Project Management For Idiots: Part 2 – The Project Management Triangle


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Prior to my recent crash course introduction to project management at the University of Auckland, I had no idea what the project management triangle was.

It seems kinda basic now.  To be honest, I feel like an idiot for not knowing this despite having worked on a number of projects where this language is used all the time.

However, it’s also possible that my experience is typical for people like me who don’t have a background in project management but end up rising to the level of their incompetence eventually.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • The triangle models the constraints of the project.
  • Sometimes this is called the triple constraints of project management.
  • The constraints are time (or schedule), cost (or budget) and scope (or deliverables).
  • These constraints are areas where changes are introduced.
  • Together they determine the quality of a project.
  • The key is to balance these constraints throughout the project.
  • It’s an iterative process as changes are going to occur throughout the project.

This is part of a series I’m writing on the basics of project management. You can read the others here:

And it’s part of my self-imposed professional development for 2018 which I’m calling the NMBAMBA – The Non-MBA, MBA.

Any comments? Nope. That’s fine.

Project management for Idiots: Part 1 – Some Basics


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Here are five thoughts about project management from my recent course at the Business School at Auckland University.

  1. All knowledge work is project work.
  2. Tidying my room is not a project.
  3. Other people are necessary.
  4. There is a budget.
  5. There is a framework.

This is part of my non-MBA, MBA. It’s the second in my mini-series of project management.

And it’s “for idiots” because I’m an idiot for not looking into this seriously before now.

1. All knowledge work is project work

 

I kinda despise the term, but these days I’m a knowledge worker. At least until I run away to sea and join a band of pirates.

My job now is more or less digital and I often work with people who are geographically dispersed.

I’m not sitting on the beach in Bali sipping cocktails. At least not yet.

It’s a far cry from the couple of thousand hours of classroom-based training that I did through the late 90s and early 00s.

But here is my recent realisation – a pithy aphorism that I’m certain that I’ve plagiarised from somewhere:

  • All knowledge work is project work.

2. Tidying my room is not a project

Tidying my room or cooking dinner is not a project.

I’m might consider it to be a project, but it’s not. At least not in the language of project management.

It’s a task.

A task is the lowest building block of a project. A task typically involves one person, it’s just little and often the timeframe is short.

In other words, it’s just me.

Tasks require time management and projects require project management.

3. Other people are necessary

Project management implies other people. Other people are a necessary evil in project management.

For proper project management methodology to make sense you really need to be working with 6 to 12 people over 6 to 12 months.

Projects contain multiple tasks and project success is often driven by the actions of others.

4. There is a budget

A project has a budget and a good project manager needs to be across the budget.

This is another blindspot for me personally. I’m OK with basic stuff, but anything that starts to sound like accounting gives me an instant headache.

This is on my list of things to fix. I don’t need to become and accountant, but I’d like to understand how it all works a bit more than I do now.

4. There is a framework

Project management has a recognised framework from a recognised body of knowledge. I didn’t realise this was the case.

It’s a new discipline relatively speaking. But it’s highly formalised. The body of knowledge is about 1000 pages long.

I haven’t read it, but here’s a summary in three lines:

  • Organise. Why and who for?
  • Plan: timeline and costing
  • Control (paperwork) and Direct (getting people to do stuff). These last two are in parallel.

Thoughts…? Let me know in the comments.

The Future of Work is Project Work


The future of work, at least for me, is project work. At least it seems that way at the moment.

So… welcome to the new work order.

But project management is really one of my blindspots.

Working in education, I have a background in training, not project management, or any kind of management really.

I’m Ok with deep domain knowledge in my obscure field, but I’ve always felt out of my depth when it comes to project management.

It’s weird because in education we are constantly surrounded by the language of project management but my impression is that no one really knows what this language means.

As part of my DIY non-MBA, MBA, I’m trying to get some new ideas but also address my blindspots.

I’m slowly working through a list of things that interest me or that I think are going to help me:

Shoe school is a little left-field, I admit but that’s gonna have to wait for another time.

Most recently, I took the two-day Project Management course.

Afterwards, I caught up with the super wonderful, Wen Goble – Programmes Advisor at the Business School’s Education Education division.

She asked me a couple of questions which we recorded for the video above. Notes and other takeaways will follow soon.

 

 

How do I use macrons for words in Te Reo Māori in gmail on my Mac?


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Don Brash came to me in a dream the other night and told me that I needed to figure out how to use macrons on my computer when I’m writing words in Te Reo Māori.

Actually, I’m not sure it was Don Brash. But I did figure it out.

If you’re curious, a macron is a line above a vowel. This shows that it should be spoken as a long vowel sound. For example, as in Taupō.

The meanings of words change depending on whether the vowel is short or long. For example, “keke” means cake. But kēkē means armpit.

That’s an important distinction. And I’d be interested to know if this leads to puns in Te Reo (and possibly Dad jokes).

Here are the details if you’re an Apple Mac user:

  • Click on the Apple logo in the top left and choose System Preferences.
  • Click Language & Region.
  • Click Keyboard Preferences.
  • Click the + icon and find Maori in the list.
  • Click Add.
  • Optionally, tick Show input menu in menu bar.

After I tried this, the keyboard didn’t immediately work with macrons but started adding small circles above the vowels instead.

The problem was that I was defaulting to the Australian keyboard. I deleted the Australian keyboard from the list and fixed the problem. I’m guessing that I could have probably kept it and changed the order.

To type a macronised vowel now I simply hold down Alt / Option on my Mac and then the vowel. Or with with the Shift key to type an uppercase macronised vowel.

It’s a different procedure if you’re on a Windows PC and you can find full information for all operating systems here.

I wanted this for Gmail purposes, but it’s system-wide. That means that I’ve also solved the problem for typing in WordPress and in Google Docs. I had a workaround for Google Docs but this is a lot faster.

I still need to get into the habit of using macrons. And I’ll probably forget a lot of the time. Also, I know there are plenty of words that use macrons that I’m unaware of.

So… here’s my strategy. I’m just going to pick a few that I use often and start with those.

  • Māori
  • Pākehā
  • Tāupo
  • Whānau
  • Kōrero
  • Mōrena
  • Tēnā koe
  • Kia ora kōrua
  • Ngā mihi

What words do you use often in Te Reo that have macrons?

AFTER: Guidance for Supervisor or Verifier Comments


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Read this if

  • You are acting as supervisor or verifier for someone who is completing their NZCALNE (Voc) qualification.
  • You need to sign off on the final piece of work that one of your tutors is about to hand it before completing the NZCALNE (Voc).

Download the guidance for supervisors or verifiers

This is all contained in one PDF you can download here below. The download shows a copy of the actual template as well.

What does the supervisor or verifier need to do?

If you are the supervisor or verifier for someone completing the NZCALNE (Voc), you need to discuss the review questions with the candidate and record your comments. You can use the template on the following page or adapt to your own purposes as you need.

Collaboration between the candidate and you to review teaching delivery is one of the requirements of the NZCALNE (Voc). It’s also good teaching practice. We can’t sign off on the whole qualification unless we have some evidence of this.

For our purposes, a supervisor may include any of the following:

  • The tutor’s direct manager or programme leader.
  • A colleague that is acting as study support person.
  • Someone in management that has already acted as a supervisor or verifier for another part of this training and qualification.

What’s covered?

To sign off the final assessment task, we need evidence that tutor and supervisor have reviewed the teaching and facilitation in several areas. The best way to think of these is in regards to three reflective questions:

  • What are their strengths?
  • What are some potential improvements for future delivery?
  • How does any of this inform planning for the candidate’s professional development?

This review should be a friendly collaboration and two-way conversation. It could include teaching observation evidence, but it doesn’t have to. It’s not a performance review for internal promotional or salary review.

What do I have to do?

As their supervisor, we expect that you are already aware that the candidate is completing this qualification. You may have already verified your portfolio evidence for other parts of the course.

It’s the candidate’s job to:

  • Make the arrangements to meet with you.
  • Provide any evidence or assessment material you may wish to see in relation to this final assessment task or any part of the programme.
  • Provide you with an electronic copy of the Supervisor or Verifier Comments and Checklist template.
  • Negotiate how and when this template is completed by you.
  • Return the completed template to us as part of their supporting evidence for this final assessment task.

As supervisor or verifier, it’s your job to provide us with:

  • Your contact details including email and phone.
  • Details of when this review took place
  • Brief summary comments relating to the three reflective questions. As a guide, you might write one or two concise paragraphs totalling about 100 words for each of these. We won’t be counting words. Quality here is more important that quantity so feel free to keep it brief.
  • Your signature and date of signing at the end.

Download the guidance here for supervisors and verifiers including notes showing where and what to write for your candidate:

 

How do I enrol in TEACH BETTER NOW…? How do I enrol in the NZCALNE (Voc)…?


If you are teaching foundation education at any level, you need to be qualified and on a continuing professional development journey.

You need to start this journey through the Teach Better Now programme available on Pathways Awarua.

At the heart of this is the new New Zealand Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Vocational/Workplace) – the NZCALNE (Voc).

There is a cost for assessment and gaining the credential. But it’s free to register on the website and you’ll have access to all of the course content.

Here’s what you need to do to kickstart your foundation learning professional development journey for this year:

 

  1. Register on Pathways Awarua if you haven’t already.
  2. Join our virtual classroom.
  3. Enrol in the qualification.
  4. Get started on the coursework and first assessment.

FIRST: Register on Pathways Awarua

1. You need to register on http://www.pathwaysawarua.com as a tertiary educator. If you are already registered, then go to step 5 below and join our virtual classroom.

2. Enter your details in the form including a username and password.

3. If you start typing the name of your organisation or employer it should appear in the box. Then add a name for your class, accept the terms and conditions and click Register. If you are an independent contractor please use the code 8888.

4. Once registered you should see a screen like this below. Ignore the code on the right. This is for you to use with your own learners later. Right now you just need to click the link on the left for the new NZCALNE (Voc).

SECOND: Move yourself into our virtual classroom

5. Now you should see the main NZCALNE screen below. Next, you need to join our virtual class. Click the head icon to go to your account settings. If you’ve already done this you can go to step 8 and enrol.

6. Enter the join code 1622DD to join our virtual class. Then tick the box to move to this class.

7. Save your settings and return to the main NZCALNE pathway.

Third: Enrol in the NZCALNE (Voc)

8. Now you can enrol in the programme. Make sure that the enrolment module is selected. Then click start. If you’ve already enrolled and you’ve also moved into our virtual classroom, you can go to the last step.

9. Read through the enrolment information.

10. Fill in the enrolment form with as many details as you can. Then save and move to the next screen.

11. If you can’t fill in everything, you’ll see a screen like this below. But you’ll still be able to move forward. Just click the arrow on the right. Or click Retry to add more info.

12. From here, you need to show that you understand some of the conditions of enrolment. And you need to let us know if you have access to learners of your own and whether you’ve done other study at level 4 or above.

13. Nearly done… Add your employer and supervisor’s details.

14. Complete the self-assessment. There are two pages.

15. If you are an experienced TESOL teacher please add details here. Likewise, if you are a very experienced trades or vocational trainer with existing evidence and you want us to consider this please add details here.

16. Add your timeframe

17. Review the summary of your enrolment and save

18. Drag the box ALEC1 Admin to submit for comment

19. You’re done…! Click the link for the new NZCALNE (Voc) to return to the main course pathway.

FOURTH: Get started on the course

20. Get started…!

Teach better now – Where’s the new content for Assessment 7 of the NZCALNE (Voc)?


Kia ora and welcome to Collection 7

If you’re reading this then you are up to Assessment 7 in the new and improved NZCALNE (Voc).

That means you are up to the final assessment task in the programme…! This next part is about assessing learner progress, reviewing your teaching and working out the next steps.

As always, you can find this content on Graeme’s blog first. It will be live on Pathways Awarua shortly.

If you do stop by Graeme’s Blog, please comment. Let us know what’s useful and what’s not. Our model is a dynamic one and we’re always tinkering with programme content and assessment tasks where we can. You can help us continue to improve the experience.

There are four sections in Collection 7:

  • 7.1 Just do it: Progress assessment
  • 7.2 What does it mean?
  • 7.3 Collecting some final information
  • 7.4 Reviewing your teaching and next steps

If you find that you already know what you’re doing for a particular part of this collection, then feel free to skip ahead to the next relevant section.

Or start with the assessment template and dip into this material as you need to. Email us if you don’t already have the template and checklist.

Otherwise, work your way through as usual. Here are the links you need to different parts of this collection.

Follow the links below

Here’s the overview for the final collection.

7.1 Just do it: Progress assessment

7.2 What does it mean?

7.3 Collecting some final information

7.4 Reviewing your teaching and next steps

If you’re stuck, please get in touch with us by email here: assess@alec.ac.nz or by texting or calling Graeme on 0800-ALEC-1-2.