Planning

Definition: A set of principles, methods, and techniques used to plan and control project work effectively to achieve project objectives.

TIPS

Consider these suggestions when honing your ability to manage projects:

  • Define the Project–take time to fully understand what exactly you are doing and why you are doing it

  • Plan the Work –brainstorm with all who will be involved with the project, and formulate a detailed plan

  • Set Realistic Deadlines - be realistic about the time needed to complete the project, and have realistic expectations. Determine the constraints of the project (e.g., time, cost/resources, and scope).

  • Assess Risks –early in the project be aware of potential pitfalls, so you can create solutions ahead of time

  • Communicate –talk frequently with those involved in the project as it allows for everyone to be on the same page

  • Track Progress –perform frequent (e.g. weekly) check-ins to make sure progress is being made

  • Resolve Issues –issues will likely manifest, so be ready to find solutions

  • Know When to Finish –be aware of when the project is coming to an end, and avoid wasting resources on unnecessary work

“Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                           — Joy Gum

Self-Directed Learning Activities

Relevant Readings:

Books:

  • Frame, J. D. (2002). The new project management: tools for an age of rapid change, complexity, and other business realities. John Wiley & Sons.

  • Gray, C., & Larson, E. (2006). Project management: The managerial process. (3rd ed.). NY: McGraw-Hill.

  • Mager, R. F. (1999). What Every Manager Should Know about Training: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Money's Worth from Training. Center for Effective Performance.

  • Schwaber, K. (2004). Agile project management with Scrum. Microsoft press.

  • Project Management Institute (2013) A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK, 5th ed.). Project Management Institute, Inc.

PowerPoints/Videos:

Tools:

Self-Guided Activities:

  • Think back to a previous or current project and identify the components of a Project Scope Statement. Use the template provided.

  • Create a Gantt chart for a team of three to prepare and present an oral report. Use lined paper to show the timing of five or more tasks for this project.

  • Almost everyone has worked at some time on a project that—while good-intentioned did not turned out as planned and organized. Evaluate one of these past projects and identify what went right and what could have been done better. Could the use of organizational tools such as Gantt-or Flow charts increased the chances of success? Did the project suffer because of poor communication and infrequent team meetings? Write a short analysis of the project with suggestions to how you improve its success for future students.

  • This training module provides information on managing projects. Included in this training is information about project basics, roles, planning and implementing. In addition, tools are provided that will help you organize and present project information. Be sure to utilize the Key Points & Self-Quiz links located on the left side of the screen throughout the training to check your learning!

  • Think of a previous project or a current one and conduct a risk analysis while planning for contingencies.

Guided Learning Activities

Experiences:

  • If applicable, after completing a project with team members, work through the Project Closure Checklist (PDF) and the Lessons Learned documents to help with improving the project management process.

  • Remember to keep your emails short and simple when sending updates and delegating tasks. Work on the content and formatting of your emails and get feedback from a coworker or supervisor on whether or not your emails have been effective in getting the message across quickly.

  • Find someone who works as a project manager or is a member of a project team. Use the interview guidelines and ask the questions in person, via the phone, or via the internet. Discuss the results with your team/peers, and then prepare a one-page paper or prepare a short presentation to summarize your findings. (See page 33-34 of Schwalbe PDF)

  • Practice making a project plan for a large personal project at home, church, etc. use the following link as a reference on how to create your own plan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHO9CNu808k. Once you feel comfortable creating and using a project plan, start implementing this technique for work-related projects. Use one of the Learning Journals to reflect after practicing the project plan. Assess what went right and where you could improve, and analyze the overall outcome of your project.

Formal Training/Education

School and Course Module(s):

Northern Wyoming Community College

Project Management –BADM 2000:   This course introduces students to the process involved in planning a project and the tools needed to manage a project. Students explore practical project management techniques consistent with the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (PMBOK Guide), including key factors that contribute to the success of a project. Upon completion of this class, students will plan, design and assess a business project.

Laramie County Community College

Microsoft Project Management –MSFT 2900:  Students learn to plan, design, and manage technical projects. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to plan, design, and manage technology-based projects effectively in order to meet the business needs. Students plan and design Microsoft systems and networks through the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). Students develop a project plan which addresses all phases of a successful project. Students use project management tools to aid in the design and implementation of their projects.

Production and Operations Management-DSCI 2210:  An introductory course in production and operations management. Students gain knowledge and skills about operations strategy, project management, forecasting, quality management, supply chain management, inventory management, production and operations planning. Students apply these decision-making strategies to typical management situations.

Principles of Management –MGT 2100:  Students examine the theory and practice of management. Utilizing goal-oriented action, students work collaboratively to create a service project for a non-profit agency integrating the four functions of management: planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Students examine the rolls and responsibilities of modern managers in an organization.

Managing Projects

 
 

Planning and Organization

Definition: To make arrangements or preparations in advance; to coordinate

Tips

Consider these suggestions when improving your planning and organizational skills:

  • To-do list–create a master to-do list at the beginning of each day

  • Haste makes waste –give yourself plenty of time to make a comprehensive and thorough to-do list

  • Prioritize–organize your tasks and events in order of importance

  • Awareness of your schedule–use a daily planner or agenda so that you don’t forget an important task or meeting

 

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

— Paul J. Meyer

Self-Directed Learning Activities

Relevant Readings:

Books:

  • Allen, D., & Fallows, J. (2015). Getting things done: The art of stress-free productivity. New York: Penguin Group.

  • Covey, S. (2013). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change. New York: Simon & Schuster.

  • Selk, J., Bartow, T., & Rudy, M. (2015). Organize tomorrow today: 8 ways to retrain your mind to optimize performance at work and in life. Boston: Da Capo Press.

PowerPoints/Videos:

Guided Learning Activities

Experiences:

  • To-Do List: At the beginning your day choose a medium to write your to-do list on (e.g. paper, digital app on a smartphone). Once you’ve decided what you’re going to write on, create several lists: a master list with everything, a personal list, and a professional list. Remember to keep the lists concise and succinct, and be sure to include the most important tasks. Avoid being vague, so set specific, achievable tasks that you plan on accomplishing that day. Include all of the necessary information for each task, so there will be nothing keeping you from completing it. For example,if you need to call someone, make sure to include their name, phone number, and other important information).If you are going to work on a large projector long-term goal, break it down into small, achievable parts. Lastly, estimate the time that each task will take you, so you can schedule out your day. Use one of the Learning Journals to reflect on what worked well with the to-do list, and on what will help for the next time.

Formal Training/Education

Other Trainings:

 

Time Management

Definition: The process of organizing and planning how to divide one’s time between specific activities, and thereby allows one to work effectively and efficiently

Tips

Consider these suggestions when you are busy and need to be organized and use your time efficiently:

  • Goals–before creating a plan or list, you need to understand what is a priority and what is unimportant

  • Plan–write down a daily plan or list on the tasks you are going to accomplish

  • Delegate–be aware of what you are capable on completing alone, and

  • Focus–avoid trying to multitask by attending to one thing at a time

  • Deadline–create a firm personal deadline a few days before a task really needs to be completed so that you never fall behind

  • Monitor–perform periodic check-ins with yourself to ensure that you stay on schedule . Print and reference the Time Management Matrix (PDF) when determining your priorities and to-dos

 

“The key is not in spending time, but in investing it.”

                                                                                                                                               — Stephen R. Covey

Self-Directed Learning Activities

Relevant Readings:

Books:

  • Allen, D., & Fallows, J. (2015). Getting things done: The art of stress-free productivity (PDF). New York: Penguin Group.

  • Tracy, B. (2007). Eat that frog!: 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

  • Vanderkam, L. (2013). What the most successful people do before breakfast: And two other short guidelines to achieving more at work and home. New York: The Penguin Group.

Podcasts/Videos:

Guided Learning Activities

Experiences:

  • When creating your to-do list at the beginning of the day (see planning and organizing resource) try using the Priority Matrix (Planning and Organization) to help determine which tasks are most important, and in what order they should be accomplished. Use one of the Learning Journals to reflect after practicing the Priority Matrix. Assess what went right and where you could improve, and analyze the overall outcome. For more information click HERE.

  • Start keeping a daily planner/scheduler (EXCEL) so that you can dedicate specific blocks of time to important tasks. This planner should include 15-30 minute blocks of time, as well as space for details on the tasks you plan to work on. There is a daily planner template located in the Planning folder of the SDP resources, but fee free to make your own tailored to your specific needs.Use one of the Learning Journals to reflect after using the daily planner. Assess what went right and where you could improve, and analyze the overall outcome.

Formal Training/Education

School and Course Module(s):

Northwest College:

CO/M 2015 –Leadership Skills: This course is designed to educate specified groups in effective leadership skills. It includes discussion and practice in teamwork, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, planning, conflict management, and social responsibility.

MGT 2100 -Principles of Management: Covers objectives, planning, organization of resources, human relations, coping with change and conflict, and controlling as management responsibilities. Includes appropriate behavioral and management science applications to the management process.

 

Casper College:

Principles of Management -MGT 2100: Analyzes objectives, policies, organizational structure, material and human resource utilization, human relations, planning, innovating, and controlling as management responsibilities. Students also study and discuss current activities in specific areas of business and industry.

Eastern Wyoming College:

MGT 1000 Introduction to Supervision: This course seeks to develop an understanding and appreciation of the basic concepts of supervision, to include planning, organizing, human resources management, directing, and controlling. Topics covered also include motivation, delegation, leadership, communications, team-building, total quality management, and discipline.