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Project Management

The Project Management Institute has a guide for designing and delivering projects on time in the business world; we have remodeled this approach for a heritage project and presented it here for people who need and like checklists for their work. These are the steps: Initiating; Determining goals; Planning; Executing; Controlling; and Closing the project.

Initiating: Recognizing that a project or phase should begin and committing to do so.

  • The Idea: I have an initial idea from something that I have seen or read that students have expressed an interest in attempting during their school year

  • I want to encourage a love of history and learning in my students and show them that history starts at home

  • There is a current event of immediate interest to the students that has parallels to a past event in the city. This event and the associated projects will show students the immediacy of local history. For example, comparing the meningitis inoculations to the massive polio vaccination programs of the past, or with disease control in Edmonton during the Influenza epidemic of 1917.

  • I have a mandate from my principal or the school board to integrate collaborative learning into the classroom

  • I have a mandate from my principal or the school board to integrate the Internet into my classroom.

Determine the goals of the project:

  • Historical research;

  • web design;

  • meeting curriculum outcomes;

  • introducing experiential learning;

  • student interest and excitement in the project.

Planning: Devising and maintaining a workable scheme to accomplish the business need that the project was undertaken to address:

  • Set a commencement and closing date as the first step in the project.

  • Select participants: Which students will be involved in the project?

  • Will I need permissions for students to take part in the project and who has the forms?

  • What is the subject matter of the project?

  • The goals of the project will determine the subject material for the students: a curriculum project will require that curriculum guidelines and lesson plans are followed; a student generated project will have students, at times, deviating from the curriculum as their interests take them into new project areas.

  • New or old material?

  • Is this new material that the students will generate during the course of the year; is this a portfolio assignment to gather all of the students' material electronically in a school/course showcase?

  • Hardware, Software and People:

  • What materials--software, hardware, people--are available for the project and who knows how to use or contact them? 

  • Do I need additional training to use the software or hardware?

  • Will I have to book time to use the software or hardware?

  • Will I need to contact external experts? In what fields? How active will their role be in the project? How will I contact them? How will students contact them? Do I have a backup if something goes wrong with an expert on the program? 

Executing: Coordinating people and other resources to carry out the plan.

  • What model will I use to organize the students: individual; partners; teams? The students may have to be retrained to accept a new form of organization if they are not used to collaborative or experiential learning.

  • Students may also feel uncomfortable learning from and dealing with foreign situations so resistance to the project goals and learning outcomes may be great (affect).

  • Keeping commitments to train

  • Keeping appointments with experts

  • Who will keep track of the external experts contacted for the program: is this an appropriate project for students.

  • Storing the project material: allow the final form of the product to dictate the storage of the material (creating a web page? Code the information as the course progresses).

  • One of the milestones of the project is the advertising of the project: who are your partners?

Controlling: Ensuring that project objectives are met by monitoring and measuring progress and taking corrective action when necessary:

  • Assigning Milestones and Deadlines

  • Avoid "scope creep": this occurs when new tasks, not mentioned in the original planning stage, are added to the students' original assigned work. It makes it difficult for students to reach their deadlines when an new task, such as creating a Flash animation page or creating .pdf files for web publishing, are added to an the original task of learning and writing in HTML. Moreso than teachers, students are apt to "scope creep" because they are ambitious or excited about the possibilities of a technology project.

  • Performing "triage": as the whole of the project comes together, it may be necessary to perform "triage" or allowing the unsalvageable tasks to die while other tasks closer to completion are saved. Tasks that should not be triaged: the initial planning session; assignments that must be completed in tandem with other projects; the closure meeting. 

  • Where should the students be during the course of the year and how will they report their status to the teacher? Will they have to hand in assignments-such as the bibliography, an essay, a web page-to show that they have completed certain phases in the project.

  • When will I know that we are done?

  • Consequences of Missing a Deadline and what this means for the whole of the project.

Closing the project: Formalizing acceptance of the project or phase and bringing it to an orderly end:

  • Select date for project announcement or launch

  • Submitting your website address to the major search engines and directories; to education mailing lists and bulletin boards; using the web page as the browser homepage of the school for a few days or weeks so people in the school can explore the site; a newsletter or a community newspaper.

  • A closure meeting for students where they can present their final work to other students and discuss what they feel are the successes and/or failures of the project.

*Source: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).





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