Post-Mortem of a Failed Project, by Yuna Buhrman

After watching a home improvement show marathon on TV, I decided to build a padded and upholstered headboard for my room.  I picked a weekend day to do this so that my husband could look after our two children.  At the end of the day, we did indeed have a padded and upholstered headboard, but it was somehow higher than previously planned and the method to attach it to the bed also failed.  However, we propped it against the wall and tried to use it. Unfortunately, since the headboard was not attached to anything, it tended to move around when we leaned against it, and soon the padding sunk to the bottom.  I would deem this project a failure because we could not use the headboard and eventually had to dismantle it.

What contributed to the project’s failure?

In retrospect, there was really no way that this project could work.  The only things I had planned were the date that the activity would occur and who would look after the kids while I was handling a staple gun and other dangerous tools.  When defining a project, the background, scope, and strategy are identified (Portny et al., 2008).  I skipped these steps because my team consisted of myself and my husband and so I did not feel the need to create a formal strategy or write down a scope.  Since I did not complete these steps, I did not really know what the project entailed to get to completion.  This resulted in insufficient knowledge of supplies needed, and no real timeline or plan.  The failure of this project was directly related to the lack of planning.

Which parts of the PM process, if included, would have made the project more successful? Why?

I attribute the failure of this project to the complete lack of planning. The following steps would have contributed to accomplishing the task:

  1. Create a work breakdown structure and a scope.  A work breakdown consists of defining each major task within a project and then identifying what sub –steps must be performed to complete each major task (Laureate Inc., n.d.).   This would help me define the scope of the project and understand what I could accomplish in the day that I had set aside for this project. It would also have ensured that I had all the supplies needed in the correct quantities. A partial breakdown structure is shown below:

 

  1. A project plan. The project plan shows the time required to perform each sub task of the project (Reynolds, 2010).  This would have helped me immensely because I have a very limited amount of time (one day) to complete this project. Combining the information from the project scope, I could have mapped out the entire project and probably figured out that this was too big of an undertaking for just one day.

 

References:

Greer, 2010.  The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! Retrieved from

http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/courses/74759/CRS-CW-6051999/educ_6145_readings/pm-minimalist-ver-3-laureate.pdf

Laureate Inc. (n.d.). [Video]. Defining the scope of an ID project. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6051999&Survey=1&47=7229053&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

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.

Reynolds, D. (2010, June). Moving Into the Project Planning Stage.  Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/office/project-management/articles/1673.aspx

 

 

 


Turnitin Receipt:

paper title: Week 2 Blog

paper ID: 214068997

author: Buhrman, Yuna

Walden University M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology

Formative Evaluative Criteria for Application and Reflection Assignments

 

Quality of Work Submitted

 

Work reflects graduate-level critical, analytical thinking.

A: Exemplary Work

A = 4.00; A- = 3.75

 

 

All of the previous, in addition to the following:

B: Graduate Level Work

B+ = 3.50; B = 3.00;

B- = 2.75

All of the previous, in addition to the following:

C: Minimal Work

 

C+ = 2.50; C = 2.00;

C- = 1.75

F: Work Submitted but Unacceptable

F = 1.00

Assimilation and Synthesis of Ideas

 

The extent to which the work reflects the student’s ability to-

 

  1. Understand the assignment’s purpose;
  2. 2.     Apply  presented strategies
  3. Understand and apply readings, discussions, and course materials.

 

*When referencing web-based sources, an active hyperlink to the original source must be included (if applicable).

 

Demonstrates the ability intellectually to explore and/or implement key instructional concepts.

 

Demonstrates insightful reflection and/or critical thinking, as well as creativity and originality of ideas.

 

Demonstrates exceptional inclusion of major points, using creditable sources*, in addition to required readings and course materials.

 

* May include, but are not limited to, scholarly articles, web-based information, etc.

 

Demonstrates a clear understanding of the assignment’s purpose.

 

 

 

Provides careful consideration of key instructional concepts.

 

 

 

 

Includes specific information from required readings or course materials to support major points.

 

 

Shows some degree of understanding of the assignment’s purpose.

 

 

 

Generally applies theories, concepts, and/or strategies correctly, with ideas unclear and/or underdeveloped

 

Minimally includes specific information from required readings or course materials.

 

Shows a lack of understanding of the assignment’s purpose.

 

 

 

Does not apply theories, concepts, and/or strategies

 

 

 

 

Does not include specific information from creditable sources.

 

Adherence to Assignment Expectations

 

The extent to which work meets the assigned criteria and integrates technology appropriately.

Assignment meets all expectations,

integrating exemplary material and/or information.

 

Assignment demonstrates exceptional breadth and depth.

 

 

All parts of the assignment are completed, with fully developed topics.

 

The work is presented in a thorough and detailed manner.

 

Assignment demonstrates appropriate breadth and depth.

 

Assignment integrates technology appropriately.

Most parts of assignment are completed.

 

 

Topics are not fully developed.

 

 

Assignment   demonstrates minimal depth and breadth.

 

 

Some elements of technology are included.

Does not fulfill the expectations of the assignment.

 

 

Key components are not included.

 

 

Assignment lacks breadth and depth.

 

No technology integrated or integration method is inappropriate for application.

Written Expression and Formatting

 

The extent to which scholarly, critical, analytical writing is presented using Standard Edited English ( i.e. correct grammar, mechanics).

 

When referencing web-based sources, an active hyperlink to the original source must be included.

 

Stated fair-use, copyright, licensing, and/or creative commons guidelines should be followed for all web-based resources.

 

*APA formatting guidelines need only be followed if applicable to assignment.

 

 

 

Work is unified around a central purpose with well-developed ideas, logically organized in paragraph structure with clear transitions.

 

Effective sentence variety; clear, concise, and powerful expression are evident.

 

Work is written in Standard Edited English. No prominent errors interfere with reading.

 

All web-based sources are credited through embedded links.

 

Fair-use, copyright, licensing, and/or creative commons guidelines are followed.

 

*Represents scholarly writing in a correct APA format.

 

 

 

 

 

Ideas are clearly and concisely expressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elements of effective communication such as an introduction and  conclusion are included.

 

Work is written in Standard Edited English with few, if any, grammatical or mechanical errors.

 

Few, if any, errors in crediting web-based sources.

 

 

Few, if any, errors following fair-use, copyright, licensing, and/or creative commons guidelines.

 

*Work is well organized with correct APA formatting  throughout.

 

 

 

 

Ideas are not clearly and concisely expressed.

 

 

 

 

 

Elements of effective communication such as an introduction and  conclusion are not included.

 

Work contains more than a few grammatical, or mechanical errors.

 

 

Some web-based sources are not credited.

 

 

Some errors in following fair-use, copyright, licensing, and/or creative commons guidelines.

 

*Somewhat represents mature, scholarly, graduate-level writing, with APA generally followed.

 

 

 

Major points do not reflect appropriate elements of communication.  

 

 

 

 

No effort to express ideas clearly and concisely.

 

 

 

Work is not written in Standard Edited English. Contains many grammatical or mechanical errors

 

Web-based sources are not credited..

 

 

 

Fair-use, copyright, licensing, and/or creative commons guidelines are not followed.

 

* The quality of writing and/or APA formatting are not acceptable for graduate level work.

 

 

Final Assignment Grade

A: Exemplary Work

A = 4.00; A- = 3.75

B: Graduate Level Work

B+ = 3.50; B = 3.00;

B- = 2.75

C: Minimal Work

 

C+ = 2.50; C = 2.00;

C- = 1.75

F: Work Submitted but Unacceptable

F = 1.00

Advertisements

4 responses to “Post-Mortem of a Failed Project, by Yuna Buhrman

  1. I am impressed that you set out to accomplish such a task by yourself and in one day. I know that your husband was instrumental in watching the kids; therefore, functioned with a secondary responsibility (Greer, 2010) and could be classified as a team member. But the fact you didn’t need anyone to help cut the wood, hold one end as you fastened material to the other end is amazing.

    I do think as you moved from the conception phase to the define phase you may have been able to utilize the assistance of your husband to give input for the project. For example, if you did anticipate needing assistance holding one end as you fastened padding, etc. to the other end or checking height of the frame before you finished assembling you could have structured his responsibility in a way where input and assistance could be rendered(when the children took a nap you should be done with the frame and ready to test the frame against the bed with his help, etc.)

    Again, I think you should be proud that you set out to do something and accomplished it. As you now know how to utilize the skills as a PM I am sure the next project will be fabulous.

    Reference
    Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.

  2. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for your encouragement. I should point out that I had the wood precut at the hardware store where I bought it, so I cannot take credit for that. Also, I did need my husband’s help with the tools – I didn’t know where they were, LOL!

    I am glad I attempted this project as I do enjoy DIY things, but you’re right that next time, I will spend more upfront time making a plan instead of diving right in.

    Thanks for your comment
    Yuna

  3. Yuna,

    Loved your post! I have been on the “scratching my head” end of many home projects. In fact, whenever I am doing a home project, my family calls me Tim the Tool Man. Also, they post “911” memos and 1st Aid instructions around the house in case of emergencies. Once, they set up a “Watch Dad” watch bill to monitor me to ensure I didn’t destroy something.

    Oh yes, I have a very comical family.

    I like how you developed a flow chart to map out the process. I would have liked to see the whole process. Your display only depicts the acquisition of materials.

    You wrote, “In retrospect, there was really no way that this project could work”. If I may, I would disagree. Especially knowing what you know now, proper planning (which includes planning for intangibles and unknowns) would have made your project successful.

    Now that you have insights on project management, will you be attempting to make another head board?

    Rocky

  4. As a “Do it yourself-er” I know the frustrations of underestimating the potential setbacks of a project like building a headboard. As I read your story, I was nodding my head in empathy. Had we spoken about this project before you started, the advice I would have given would have been to speak with someone who had experience in this type of endeavor. Within the project management world, and this class, we would refer to that person as a SME. In week one of our class, Dr Stolovich mentioned the importance of a SME. He also mentioned four major points to remember.
    Two of them stand out as directly applying to your situation.
    1) The project timeline
    2) Consider the quality of the product and the process used to get there (Project management, N.D.).

    It seems like the only miscalculation you had was related to the time to completion.

    Robert

    Project management and instructional design, [Video Podcast]. (N.D.) [With Dr. Harold Stolovich] Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6051999&Survey=1&47=7412207&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s