Week 11

18 Nov

On Monday we had a set ourselves a deadline to have all our separate parts completed. We met up early in the computer labs. Since most of our files were on google docs or in the dropbox, it was not hard to put all the pieces together into a new final document. It was a little chaotic at first because all our file formats were different so we just stuck them all into the correct sequence then set about fixing the content of the project.  Since we were all there our questions were answered swiftly and there were four minds to catch out anything that seemed wrong. After that we set about fixing the formats to make it easier to read and more official. After that there were some small pieces to tidy up and then it would be ready to send. We kept in contact with emails and then the project was ready to be submitted.

In our lecture we learned about what SCRUM was and how it worked. It seems to be a good strategy as you either got work done or you didn’t. The tasks were focused and done within a certain time which I found was a nice idea. It was also good because it stopped people from changing the tasks in the middle of work.

Week 10

18 Nov

This week we went into more dept for communications management and earned valued management. It was kind of a recap and there were some new things to learn in the lectures. In the tutorial we had a practice/introduction trial of it putting values to animal’s mass and height. I found this subject a little difficult to understand because there were two factors to account for and the attributes seemed vague. By the end I had a better understanding of the method though it will take a few more tries before I’m comfortable with it.

We had a meeting for the group project were we updated each other on what was finished or needed to be finished. We set deadlines for what to have done on Friday and Monday. For Friday we had to have finalised and completed the sections allocated to us. For Monday we had to have part ten of our own parts written out. This was fair since we had sectioned off the project for each other at our kickstarter meeting. This week was just finishing up whatever we hadn’t completed and an extra bit for the finial project.

Week 9

18 Nov

Human Resource Management continued into this week.

An interesting lecture. Since I don’t have much experience in this section there wasn’t a whole lot I could add to it.

A lot of project work this week for the individual project. We also had another project due this week so there was a lot of chance to put those project management theories into action. I had to do a lot of research for how each of the sections were suppose to look. There were some helpful templates online but I had a look at a few of them to gather the jist of how they were suppose to be formatted.

I found the quality plan a little tricky to do. This is because I was only creating the most basic parts for each section of my project unless I had more time afterwards to upgrade some of the features. The only thing I could really think of was to make sure that the website was layout properly, the game was functioning as it should with minimal/non-existing bugs and that it was secure. Risk was another tricky section as there were a lot of risks in this project. In the end it would count on myself being dedicated enough and not burn myself out.

The project schedule and communication plan were coming along fine, though there might be bits added in as things could change as I discover constraints in my project. I also wasn’t sure if I was to add in time to do other projects for my course but it would be out of scope and unrelated to the project. Making these did help me see how big this project was.

The project scope was easy enough to do as it was kind of like a list of things I wanted in the project and how large the scope of that section was. This was done during the time of the WBS.

Week 8

18 Nov

This week was about Project Procurement Management and Human Resource Management.

Outsourcing is when you get another business to create a function for your own business. So for example, your company needs a calender app. Someone has already created that app or they sell those apps. Instead of coding your own, you “outsource” it. This way you don’t end up spending too much resource on something that’s already been done. It’s a case of if it costs less than what you would have spent on developers and time then it should be considers. The down side to it is that the company may not provide necessary updates or maintenance on the function. Your company then relies on them for this function. This is why most of the time, companies will choose to recreate what has already been created.  The project procurement management involves a lot of information gathering and working out the cost of securing something from another company rather than making your own. Unless your company is planning to do everything themselves, this step is vital to ensuring your company makes the best choices possible.

Human Resource Management was about how to keep your work force happy and motivated for the work they do. It was about taking care of your staff and ensuring the best was brought out of them for the company. I thought this was a very ethical lecture and it also helped me see that everyone is only a human.

At this time I started on the individual project (a project management scheme for my FYP) as I had a better understanding of my own project since the final year project presentations. I am creating a browser-based massively multiplayer online game (MMOG). For this project I need to create my own website as well as the game. This is normally a job for team because of the massive scope. Since this project only had me, I had to shorten the scope a lot to ensure I would at least have the basics done. I started with the WBS and the introduction. Since I had already had a documentation of my project, I used that to help me with this project. Next was the project schedule. This was the tricky bit since I had to think really hard about how much a section would take me to finish. Since I hadn’t done this sort of project before it was hard to make a schedule. I jumped between doing this and the communication plan as they were both related.


Week 7 – Forms of Communication

20 Oct

This weeks lecture we went through the different types of communications such as verbal (Telephone, Face-To-Face, Skype, Conference calls, etc.) and non-verbal (Email, Skype messaging, letters, etc).  We compared the two and discussed their differences.

Verbal communications

Advantages of verbal communications include things like; being about to hear or see the person’s reactions which helps to contribute to the tone of the conversation. This is a huge advantage because it helps you to assess the situation more easily and respond accordingly. For example; if you were talking to your boss and he’s talking in an angry tone to you, you would not be replying with a happy tone or have a cocky body language. I think this example would cover the points we made in class; being able to hear the reactions (tone of voice), synchronous (you’re both in the same time sync) and details (like body language).

Disadvantages of this type of communication include; Freudian slips, Geo location, difficult expression, given important information but there will be no record of it. Freudian slips, which is the “slip of the tongue”, which means accidentally saying something you weren’t meant to say. Geo location is where you are on Earth in relation to the person you want to communicate with. It could be impossible to have a verbal conversation in situations where the telephones are down and you are in Ireland and the other person is in Korea (of course there are other solutions to this but for this example, telephones are the only way to verbally communicate with someone you cannot reach unless you travel a great distance). Difficult expression which means it’s hard to try to express yourself. One of the last disadvantages we talked about was when you are given important information but there will be no record of it. For instance, a person hiring you might say the will pay you a certain amount of money but come pay day, they will pay you less than first agreed on and there’s not much you can do because they only said it verbally and there is no record of it (I know you’re suppose to sign contracts but if it was freelance-job and you didn’t get paid until it was done.)

Non-Verbal Communications

Example of this type of communication includes; email, instant messaging, forum posts, etc. We focused on emails as the mode of transport. Having a permanent record would be an advantage. This way, everything is recorded so that you can go back to review important points or to prove a point. Quick response was mentioned as one of the advantages but I would disagree. It really depends on the person/company. For example, I would check my emails frequently if I’m on the computer and it’s one of the first tasks I do when I turn on a computer. This is because I’m afraid I might miss important emails, for example, a lecture has been moved or person needs a quick response to a query. A company might take a few days to get back to you because of  the amount of emails they get each day. To have the time to think on what you want to talk about would be an advantage of this form of communication.

Disadvantages we talked about included being; disruptive and no emotions. Disruptive in the fact that you could spend hours getting through your emails or you could be in the middle of working and someone needs you to respond to an email asap.

The lecturer brought up a presentation formula; the three Ss
Steak, Sizzle and Style. Steak is the “meat” or the actual content of the presentation. Sizzle refers to getting the audience involved and Style is the way in which you present things, which is dependent on the person.

We also talked about communication considerations (i.e. the number of people you have to communicate to), managing stakeholders. The conflicts involved in having meetings such as group thinking.

We talked about risk management and how to identify them and gauge how serious they would be. I think that’s about it

See you space cowboy.

Week 6

17 Oct

Went through what a leader was and how being able to manage projects efficiently could be a trait of a leader. We discussed whether leaders were born or if they were raised to be heroes. We talked about how their childhood environment would have a big influence on their leadership skills. Things like their family, their education and their own personality were big factors.

The we went through the traits of a project manager and how it was similar to being a leader though the two weren’t necessarily the same thing. For instance, a project manager might be able to mange the project successfully but may not be a leader.

We discussed the different skills the two would have and what they had in common.

Three of us in the group project team had FYP presentations on the Friday so we skipped the meeting for this week.


See you space cowboy.

Week 4 & 5

11 Oct

In these two weeks we were shown how to set milestones in the project. How to make a deadline reasonable and realistic. How we should take resources and the time to do a task into great consideration. We were shown how to use a “critical path” to see which tasks, that we would be doing simultaneously, we should have done or which task did not have to be completed because the other task that also had to be done at the same time took longer.

There was a whole lecture dedicated to cost management. Which was really handy because I never really understood how a company would manage their costs in a project that was not yet complete/started. I have a better understanding now but I’ll need to put it into practice a few times first.

We were also given our group project specs. We were put into the groups that we had for our first tutorial. Gavin, Keiran, Gillian and I are on the same team. We met up on Tuesday in one of the labs in the CSIS, intending to kick-start the project. Reading through the spec together we encountered some problems. We weren’t entirely sure of what we were to do or how to start. After about an hour of trying to figure out what the project was about we gave up and planned for another meeting on Thursday. While an email was sent out about our dilemma, a Google doc was set up so that we could all have the updated file.

After our tutorial we had a better understanding of what was happening. One of our group members couldn’t attend the meeting because of a job but we went ahead to start the project anyway. We worked on making the project charter, which turned out to be a lot of work. We made up some of the costs in the budget because they weren’t given in the spec. We had to research many sites to calculate the average costs and look up certain definitions to clarify that what we were doing was correct. Pretty much finished the charter we picked a topic each to work on for the next meeting so that we’d have the work done. We left a note to our missing member about what we had done and what was to be done for next week so that they’d be up to date.

I picked making the work breakdown structure. Hopefully this time I’ll get it right.

See ya space cowboy.

Hello Project Management!

11 Oct

I had high hopes for this module before I started it. From the description it seemed like it would really help me organise my final year so that I didn’t fall behind and got work done. Since I was such a scatterbrain I really needed help on how plan out project, how to allocate time and how to make it worthwhile.

The first lecture was nice and easy. We had the usual introductions and we were told about projects we were going to get during the semester and the lecturer, Vispi, explained what he was going to teach us and what this module was about.  We were asked to say our name to the class as well as what course we were doing (can’t remember if we had to mention what year we were in). I also think I was late for this class because I remember sitting down just in time for my turn to introduce myself and was very confused when everyone was silent and looking at me. Anyway, it was also the first time we were shown a Dilbert comic in class (it’s on all the last slides, a nice ending).

Tutorials had not started yet (in week 1) so we were just attending lectures. The labs also had not started yet. In the first few lectures we were shown and thought how to plan a project. We were shown graphs and how tasks were allocated as well a few different technique on how to start planning a project.

We also learned about scoping a project and how it was pretty important. That we could narrow down a scope if it meant getting a project out according to plan. We also learned about the work breakdown structure (WBS) which we practised in a tutorial (not the first tutorial, we spent that learning the names of our classmates and solving “out-of-the-box” puzzles where the answers were usually surprising). In the tutorial we had made a WBS of a bike. I was pretty confused at first because I wasn’t sure how to go about it if we didn’t know all the parts of a bike. I would have liked to have the internet to look it up then piece it up from there but I think it defeated the purpose of trying to start one. I guess in a project you’re not really sure of all the components you need anyway so… thinking back on it now, it was a good exercise. I failed at doing the second part because just made assumptions, which I should stop doing. Label all the things!

I think we also went over time management. We did sequence diagrams which we had done in System Analysis & Design last year but it was with programs.

I think that about sums up the first three week.

See you space cowboys.