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3Reflective Journal

Reflective Journal (Project Management)

Introduction

The project management course has added a wealth of knowledge and experience in my life. Project management is the process that involves the application of knowledge, tools, techniques and skills to activities in a project for the purpose of meeting the project requirements (US Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation 2015, 3).

Selection of Exercise 1 and the Key Issues Covered

As part of the reflection, I intend to focus on two exercises that have had a significant impact on the knowledge I have gained in the project management course. The exercises touch on various topics and lessons in the course.

Selection of Exercises

The first exercise that has contributed to the most valuable lessons that I have learned in the project management is the exercise of project planning.

Key Issues Covered

The exercise on project planning mainly touches on the need for initial planning before the commencement of a project. The exercise was covered in lesson two which involved defining the project. The exercise was meant to emphasize the need for a project manager to think ahead and plan for a project.

Valuable lessons

I have learnt several valuable lessons based on the exercise discussed above. Project planning is an important stage in project management because it provides an opportunity for the project manager to think through the entire project. Through the exercise of project planning, I was able to understand the need for a project manager to work with the team to ensure that the scope of the project is clearly defined, the priorities of the project are discussed and outlined, the budget for the project and the risks involved. Other than discussions on the importance of project planning, the course instructor engaged us in exercises that required us to make project plans to help us apply the theoretical knowledge gained from the course. I have learnt that it is important for the project manager to ensure that the project objectives are set out in the initial stage of the project to ensure that the team is aware of the result of the project (Baars 2006, 2).

Possible Application of the Lessons Learned

The lessons learned can be applied in real projects carried out in places of work or the community. One can be hired in different companies as part of a team responsible for working on a particular project. During such time, I would apply the lessons learnt such as the importance of project planning, work allocation, and risk management. Other than applying this knowledge in the workplace, these lessons can also be applied in school work. Where a student is working on school projects or reports, issues such as planning and identification of risks are important to ensure that the project or report is successful. These lessons can also be applied in real life because life is all about planning to ensure that each decision achieves a particular goal.

Barriers to the Application of the Lessons Learned and Gaps in Personal Learning

Despite the fact that I have learnt valuable lessons in project management course, the greatest gap in personal learning is the application of the theory or knowledge gained in practical situations. One can only internalize the issues learnt through working on a real project. In some cases, the project manager may have left out some details of planning when the project starts. In such a case, it is not clear how the members of the team should respond in trying to ensure that the issue is covered.

Connection of the Lessons to other Readings and Subjects

The planning phase of a project is crucial because it entails considering all the stages required for the project and outlining the resources necessary for each stage (City of Chandler 2015, 19). However, when handling project planning, several other topics are covered such as the budget of the project, the recruitment of the necessary personnel, the project management structures and other aspects of project management.

How the Course has changed my ideas on Project Management

I did not know how important project management is until I had the opportunity to study the course. Through studying project management course, I now know that the success of each project depends on how well it is planned and managed. Studying project management course has also enabled me to look at factors such as the organizational culture when planning for a project. The organizational culture is important in identifying whether or not the workers are keen on observing it to ensure uniformity in the performance of their duties in the course of the project. This is also the same with the organizational strategy (Newton 2015, 12).

Selection of Exercise 2

The second exercise that has contributed to the most valuable lessons that I have learned in the project management is the Rock n Bands case study.

Key Issues Covered

The Rock n Bands case study touched on issues of project planning, allocation of workers to the project schedule and being mindful of the project budget.

Valuable Lessons

The Rock n Bands case study was about the development of a plan for a whole project and allocating workers to the project schedule. The allocation of workers in a project is important because it also affects the budget of the entire project (Hoffman and Kohut, 2013, 46). I have learnt that in work allocation, one must ensure that the workers are qualified for the work assigned. This is to ensure that the quality of the work done is high and that the work is done within the timeframe required. Any delays in a project mean additional cost for the project.

I have learnt that work allocation is closely connected to the creation of the work breakdown structure in a project. A work breakdown structure is an outline of the products as well as the work elements that are necessary for a project (US Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation 2015, 7). One of the functions of the work breakdown structure is to help in assigning responsibilities to organizational units and individuals. Through the Rock n Bands case study I have learnt the importance of creating a work breakdown structure to not only help in work allocation but also in other stages of the planning process. Other advantages of the work breakdown structure are to facilitate the evaluation of cost and time that is required for a project. Further, the work breakdown structure helps to manage the plan and budget of the project.

Possible Application of the Lessons Learned

Work allocation is an important concept for a project manager. I hope one day to be a project manager and, given such an opportunity, I would ensure that the process of allocation of work is well thought-out. As a project manager, the lesson on work allocation is important because I would have to ensure that I apply the skills and knowledge learnt to choose qualified personnel for the project. The selection process is also an important part of work allocation since a project manager has to recruit persons who form the team for the project. The process of selection would also involve ensuring that each person is fit for the part they are assigned in the course of the project. I would need to create the work breakdown structure to ensure that all the work elements for the project are listed and that each stage of the project has qualified personnel to perform the required tasks.

Barriers to the Application of the Lessons Learned and Gaps in Personal Learning

The major gap in my personal learning is the fact that I did not understand the need for a work breakdown structure while all the information in such a structure is contained in the project plan. I consider the creation of such a structure as repetition having already prepared a project plan for the entire project. Such a gap would be a barrier to the successful application of the lesson learned regarding the creation of a work breakdown structure.

Connection of the Lesson to other Readings and Subjects

Project management is also closely connected to other subjects such as leadership. A project manager must have the required leadership skills to ensure smooth coordination of the project activities. The manager needs to know how to relate well to the workers in his/her team. The manager also needs to understand the needs of the team and be capable of motivating the team members for the entire duration of the project. The project manager’s ability to create effective communication with the team members also reflects on the success of the project.

How the Course has changed my Ideas on Project Management

Studying project management has taught me that the success of a project does not only depend on the effectiveness of the manager but also on the personnel or the team involved in the project. I have learnt that a project manager does not only need to plan well for the project but also ensure that the personnel involved in the project are qualified. As a project manager, I have learnt that the allocation of work is an important step in ensuring the success of a project. A project manager has to ensure that in work breakdown structure is prepared in such a way that each stage of the project has the necessary personnel. It also entails balancing the personnel required for the project with the resources available such as the budget and the facilities allocated for the project ((US Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation 2015, 6).

Conclusion

Project management as a course has made a significant change in my life. Before studying the course, I did not know how important project managers are and that without them the chances of success in a project are minimal. Through-out the course I have learnt that project management is necessary in ensuring the quality of the project and the product resulting from such project. A project manager must outline each stage of the plan to identify and address any risks that may emerge.

References

Baars, W 2006, Project management handbook, Data Archiving and Networked Services, The Hague.

City of Chandler 2015, Project management methodology and step-by-step guide to successful projects, Available at: https://www.chandleraz.gov/Content/PM000PMMethodologyGDE.pdf [Accessed 9 July 2016]

Hoffman, E and Kohut, M 2013, NASA’s journey to project management excellence, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Newton, P 2015, Principles of Project Management, Available at: http://www.free-management-ebooks.com/dldebk-pdf/fme-project-principles.pdf [Accessed 9 July 2016]

US Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation 2015, An introduction to project management, Available at: http://www.usbr.gov/excellence/Finals/FinalIntroPM.pdf [Accessed 9 July 2016]