Chapters 1 & 2
Some textbooks and training on project management begin by explaining the specifics of project management, its processes, and the benefits. They then get into the mechanics of using project management software, the reporting structure, and reporting outcomes. While this is certainly one way to address this topic, in Chapters 1 and 2 of our textbook, Kerzner emphasized that understanding project management is not solely about using the right ‘widgets’ or taking the right ‘steps’. Instead, project management is a holistic approach of using best practices for the success and survivability of an organization. “All employees are actually project managers to some degree and are expected to make business as well as project decisions” (Kerzner, 2014, p. 14).
Every organization is unique and while project management offers tools and processes based on past successes and best practices, defining success is an individual process based on organizations, industries, and desired outcomes – a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach does not always work.
For this week’s assignment, you are going to apply the information and discussions from Chapters 1 and 2 to a work situation you are familiar with. This exercise will help you identify with the issues being discussed as well as better familiarize you with applying the concepts.
Part I – Chapter 1: Identify and describe a work environment that you are familiar with – do not use a specific business name, just identify the industry (e.g., fast food, retail, IT-helpdesk, medical-doctor’s office or hospital). Describe the ‘best practices’ used. Are they written down, conveyed by word of mouth, learned in training sessions, on-the-job knowledge? Or are there no formalized ‘best practices’ used? Obviously, there will be many different options to choose from, so please do not describe the entire job; instead, narrow down your options to a specific area or job. For example, if you work retail, you might want to focus on how you learned the technologies used when customers are purchasing an item. If you work IT-HelpDesk, you may want to cover the process used for handling a specific technology-related problem with a customer (use one that you frequently encounter). What did the role of ‘best practices’ play in your ability to effectively do your job or be a success in your organization? For some of you, it may have been a structured training session that was very effective in establishing a baseline in the organization. For others, it may have been a training partner where nothing is written down – on the job training. But for some of you, it may have been ‘sink or swim’!
Part II – Chapter 2: Based on the relevance to your response in Part I, identify one of the ‘Migraine Headaches’ discussed in chapter 2. (e.g., having the wrong culture in place – pp. 75-76). Explain what role this ‘headache’ played in your ability to successfully do your job. How did it help or hinder you to contribute to the success of your organization? Did you have sufficient knowledge or information to effectively handle the situation? What recommendations would you have for your organization regarding ‘best practices’? These recommendations must be focused on the success and sustainability of the organization. Therefore, clearly explain how your recommendation ties to the organization’s success. Stay focused on the issue you identified from Chapter 2 – do not include the ‘kitchen sink’! I realize that this is early in the class and we’ve only covered Chapters 1 and 2; however, at this point I’m sure you have a good idea of what you might do differently if you were ‘in-charge’.
Assignment Requirements: Post Part I & Part II as one Threaded Discussion (not two separate postings). This will allow other students to respond to your posting. Total threaded discussion must be 400-600 words (approximately one page). – strictly enforced. While this may seem like a lot to some of you, I can guarantee that as you begin writing, it will be difficult to stay within the confines of those word-count parameters. This will require that you be clear, concise, and focused on what you’re going to say. As one of my previous professors used to say, he does not grade by weight but by quality. Posting must be in narrative/sentence form – not a list of bullets. Good sentence structure, grammar, and spelling are required. You may include headings if you choose. You must include two citations – one in Part I from Chapter 1 and one in Part II from Chapter II. These citations must support or strengthen your position. They can both be from the textbook or you may include outside sources. Be sure to include a reference at the bottom of your posting. All citations and references must be in APA format. If you do not own an APA manual, consider purchasing a handbook from a bookstore or online site. A website that is helpful for both APA and MLA formatting is https://owl.english.purdue.edu (Links to an external site.)
Part III: Response to Classmate’s Posting: After you’ve posted your original posting for Part I & Part II, please respond to a classmate’s posting. You must respond to at least one posting. While I am not setting a word-count for your response, it must be substantial and add information or support to their posting. This can be in the form of a similar experience you had and how you handled the situation. Short answers such as ‘I agree’, ‘Good job’, or ‘I had a similar situation’ are not acceptable. Citations/references are not required in your response.
Kerzner, H. (2014). Project Management Best Practices: Achieving Global Excellence (3rd ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons