In 2012, while attending teachers’ college in Jamaica, being a part of a small class of 11 emerging teachers; we were assigned a project on to plan a seminar surrounding Web 2.0 tools and the benefits and impact they have on education as a final course project. I was assigned the role of the group leader, which would be slightly considered as the Project Manager (PM). This assignment required a lot of planning, as we were required to conduct a research, develop presentations and present our findings to the first-year students as well as invited guests from other schools.
We were given two weeks to prepare for this project, which was a major challenge as we battled several other courses and coursework. Without having any project management knowledge, as a group, we did very well with the time constraints we had and the planning and organization that went into the project.
Without knowing we utilized most of the strategies postulated by Michael Greer (2010) in the “10 Steps to Project Success”. These are strategies recommended to improve a project, making it more organized and to be overall successful.
Step 1. Determine Project Scope
Even though this project was a part of our course work, we were given approval by our lecturer. Bearing in mind that we had to cater to guests from outside the college, we had to seek approval from the President’s office to utilize the main auditorium to accommodate or guests.
Step 2: Get your team together and start the project
Since we were a small class we got together, spill the class in 3 groups, each group was assigned a specific set of Web 2.0 tools to present on in their designated booths for guests to do more in-depth queries about those tools and “I” the group leader would play the role of a guest speaker to give a general presentation of the uses and benefits of these tools in the classroom.
Step 3: Figure out exactly what the finish products will be.
At this stage, we had the goal in mind, what we wanted our seminar to be like but these plans were not penned. The was no Work Breakdown Structure as was suggested by Greer (2010). However, we had a clear vision of the project outcome.
Step 4: Figure out what you need to do to complete the work products (identify tasks and phases).
To complete this phase, after being assigned tasks from step 2, groups started conducted their research on the various tools that they would be discussing at their specific booths.
Step 5: Estimate time, effort, and resources.
Time was a big factor with this project, but it had to be done. So, to accommodate our guests in a seminar-style setting, individual we contributed money for the purchasing of refreshments and hors d’oeuvres. Identify the equipment that we will need to produce an effective presentation and seminar.
Step 6: Build a schedule.
In order to remain timely and have the project ready, we made an outline for all the groups to produce their research by a specific time so that we could meet all together to go through and peer review the information found and select what should be presented and what should be eliminated. As included in the schedule, was the preparation of the auditorium where the seminar will be held. This part of the project was very successful, as each group met their deadlines and presented very useful findings, send out invitations, receive invitations, tally guest counts and also a final run through or evaluation before the scheduled date.
Step 7: Estimate the costs.
Since this was a course project it was expected that the project would not cost anything out of pocket, but after going through the scope of the project and the desired outcome, we realized that at this point we will have put forth some funds that would include the cost of refreshments and the cost of printing flyers and handouts, which was not a lot but had to be factored in.
Step 8: Keep the project moving
The project went according to the initial plans, each group was on time with their pieces and the location was secured and reserved for the scheduled date.
Step 9: Handle scope changes.
There were no changes to the project, everything went according to the plan
Step 10: Close out phases, close out the project.
At this point we met with our lecturer made a run through of the project and gained approval.
Even though this project worked out according to plan, at no phase in this project we had knowledge that we were utilizing these strategies, but reflecting upon the project and the activities that transpired it was evident that we were on the right track. Knowing these strategies prior, could have done an even better job at formulating and hosting a better seminar.
Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.
Adrian A Weir