Table of Contents
CORE CONCEPTS I LEARNT………………………………………….….2
TEAM PRISM AS A WHOLE………………………………………………6
What I learnt absorbed and experienced throughout my course is and always will be priceless.
This term paper reflects my ideas, my knowledge and my exciting experience’s during this course of my semester. I will also portray some positive and negative opinions later in the paper.
Project Management was the most amazing course for me, not at the start tough, I knew what project management was but had no idea what were its implementations and objectives. In my first class the professor divided the class into ten teams each with five-six students and that to in a way none of us knew each other. At that instant I knew what the professor was trying to do. The good thing was by the time the lecture was over we became like best friends.
Within a week we came up with the team name “Team Prism”, as per its definition suited our team’s characteristics. We had a team of six namely Olga, Claudia, Marisol, Xuan, Jithin and Me. We had to choose a team leader and we chose Claudia because she was the most experienced one and everyone agreed upon it, to be honest I would have chosen Olga because she had knowledge of project management from her previous studies and she knew what is what but as it was a team decision and it turned out to be the right one. And from here our journey trailing the entire semester began.
My professor, Mr.Thomas Brodowski has a unique style of teaching, at first I was kind of afraid that he is very strict but later when I came to know that all I have to do is “Make him happy” and he will make us happy, I was very happy. He had over ten years of experience in this field and he shared it with us, his teachings were practical and in sync with the real world, he made everything very interesting and it’s because of him I learnt a lot which I will share later in this paper. The first thing he did was to draw a triangle on a board, it was the kerzner’s triangle, the most important triangle in the book, he appointed one student to draw this triangle every time before the lecture starts.
CORE CONCEPTS I LEARNT:
Project management consists of namely five processes i.e. project initiation-planning-execution-observation-completion, each of which comprise in itself a number of tasks to be performed.
The most important thing I learnt in the beginning is the amazing kerzner’s triangle, thanks to the professor for drawing one on the board every morning. The triangle basically shows the dependency between the resources time, cost and performance/ quality. It shows that each of this resource is linked with each other, for e.g. if we have a project to complete, we have a specific time, cost and required quality to be applied on the project and by changing on constraint we effect the other two. If we increase the time, i.e.to complete the project faster the cost increases and performance also inevitably increases and it goes vice versa. It is a balance between all three which is the responsibility of a project manager to maintain.
The industries now days has enough technical expertise but lack the optimization of the project, they don’t meet time constraints, cost and other project requirements, that is where a project manager steps in.
According to Krezner organizational flow work has three domains
Authority is the power granted to responsible persons so that they could make final decisions, Responsibility is the compulsion experienced by the persons in the organization to perform their role efficiently, and Accountability means that the individual person with the authority is responsible for the completion of the project.
The important part of the lecture I felt improved me considerably was the time and stress management which helped me built a positive and can do attitude .There is a list of techniques that were given in the book, which I did apply to my projects and assignments .Effective time management is an important tool for project managers because for them time is a constrain and a resource.
One thing I was feared would happen was inter-team conflicts and it did happen, and conflict was bad for a team but as it is said its preordained, what happened so was our team was divided into two groups 3-3 and each of us had a clash of opinions, the tough thing was each opinion was strong and approachable. But it came to an end after an hour or so. We solved our problem by objectifying each opinion, writing it down and then finally deciding to opt for one (basically compromise) and it turned out to be the best one.
As I mentioned before the most important responsibilities of a project manager are planning, scheduling and executing. As the saying goes “you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
Planning is done to eliminate the causes, which tend to affect the project, such as lag time, uncertainty, step decisions, proper work flow. It is a continuous process of decision making with future prospective in mind.
The most common techniques we use for planning are:
Statement of work
Work breakdown structure
The one we used for our projects was the work breakdown structure (WBS). Work break down structure, as its name suggests breaks down the entire project into smaller work tasks, the reason to do so is to make it easy to control and execute as it becomes a framework for managers.
The planning is done and is portrayed with the help of network scheduling diagrams which shows the entire breakdown in the form of bars and charts, it provides a crystal clear picture of progress of the project. The different types of network scheduling techniques are:
PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique)
CPM (Critical Path Method)
PDM (Precedence Diagram Method)
GERT (Graphical Evaluation and Review Technique)
The most common one, and what we used in our projects and problems were the Gant chart, PERT and CPM.
Gant Chart is a graphical representation of bars which represents the completion of particular tasks for a given time, the work structure and the time is defined into the program and the results are generated. Just by looking at it one can briefly describe the current situation of the project.
PERT (Program evaluation and review technique) is quite an old tool used to represent the project plan. It is represented by spheres and arrows, Each sphere represents an event and the arrow represents the time taken to move from one event to other as shown in figure below.
PERT charts are usually done from back to front because the end date is fixed. CPM method is quite similar to PERT method but differ in few points such as CPM is based on a single time estimate, and CPM is used for resource dependent project where results are accurate, CPM is an activity oriented technique. Basically we can say that PERT is old fashioned but CPM is generation x. We can calculate the normal cost and crash cost using CPM.
Therefore in this way the planning, networking of the project is done.
One last thing I would mention before going to next topic is how learning all this had a considerable effect on me. I used to be a little nervous while working on a project thinking whether I am doing it right or wrong. But now through proper planning and fair sight I can clearly look at my goal and complete it in time with exceptional quality, but I am not yet perfect tough and still got loads to learn and implement.
TEAM PRISM AS ONE:
I am very proud of my team, in my opinion it probably was the best of all, every project, every problem, and every conflict just got solved as smooth as butter.
We were like a team of detectives deeply involved in any project. The first two assignments were to study different cases, and all of us did an extremely amazing job on it we all had answers at the same time. Xuan was not an out spoken person and was very shy because of her language wasn’t clear to understand, but I used to be in constant touch with her through e-mails and texts because she was a team member and she had brilliant ideas too, just needed a little confidence and courage. Claudia used to frame the answers we wrote because her words were charming and royal at the same time. Jithin used to type it as he was so quick in typing, I and Olga gave a quick verification and it was done. Marisol in time typed the minutes of meeting till we finished with our work. And we had a lot of fun, not only we talked about the project but try to solve some worldly problems going on around us.
Every team has its ups and downs, we had our share too, during the hose project we had difficulty on what to do and how to do, and there were conflicts and clash of ideas, because professor asked us to think it out of the box. We ended up doing nothing that week, but the issue was resolved and the work was done in the next meeting. I still ponder upon it what if I had a solution back then I could have resolved it. It was the house project which took us a lot of work, I and Olga came up with the research data and the same story repeated, quick and efficient.
The next assignment was about the PERT/CPM charts, and to be honest, even though professor explained it to me I dint get it, It took me a lot of time to study from the text book, We divided the problems amongst ourselves , Me and Olga got the difficult one. I managed to solve it and so did everyone, just haours before submitting me, olga and jithin were in Kupf hall after 9 checking all the answers while jithin typed.
Now we have a huge project on our hands “The Prism Of The Blue” and yes it’s a name of the largest and greenest and safest , most luxurious Cruise Ship in the world. We all divided the work amongst us and are involved in deep research to build this dream project. I wonder how loud we are going to be.
I would like to say is that the professors idea of teaming up the students randomly was a brilliant idea.
The style of teaching of the professor is perfect, keeps me and others as well submerged it the topics
Many may think the professor doesn’t emphasize on many topics, I do agree but, he wants everyone to read the notes which he sends and understand and think out of the box.
I love the concept of no exams.
The professor should take more time in class because not only me but all of us have a lot to learn from the professor.
The Professor should always be happy.
In conclusion I think this course and specifically the project specially writing a business plan (currently in planning phase) were very beneficial. Project management skills are very valuable in many different situations. I’ve worked in team situations before. There are some things that I have done within this team that fits in within the rules of project management and I am proud of those implementations. I just took one step for success and still have a long flight of steps to climb.
Project Management ‘a system approach to planning scheduling and controlling’ by HAROLD KERZNER (tenth edition)