Analyzing Scope creep

Up to the start of this course, I had looked at projects from a very different perspective. Earlier this year my family and I decided to complete a family house that we had held back for a long time since we diverted our finances into other needy projects. My wife was very passionate about it, she talked of the kitchen and the master bedroom all through. I was engaged from the word go and though I wanted this project behind us, I was mindful of the finances and the need to plan ahead.Once the finances were in place we put together a team to go along with. We first engaged the professionals who advised on what needed to be done and when ways and procedures at minimal cost. We later gathered the team that was to be on site every day to ensure that all that needed to be done is handled at the required time and at minimal cost. I took time to generally oversee the project when I had time from my busy schedule. At first ,it was quite interesting since there were minimal tasks been handled at any one time. A phone call was good enough to follow through on the activities of the day. I took time every evening to inspect the work and give a feedback to my wife and our two children. Everything changed when the number of tasks needed to be handled increased a hundred fold and the number of men needed to be managed rose significantly.

We had a well laid down schedule to manage tasks and events. This worked well when what was on paper was similar to what was on the ground. With time this changed a lot. Materials needed to be increased beyond what the quantity surveyor had projected. Constant phone calls to him did not help since he kept mentioning ‘estimates’. The team we had put together started getting overwhelmed and made decisions without consulting. I totally failed to identify the risk factors that threatened the very existence of the project. I learned that I should have learned from previous projects on the same to minimize scope creep Portny et al ( 2008) sums this up when they write “Risk management is the process of identifying possible risks, assessing their potential impact on the project, and developing and implementing plans for minimizing their negative effects”

I had to go back to the drawing board in the cause of the project to limit the negative effects that threatened the project. The following are the steps I took:

  1. I did background checks and read on how to manage people, schedules, and materials. I found a number of articles that gave some insight on how best to handle each aspect of the project.
  2. I engaged stakeholders more through frequent roundtable meeting to iron out the scope creep that arose (Laureate Education, Inc.)
  3. I scheduled all activities to be carried out including their costs and the lead person in each activity.

Having gone through this course I can see the obvious difference it makes even for personal projects like my construction one. The timing for my project and this particular course has been a great help. My wife is now running it using the schedule and activities set aside every day. This is saving us time and money. We are looking forward to occupying the house in two week time!

Reference

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.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Creating a resource allocation plan    [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

 

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Project Schedule and Estimating Activity Duration

Project Schedule and Estimating Activity Duration

I took time this week to research on different websites on various resources one can use in the scheduling process in project management. Most of the resources I came across, were based on what had been tried and tested and mainly what has worked over time

Usmani F (2012) gives a good summary of the resources used to quicken the process and also bring about accuracy in this process. He identifies the following resources that will be useful in this process:

 

Analogous Estimating

Parametric Estimating

Three Point Estimates

 

The first two resources are analogy as the name suggests and are based on looking at what has been testing in similar projects previously undertaken. For instance, if one is scheduling a learning project, then he or she needs read on schedules of such projects and adopt such tools in the current project. I so doing one does not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to this process. I found these resources quite useful since they will obviously be easy to effect and employ. However, I zeroed down to the third resource since I found it to be quite effective in its approach, The Three Point Estimates.

Three Point Estimates

This resource is also referred to PERT (Program Evolution and Review Technique), comesI first came across it when researching on my discussion for the week. Hazem (2015) mentions it in the blog “Project Schedule Challenges” here the writer identifies it as a tool to meet the challenges that come with scheduling. What makes this resource worth using is that it looks broadly at the negative and positive thoughts on the schedule and strives to come up with a formula that can be used. The following variables are identified by the resource:

 

Most Likely (Tm): This is the time taken by an activity to finish it in most cases

Optimistic (To): This is the time taken by an activity to finish it in the most favorable case

Pessimistic (Tp): This is the time taken by an activity to finish it in the worst case scenario

With this in mind then a formula that weighs all these in is arrived at:

 

Te = (To + 4Tm + Tp)/6

 

Usmani F (2012) identifies the following advantages come with this resource:

  1. It uses three estimates (most likely, optimistic, and pessimistic) to calculate the average value of activity duration
  2. It reduces the bias, risks and uncertaintiesfrom the duration calculation
  3. It is more information accurate than the rest

The following are the Blog comments left behind by some of the bloggers

“Thanks for contribution such helpful information. The information provided is very nice and this is not available so easily. Therefore I thank the writer for the useful input.”

Edward (2012)

 

“The writer, Fahad Usmani, knows his/her job. The information is so accurate and easy to read and understand. Thank you very much. You helped me a lot with your unique information.”

Doyoyo A. (2015)

 

Reference

Abdulmunem Hezam(2015)  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/project-schedule-challenges-abdul-hezam

http://www.cogta.gov.za/mig/toolkit/TOOLBOX/PM/Planning%20and%20Scheduling.pdf

Usmani F (2012) https://pmstudycircle.com/2012/06/three-tools-estimate-activity-duration/

 

Blog Assignment: Project Schedule and Estimating Activity Duration

Please find attached the links to my assignment

Abdulmunem Hezam(2015)  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/project-schedule-challenges-abdul-hezam

http://www.cogta.gov.za/mig/toolkit/TOOLBOX/PM/Planning%20and%20Scheduling.pdf

Usmani F (2012) https://pmstudycircle.com/2012/06/three-tools-estimate-activity-duration/

 

 

Effective communication

Communicating Effectively

Choice of which media one uses to communicate has a bearing on the effectiveness of this message to the recipient. The choice of the media must among other factors understand the characteristics of the recipient.  In our case the stakeholders.   The choice has been greatly influenced by time and season.  What seemed effective a few years ago is today ineffective and old fashioned and not considered a worthwhile media.  “The Act of Effective Communication”(laureate-media.com) presents us with three media options namely email, voice mail and face to face all bearing the same message.

 

How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next?

Email to Mark from Jane presented an effective way of passing the message.  It was short and simple and drove the point home.  Mark was expected to give a quick answer.  The email as a means of delivery, in this case, lacked human emotions, one cannot gauge the emotional state of the sender and whether the message has the support it needs to have as carried out in the message.

 

The voice mail brings in a human touch to the conversation since the voice connects the sender and the receiver of the message.  However, since it is difficult to chunk the message, it is overloaded which may affect the decoding of the message.  Destructions in the background as the sender speaks may have affected how the receiver perceives the message.  Due to the overload, it may be difficult to remember all that was spoken. The face to face like the voicemail puts a human face to the message.  One can hear and see the urgency of the message and why the receiver needs to act quickly.  There is less distraction as compared to voicemail and minimal overload.

 

What factors influenced how you perceived the message?

My learning style influenced how I perceived the message, being a visual learner, I was quick to get the message on email and on face to face than I did on voicemail.  The voicemail brought an overload that was difficult to interpret.  What do I do first?  The sequence of events to allow chunking also influenced how I perceived.  In the face to face and email, the chunking was quite clear.  That was not the case on voice mail.  I also prefer text messaging to voice call my attitude towards voicemail is negatively skewed, I was, therefore,

able to read and talk rather than listen to voice mail.

Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message?

Face to face communicated most.  The fact that I was able to see and hear together, made me decode the message better. A human face and feelings that show emotions made the urgency look and sound real.  Through the emotions shown and varying tonal voice, I was able to decode and see the seriousness and urgency that came with the message.  I found face to face less distractive as compared to the other ways of encoding the message used, there was also minimal overload.

 

What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team

I believe it is important to understand the learning styles of the stakeholders in a project team.  This will influence how you communicate with them.  For audio learners voicemail will be quite effective to communicate, you can call them talk to them.  I also learned that despite what you pick as the channel to communicate always document it.  It is easy to fall back to this when determining whether you communicate effectively or not.

 

References

http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6145/03/mm/aoc/index.html

 

http://www.pmchampion.com/blog/pdu-ideas/effective-email-communications/

 

Fitting the Pieces together

HAS YOUR VIEW ON WHAT AND  HOW YOU LEARN CHANGED?

The last seven weeks have changed the way I learn and perceive learning.  As a school teacher, I have found fundamental changes not only in the way I learn but also in the way I instruct.  Most important of all, the learning theories and strategies have enabled me to modify my teaching and learning as well identify better ways of address some of the challenges I have faced in the past.

In the first week of this course, on the question on learning style, I identified cognitive constructivism as my main way of learning.  Though I still have this as my dominant learning style (since my personality has not change), I have opened myself up to understand other ways in which I can learn. I have recently found Connectivism to be a wonderful way to learn

I must admit that some of the learning strategies were new.  It is the first time that I had to seriously look at blogs as learning instruments.

What have I learned from learning theories and styles?

From the reading and discussions in the last few weeks, I have learned to use a number of learning theories and styles.  Having gone through the theories throughout the course, it’s my believe that learning is multi phased in the sense I can learn using a number of strategies.

Blogs, diagrams and audios (from Walden and You tube) are some of these media just to mention a few, that I have found helpful.  I have also learned that learning should be tailored according to ones learning style, visual learners cannot learn like audio learners.

My reading on Howard Gardener multiple intelligence theory revealed that my intelligence is broad though it is more inclined towards mathematics.

Technology plays a big role in my learning.  First technology has made it easy to gather information, besides turning pages in a book; it is possible to gather new knowledge by scrolling through web pages.

Technology has also opened me up to express my thoughts through discussions, chats and blogs.  It is easier to communicate with others share ideas and enrich my thought process.

In conclusion, learning theories handled in this course has opened me up to accommodate more and better ways of learning.

Reference

Mind map and connectivism

Featured image

Connectivism has revolutionized how learning takes place.  Connectivism is more than a learning theory. It is more a way of life Siemens (2012) in his blog notes “A central tenet of most learning theories is that learning occurs in a person”.  “In a networked world…..” Siemens points that learning theories do not address “learning that occurs outside of people”.

Connectivism, according to Siemens “is application of network principle to define both knowledge and the process of learning”.

How has your network changed the way you learn?

Initially learning was limited to “hard copies of everything from books to journal, newspaper and magazines.  This has totally changed in the way I learn after bringing in technological gadgets and various networks.  Today knowledge is at my fingertips, I can goggle from my phone to find any new information I need.  Internet has totally changed how I gather and acquire knowledge.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning to you?

Social media:-  I use linked in ,Facebook and twitter to invite friends to contribute to a given discussion.  I recently posted a question on my Facebook page; I received numerous suggestions from those who visited my page.

You tube:- You tube gives visual interpretations to questions you may pose.

Google search:-  This has been my main source of search on given areas and topics.

Wikipedia:- This given detailed accounts to subject areas of interest especially for the course.

Blogs: – Readers in blogs e.g. word press reader has opened a new world of knowledge.  Discussions in blogs have helped to increase perspectives in various areas of learning.

How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?

I mainly do a goggle search to find answers to my questions.  I also post question on Facebook for direction in given areas.

In which ways does your personal learning network support or refute he central tenets of Connectivism.

My personal learning network enables me to gather information needed to address a given area of learning.  This gathering involves bringing bits and pieces of information together with I later synthesis and in so doing arrive at a given conclusion.

However personal learning network has had a number of draw backs one of them been reduced dependency on ‘hard copies’ from books of journals.  This in a way has reduced my interest in reading, books journals and magazines

Use of networks has also reduced my physical interpersonal relations since I do not have to have friends to be physically present so as to gather only information I may need from them.  The phone, social media does it all.

In conclusion Connectivism opens up learning to a brighter and better future.  It will be interesting to see how far we can go from the ‘hard copy days’ to the future.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connectivism

instructional design

“Don’t define what you know by what others give you” is a tweet that Hei learning a blogger in my blog came across. The tract was in context of a science conference that was about grading in the school system. The aim was to look for ways and means of raising pupils grades in the school context.

Hei learning protests against the use of power point e learning forced down the throat of teachers so as to help up the grades. I totally agree that ICT in the context of the class should be a national process where the teacher chooses various multimedia so as to meet the needed goals. Choice of the mode and means of instruction should be shaped up by the content to be covered.

A power point presentation in the above case should be visual and audio to support both the visual and auditing learner. What about an interactive board? This would help to make learning more involving to the learners and create curiosity which leads to further seeking knowledge.

The use of ‘traditional’ methods of teaching where learners are turned into robots has since been overtaken by time. Hei learning draws the parents in the learning process. He suggests of the internet is a wonderful suggestion. Early last month, I emailed parents in my class various websites they would visit to help pupils work on a given project. Though there was some resistance, most parents took it upon themselves to assist their sons and daughters complete the tasks given.

As an instructional designer my work is clearly cut out in looking at content to be covered or tasks to be undertaken and formulate ways in which it can be handled best. I totally agree in H learning (blogger), build a bank of visuals and templates in order to make instruction an enjoyable process.

Though technology seems to be capturing our every way of life, there is need to filter what goes into the classroom. ICFD voices (follow on any blog) narrate her element on learning new ways to bring together what initially did in stages. How far we can invite technology into the classroom may lead to loss of the human touch in the lesson such as question and answer.

Moolisa’s Musings a follower on my blog brings in technology in the classroom in a wonderful way. By suing a single page, she was able to create an audio visual page on an interactive PDF. It is however difficult to cater for the needs of both visual and auditory learners in a single document. Care should have been taken to separate the two to cater for pupils individual difference.