Thursday, April 9, 2015

EDUC 6145 - Week 6 - Analyzing Scope Creep

My scope creep project happened pretty recently, and has not completely been resolved, so I’m interested to stick it out and see what happens. There is one training course I’m currently working on, and there is no PM designated. Where I work, we have a designer and a SME on a team. Other people will only be brought in if necessary. Luckily, for this course I have a few other designers working with me.

This course is one that has already been created and is in a revision process so that we can pinpoint what is needed and what exactly to train students on. The students in the class come from all over the world to be trained on giving background investigations, as well as perform other duties. Because the course is already being taught and I have access to the lesson plans and previous ADDIE paperwork that had been filled out, I can see what is being taught. I was beginning to re-paper the course (which just means to update the paperwork and make any necessary changes) and had gotten to the design phase when the SME made it known she wanted to add three days to the course.

Here are a few reasons why this is bad: each day costs money, per student. The amount that a student’s organization will pay for them to attend class only covers a percentage of the training facility’s cost. Adding the days to the course would not only cost more, but the papering process would need to be restarted, meaning we’d lose money from the delays. When the SME and I finally reached a consensus, she mentioned that the three added days would not be taking place at our facility. This led to bringing more people on board to coordinate, spending more money in paying for rental cars and hotel rooms for students, and having to redo the paperwork once again. (I also should note that the only reason the team conceded to the SME was because there was not enough data to back up the idea that these last three days are unnecessary.)

This project began in November, and the course is not until June. However, the original course date was April, so we’ve already lost money on having to delay the class. Another designer and I are the leads on this project, and at this point it’s difficult to see what else could come up to get us off track; it actually looks like we may make our June date.

If I was a PM, I would have gone back to the analysis phase once the extra three days were requested and conducted a needs analysis to see if the extra time is something that is really necessary. Chances are this analysis would have taken less time to put together than all the paperwork and coordination for an extended course. I also would have kept the lines of communication open along the way so that this news didn’t take us by surprise halfway through the project. Our curriculum manager also has working knowledge of each course, and had I been in control, I would have brought him in much sooner to get his take on the changes. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

EDUC 6145 - Week 5 - Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

Cover Art
This is a book that has been published online, and it includes resources such as step-by-step instructions, videos, and charts to help a project manager get started on a project. For this week’s topic, I found that chapters 8 and 9 are the most relevant because they focus on time management and budgets, respectively. The online book is set up the same way our textbook is, with an objective at the beginning of each chapter and key takeaways at the end. There is also the option of listening to someone read the chapters aloud through an audio player at the top of each page.

This is a UK-based website that “helps managers at all levels improve their performance.” Under the Methods & Tools tab I found an article written by Duncan Haughey that focuses on estimating project costs. It includes a list of assumptions to make about a project, a list of common mistakes, and a three-point estimation formula. On the sidebar there are links to other helpful articles, such as 12 Tips for Accurate Project Estimating and Creating a Project Budget: What You Need to Know. There are also links embedded in the article for a PM to use for extra help.


This site is not necessarily meant for project managers, but there are some helpful tools that could easily be used by a PM or an instructional designer. The homepage offers links to downloadable software – some of which have free trials. The software that would be most helpful to a PM or an ID is the time tracking, the cash flow forecasting, and the bar chart schedule. Some of the software is based on the site, so information is easily plugged in. This is definitely something I would use if in a position of having to create a schedule and plan a budget for a project; I could plug in the information I have and receive a chart that I could show other team members. It’s a great tool to stay organized.