget but it was a great learning experience.  I had an excellent organization skill and organized the delivery of new furniture on time and kept everything else running smoothly by using a to-do list which helped me get everything else done on time.  The to-do list helped me to keep organized and have all the necessary information needed to get the rest of the job done.  It helped me to track the budget. All of this experience with this project has helped me learn to “build in time and money to deal with” (Laureate Education, Inc. n.d) scope creep.  It has taught me that the key to a successful project is communication and working together as a team. Lastly, the project manager has to be organized, reliable, understanding, a great communicator, and above all make sure that the PM distributes and clarifies the roles and responsibilities for each group member accordingly.

References

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Murphy, C. (1994). Utilizing project management techniques in the design of instructional materials. Performance & Instruction, 33(3), 9–11. Copyright by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Used by permission via the Copyright Clearance Center Required Media.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Project Management Course

Hello and welcome!

For the next 8 weeks I will be posted information for the Project Management course.  In this course, I will learn and explore the systematic approaches to project management and learn how to use different project management tools, which I would apply to projects in a real-world education or training environment. Also analyze the interrelated nature of the triple constraints of time, cost, and scope as well as their influence on the overall quality of the project.

Converting to Blended Learning

There are many types of online formats. However, the main ones are online, blended also called hybrid, and web-facilitated. A distance learning course content is at least 80% delivered online (Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek, 2015). While blended or hybrid course will vary by need but is typically between 30%-79% facilitated online. More information on blended courses will be available in this manual. Lastly, a web-facilitated course is when web-based technology is used, but only about 29% of the course content is delivered online (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). A blended learning format is a substitute to the traditional face-to-face classroom. It combines online learning and face-to-face classroom environments. A successful learning system provides a learning environment where student interact with each other and are able to reach the learning outcome. With careful planning is where this type of environment student learning is achieved (Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek, 2015). This guide has been developed to assist the trainer in adapting part of the face-to-face course to a blended training module that includes delivering the content online.

converting-to-blended-learning

References:

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.) Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.