Category Archives: Uncategorized

Scope Creep

Birthday Boy and Pinata

It was my husband’s birthday and we had planned a simple, but fun party.  My first phase of planning this party was to define the scope, which is the boundary of what is included and excluded in the project (Gurlen, 2003). The scope of this project (i.e. birthday party) was as follows:

What project includes:

  1. There will be a theme for the party. It is a Mexican theme.
  2. There will be Mexican food, in keeping with the theme. The food will consist of one main dish and two side dishes.
  3. There will be some specific, pre-purchased decorations
  4. There will be a piñata at the end for the guests to break.

What the project will not include:

  1. There will be no alcoholic drinks.
  2. There will be no “goodie” bags.
  3. There will be no live bands.

What specific scope creep issues occurred?

I had communicated with my “helpers” to keep them in the loop of planning the party (Laureate Inc. a, n.d.).  Everyone had been assigned their tasks and knew what to do.  I had created a schedule to help me map out activities and allocate resources (Mindtools, n.d.).  While looking around the party area, I decided that there were not enough decorations and sent my sister out to buy some more.  This is the scope creep number one.  Since my sister already had a task assigned to her, sending her to the store disrupted her timeline and caused a ripple across the project step of preparing for the party.  She was involved with the food preparation; unfortunately, it was a dish only she knew how to cook. So, to make up for this, I changed out the dishes for the party.  This new dish required different ingredients and some extra prep.  Scope creep number two.  When my sister returned with the new decorations, we discovered that they were a little more complex than just hanging up with tape.  This now meant extra effort was diverted to put up the new decorations. Scope creep number three.

How did you or other stakeholders deal with those issues at the time?

Although it sounds comical now, it was quite stressful back then.  With just two hours before guests were scheduled to arrive, the decorations were still not complete and the food was not close to being ready.  Since this was a problem that I could not solve alone (although I had pretty much created it), I did what Dr. Stolovitch recommends in this situation, and conferred with my team (Laureate Inc. a, n.d.).  We devised a new plan and brought in extra resources.  The birthday boy himself was made to hang decorations, which freed up my sister to help with the cooking.

Looking back on the experience now, had you been in the position of managing the project, what could you have done to better manage these issues and control the scope of the project?

Of course, looking back now it seems clear that if I had not decided to change decorations, the birthday party preparations may have been a lot smoother.  To avoid making that decision, I could have checked the decorations earlier, or consulted with my team to get their feedback prior to the day.  Also, I could have designated some responsibility to other team members (Laureate Inc. b, n.d.) so that impacts to the timeline could be compartmentalized.    Finally, in order to control the scope in general, I should have involved team members more in the decision making process.  Their feedback could have acted as a gate to incurring scope creep.

References:

Gurlen, S. (2003). Scope creep.  Retrieved from http://www.umsl.edu/~sauterv/analysis/6840_f03_papers/gurlen/

Laureate Inc. a (n.d.). Monitoring projects. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6051999&Survey=1&47=7229053&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Laureate Inc. b (n.d.). Project management concerns: Locating resources.  Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6051999&Survey=1&47=7229053&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Mindtools (n.d.). Project schedule development.  Retrieved from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_71.htm

Tools to help the PM Schedule Time and Resources

https://www.smartsheet.com/b/home

password: yb1115

This tool is an excel template for a Gantt chart, which is  useful project scheduling tool that makes the progress and assigned tasks easy for all team members to see (Greer, 2010).  This chart lists all tasks and their duration for the entire project.  Since it provides a method to see all tasks with relation to each other, this is a great tool to estimate duration, and eventually cost, of a project.

Although it’s not difficult to create a Gantt chart in Excel, it can be tedious.  I found the template easy to use and I enjoyed the instant formatting.  I also liked entering just one date for the first task, and the rest of the dates were changed automatically. Of course, I could still go in and make changes as I saw fit for my project.  A screen shot is below, or you can use the link and password above to try it for yourself.

 

 

Download here: http://www.pmtoolbox.com/project-management-templates/project-earned-value-analysis-template.html

As a project proceeds, the landscape of the project may change, and the PM must adapt the project accordingly (Laureate Inc., n.d.). This can affect the timeline, and ultimately the cost of the project.  Although the PM will have a better idea of the estimated costs as the project goes on (Portny et al., 2008), recalculating spending and budget is still required.  The Project-earned-value-analysis template shown below is a useful tool to keep track of the changes in cost and the impact these changes will have to the bottom line.  The spreadsheet allows the user to see the earned value analysis of a project which “is an early warning program/project management tool that enables managers to identify and control problems” (Project Management Resources, n.d.).  The user enters the cost for planned activities, the projected percentage of completion on a certain date, and the actual completion percentage.  From these values, the following information is calculated (Project Management Resources, n.d.):

 

  • Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS) or Planned Value (PV) : The sum ofbudgets for all work packages scheduled to be accomplished within a given timeperiod.
  • Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP) or Earned Value (EV) : The sum ofbudgets for completed work packages and completed portions of open workpackages.
  • Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP) or Actual Cost (AC) : The actual costincurred in accomplishing the work performed within a given time period. Forequitable comparison, ACWP is only recorded for the work performed to date againsttasks for which a BCWP is also reported.

 

 

This tool can help a PM see where the budget is deviating from expected, and they can correct accordingly.

 

 

Easy Project Plan

Download from: http://www.allpm.com/index.php?name=Downloads&req=viewdownload&cid=2

Yet another Excel template, this tool helps the PM and team members map out each stage of their project.  Where a Gantt chart is more of a visual representation of project activities and schedule, this template reminds stakeholders of all the steps that must be taken.  This template would be a great help when creating the Gantt chart entries.  I liked that the first 19 rows could actually be used as a roadmap for any project since it involved tracking such steps as holding the kickoff meeting, developing a WBS, and developing the scope of the project.  Skipping these steps can be detrimental to the project further down the road (Portny et al., 2008).

I would use this tool with my team members to dive into the nitty gritty of the project, assign a start and finish date and an owner for each step.

 

 

References:

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

Project Management Resources (n.d.). Project earned value analysis template. Retrieved from http://www.pmtoolbox.com/project-management-templates/project-earned-value-analysis-template.html

How You Say it Counts

Communicating is so much more than words, as Dr. Stolovitch (Laureate Inc. a, n.d.) tells us in his video cast this week.  He goes on to add that body language, tone, and timing are also important.  These items are received differently depending on the modality in which they are delivered. 

In our assignment this week, we interpret the same message delivered three different ways – email, voicemail, and in person (Laureate Inc. b, n.d.).  Click here to access the modalities.

Interpretation of email:

Jane’s email to Mark is professional, yet casual in tone so it does not come off as pushy or demanding.  She also shows consideration of Mark’s time.  She explains the urgency of obtaining the information from Mark and finishes the email acknowledging Mark’s help. 

Interpretation of voicemail:

Again, Jane’s tone is professional, yet urgent.  Although she remains pleasant throughout, I thought her tone at one time does seem to get a little more aggressive, or at least more pressing as she describes the urgency with which she needs the information from Mark .  However, she wraps up the voice mail again with acknowledgement and thanks to Mark. 

Interpretation of F2F communication:

Jane remains as pleasant and professional when speaking directly to Mark.  I do think that she is almost apologetic in her tone, as though she is very sorry that she must ask Mark for something because he is too busy.  She smiles while she explains the situation, but she waves her hand and looks down and away occasionally – as if to formulate or remember what she is going to say. If I were Mark, I would wonder if the urgency is authentic, or an excuse Jane is using to get the information faster.

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

I found all the forms of communication to convey Jane’s message in a professional and courteous manner.  In each communiqué, she presented her need for the data in a manner that suggested urgency without being pushy.  I did not detect a huge difference in intent between the different methods, but I would rate her in person message the least effective. 

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

Since I did not find much difference between the messages, I would infer that being professional despite the modality is important.  Jane included all the necessary elements of communication as listed by Dr. Stolovitch (Laureate Inc. b, n.d.): state purpose, state situation, state solutions, however, she did not include a time frame or deadline for Mark to deliver the data.  We should be specific with team members and include “time frames” (Portny et al., 2008) when communicating the need for results or action.  

References:

Laureate Inc. a (n.d.).  Communicating with Stakeholders. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6051999&Survey=1&47=7229053&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Laureate Inc., b (n.d.). The Art of Effective Communication. Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6145/03/mm/aoc/index.html

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.

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

Hello and Welcome to fellow 6145 Classmates

Hello cohorts of EDUC 6145,  thanks for visiting my blog.  Feel free to read my previous posts and leave a comment for me.  I’m looking forward to learning all about Project Management and having more great discussions with everyone.

 

The Future of Distance Learning

              As our class draws to a close, it is time to look back and reflect upon what we have learned over the past eight weeks.  We started off the class by comparing our previous perceptions of distance learning to our current knowledge taken from the class so far.  As our final assignment, we are now going to consider perceptions of distance learning in the future, and how we can be its proponents.

What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5–10 years; 10–20 years)?

The face of distance learning just five years ago is vastly different from that of today’s environment.  Improvements in design, development, and delivery software,  increased Internet connectivity in most developed areas, and more devices that link up to the Web are rapidly re-shaping the landscape.  However, the improvements made in distance learning are separate from the perceptions of online learning.  These perceptions can only be changed for the positive by increased experience of this learning medium.  Dr. Siemen’s commented that society is beginning to trust online learning more due to the increased use of social media and communication (Laureate Inc., 2010).  I believe the next five years will continue in this trend, especially as instructional designers strive to incorporate popular technology into their courses.  I compare society’s perception of online learning to Tuckman’s stages of group dynamics: forming, storming, norming, and performing (1984).  I compare the forming stage to the 1990s when online courses made their mark as a new training solution (Philips, 2009).  I believe we are at the storming phase of the continuum since we have a better understanding of the needs of the learner, but are still trying to wrap our arms around all the possibilities offered by this medium.  I predict that about five years from now, we will be in the storming phase where we get the chance to find a balance with F2F, synchronous, and asynchronous interaction. We will now be at the phase where we can “bridge the comfort gap” (Laureate Inc., 2010) of technology. I base this assumption on the fact that we IDs will have been systematically making online learning “more friendly” by incorporating much of the current technology trends into our courses. This will, in turn, encourage others to participate in online learning with less trepidation.  During this time, Web 2.0 tools will drive collaboration in the workplace (NMC, 2011)and will be one of the most promising models of co-operation to adopt. 

          As online learning morphs from an unknown to a more familiar entity, I predict another change of perception will occur in the next ten years.  This change will occur because an advanced degree is becoming more important in securing a job or promotion.  Most of those wishing a promotion will already have a job.  Distance learning will be recognized as a good solution to obtaining an advanced degree without having to take time off or out of busy schedules.   Businesses will also start to recognize the cost and time effectiveness of online learning.  During this time, the perception of online learning will be that it is convenient and cost effective.  Along the continuum of the next five to ten years, we will continue to adapt existing technology into the framework of our courses to enhance their functionality and improve their stickiness.  Towards the end of the ten year span, many more millenials, those born between 1997 and 1995 (Tilin, 2008), will be ready to start college or get a job. Since millenials cannot envision a world without technology, distance learning will get improved credibility by default.  In 20 years from now, the millenials will be in charge and technology will be of utmost importance.  At this point, the perception of distance learning will be so commonplace that it will be like any other traditional class. 

How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning and how will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?

          As an instructional designer, I can showcase my designs in an engaging way each time I make a course.  This would show the online content in a good light, improving societal perception of distance learning. I can also include activities and events that keep the learners’ interest so that they don’t consider online learning to be simply watching a PowerPoint presentation.   I can work harder to define my audience and their situations and environments so that when I design an online course, each student will have an optimum learning experience that is appropriate for them (Laureate, 2010).  This will improve the perception because students will find the course fits their needs and so addresses any concerns that the material may not be relevant.  I can also watch the trends of popular technology to absorb into my courses to increase the comfort level of students.

 

References

Laureate Inc. (2010). [Video]. The future of distance education. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5693697&Survey=1&47=7229053&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Philips, V. (2009).  What is distance learning and why has it become so popular?  Retrieved from http://knol.google.com/k/what-is-distance-learning-and-why-has-it-become-so-popular#Distance_Learning_History_(2D)_Nothing_So_New

Tilin, A. (2008, May).  What is a millenial? Retrieved from http://www.bnet.com/article/what-is-a-millennial/201716

Tuckman, B. (1965).  Developmental sequence in small groups .  Psychological Bulletin 63 (6): 384–99. doi:10.1037/h0022100

Conversion of F2F training to a blended format

Blended format learning involves the combination of asynchronous and synchronous events.  For the best practices guide developed here, the combination consists of F2F learning and online, asynchronous interactions.  The best practices guide will suggest a list of areas where the designer and trainer must focus in order to create more than just a lecture with an online PowerPoint presentation.  The areas discussed are: methods to encourage online collaboration and discussion, pre-planning strategies such as structuring of the course and the technology to deliver it, and the difference of roles of facilitator vs. trainer  and how to prepare for the shift.  A readiness check is included to help keep track of these items.

Access the guide here:  Best Practices Guide