Scoping out the Creep

June 13, 2013

I think sometimes I am my own worst enemy when it comes to project scope creep.  When I was taking a few teaching courses that seemed to be the most vivid recollection I had experiencing scope creep.  I developed lesson plans for mini lessons to teach elementary and middle school students.  I think my problem was that I wanted to include as many terms or visual examples to give the students as an enriching experience as possible and it was not only scope creep in the project preparation but information overload for the students that would lead to not retaining information in their long term memory.

The stakeholders were my students that I taught and my professors that taught my course.  My students were overwhelmed about all of the visuals and terminology that I presented to them so, they were unable to be engaged in my lesson.  My instructors gave me feedback to limit the variables of the lesson and choose a select amount of variables to limit scope creep.

I think that if I would have followed Dr. Stolovich’s advice and defined the scope of content (Laureate Education Inc., 2009) initially, that would have led me to be more successful in reduction of scope creep.  Also, setting a budget for myself on the visuals that I used would have helped me reel in the project scope as well.  As Budrovich pointed out, there are five main components of a project time, resources, expertise, quality, and scope. (Laureate Education Inc., 2009)  If all areas are set in the beginning of the project then, this would have been a classic case where budget would have helped indirectly control scope creep.  If I could have taken on more of a Project Manager type role in this project I would have met with my instructor and a beta group of students before presenting the lesson to the full class.  When I uncovered the issues with the lesson, I could have utilized a change control system (Portny, 2008) and done things such as reviewing all content, evaluate pros and cons of changes, how the lesson was affected by the changes, and prepare a summary to document the positive changes that were made.

References:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2009). Practitioner voices: Barriers to project success. [DVD]. Baltimore, MD.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2009). Defining the Scope of an ID Project. [DVD]. Baltimore, MD.

 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.

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I initially learned about Microsoft’s Project Management tool Visio http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/visio/ from a colleague at my job that was in the Master of Science in Project Management program at Walden University.  He was creating charts to show flow charts for directly related projects within the Enrollment department.  I thought Visio was a great program because it is very streamlined, offers a clean professional presentation, and you can utilize the program for budgeting and many other Project Management tasks to make it more convenient for project managers.a

I came upon Intuit Quickbase at http://quickbase.intuit.com .  I liked the flexibility of the Project Management resource.  I liked that is was able to be utilixed from computer, tablet, Ipad, or mobile phone.  It was also an elementary platform to be easily learned from technologically savvy employees to people that have little or no experience with technology, so everyone could utilize the resource.  Untuit was very easy to customize, save time, and visually engaging for people to make it more effective within the Project Management implementation of a project.

Janice Horoschak

Resources:

Intuit Website:  http://quickbase.intuit.com

Visio Website:  http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/visio/

During the review of the multimedia program “The Art of Effective Communication” the various forms of modalities of text, audio, and video had different interpretations.  In the order from text to audio, then to video, there was increasing sense of urgency and personal engagement through the modalities. 

Within the email message, it was very impersonal and suggested that the task was urgent but not so urgent because it was presented in an email and could have been done anytime that day or the next couple days.  During the audio message, it was more personal because it was left via personal voicemail, but still not quite as engaging as many of us including myself can trail off listen to a voicemail, especially a long voicemail such as this.  During the video message, the woman in the message used a conversational voice, and looked into the camera as if you were able to make eye contact with her to make the request more engaging and intimate to the person watching the video.

I feel that the video message was the most effective form of communication of all three modalities.  The true meaning was a person asking another person about a deadline that they were concerned about and that there was an urgency that she would like to receive the information.  The presenter of the message understood the other things that the recipient might need to do and showed that she was very understanding and offered options to make it easier for the recipient.

I have learned that whenever I am communicating with member of a project, it is best to have contact face to face when possible.  As budgets, deadlines, and geographical restrictions become a part of the project’s obstacles, then communications may need to diminish in quality.  It is important to utilize the resources and technologies that the company has bridge that gap between less engaging and intimate forms of communication and face-to-face interaction and meetings.  If there is written information provided then, it is always a best practice to follow up with a face-to face modality to reinforce the topic’s importance or vice versa.  Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer state “Written reports enable project managers to present factual data more efficiently. (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer, p.358)

References:

 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.

The Art of Effective Communication. Retrieved on May 23, 2013 from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6145/03/mm/aoc/index.html.

When I worked for Glidden Paints/ICI Paints, I was required to hold a road show or training for Home Depot employees. I needed to advertise, provide training materials, and implement face to face training to Home Depot staff on the Eastern Shore in Maryland. As I look back on the ”Post Mortem” analysis (Greer, 2010) I learned many things that I could improve on in future training projects.
I think what contributed to the success of the presentation was that I was very dedicated and put in additional hours to make sure displays were available for trainees, that the training room was organized, and materials were available for hands on access for trainees.

Some of the failures that I reflect on specifically were the rush to get materials prepared for the class. I should have started preparing materials earlier because I was unsure how long the process would take since it was my first training that I did by myself. I felt I should have gotten more involved with management to get firm commitments of attendees, stress the importance of why the training was being given, and other benefits to secure participants.

If Project Management responsibilities would have been utilized there would have been a more smoothly executed project and training. I think if I presented a one page synopsis of objectives and define the specific activities that would transpire during the training to the managers and paint the picture of the importance of the project this would have assisted in gaining more attendees. Clearly identifying and engaging stakeholders would have been an important component to a more successful turn out. Engaging stakeholders for the training that was happening would have made the stakeholders buy in because the purpose was to increase sales and make employees more knowledgeable to sell the products. (Laureate Education, nd)

References:

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

Stolovitch, H. (n.d.). Project kickoff. [Video Presentation]

Hello Everyone,

The next eight weeks’ postings will be highlighting the topic of project management and perspectives within project management.

Reflection

April 29, 2013

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Perceptions on distance learning will continue to evolve based upon the needs of the learner in the future and so will the perceptions of distance learning.  What seems to be the most important is the learners’ needs (Siemens, n.d.) and learning will continue to evolve with that need for learner-centered education.  With that said many learners are non-traditional student and need distance learning programs to balance, work, family and other responsibilities unlike years before.  There is also a higher focus on education than in years past the education is almost mandatory to hold a Bachelor degree, if not, a Master degree to stay competitive in the work place.

In the near and distant future there will continue to evolve with the evolution of technology.  Since I have worked at Walden University for almost seven years, I have seen the credibility of distance learning increase from when I first started.  As years continue to go by, distance learning will become more accepted and the conservative employers and naysayers that have had a traditional learning backgrounds will be replaced, fade out, or finally realize the importance of education whether it be from a traditional or distance learning format.

As an instructional designer I feel there are many things that I can do to improve the societal perceptions of distance learning.  The most important component is to know the audience or organization that you are creating a learning program or module.  This can make or break the learner’s acceptance of the program.  I feel that it is important to become as well versed in learning theory and strategies to be equipped with the tools to create effective training modules and the backbone of education.  I also feel that creating engaging and interactive learning resources will offer a foundation and show society that distance learning can be as effective as traditional learning, if not more effective.

I hope to be a positive force and offer continuous improvement in the field of distance education.  As I gain experience in an instructional design position, I feel that will continue to help me refine my knowledge to make more effective and efficient learning resources for my learning audience.  I will also continue to be an advocate for distance learning since I have worked for a distance learning program for several years and have done a degree program me in the distance learning setting.  I also feel that it is extremely important to get the subject matter specialist involved as much as possible during the development of learning resources.

As an instructional designer it is important to stay positive in every way and societal perceptions will follow.  Being knowledgeable of basic theories and strategies are foundational ways to create an effective learning resource.  Also, it is important to continue to research new trends happening within distance education, technology and instructional design research.  Once everyone realizes the importance and the candor of distance learning, the more it will be accepted and supported.

 

Reference:

Siemens, G. (n.d.). The future of distance learning. Lecture presented for Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from:  https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_2650920_1%26url%3D.

Map of Best Practices for Trainers of Distance Learning:  Click in the “X” Marks the Spot:

Best Practices for Trainers of Distance Learning

There will be some pre-planning strategies that need to take place before considering converting the training program to a blended online and face-to-face presentation. The trainer will need to consider the learners proficiency in the new server. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek state that “even though most students come to distance learning situations with vast experience using technology, do not assume they can transition directly into a course delivered at a distance.” (2012, p. 205) This could require a pre-test to measure the level of knowledge that learners have in the new database that is being utilized or giving a basic orientation on the server that the learners will be required to employ. It is also important that the trainer be knowledgeable with the database that the learners will be utilizing. This is important because the trainer needs to be prepared and be knowledgeable enough to support the learners’ needs and questions they have to avoid losing the learners’ attentions or have them drop the course. (Laureate Education, 2010)

One of the aspects of the previous learner program that was lacking was communication and I think this should be focused on in the development of the blended program. This would mean that discussions within the class should have a high priority have consistent and frequent interaction throughout the duration of the training program between learners and the instructor. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek state “by collaborating, all students expand their knowledge, skills, and ability to self-assess their own progress.” 2012, p.222) I also think that a brief survey should be required to be filled out so, everyone can communicate suggestions and other useful information that could enhance the program for future training classes.

An instructor’s role can change dramatically in a distance learning format. Instructors will be presented with more duties such as reaching out proactively to students that may not be participating in class. Distance learning instructors should have a lesson plan in place and work collaboratively with an Instructional Designer during the creation process to be well versed on every segment of the course to better assist the students when possible. (Laureate Education, 2010)

Student-Centered learning in a distance learning or blended format is the best way to get learners to be engaged in the course. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek state that student-centered learning is most important and “by its very nature, online education demands that students become engaged in the learning process.” (2012, p. 195)

References:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Facilitating Online Learning [DVD]. Baltimore, MD

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

 

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