About Project Critical Thinking Example
Good project management discipline is the only way to overcome many issues in organization. Possession of a good project management skills does not mean that you will not have problems. This does not mean that you will avoid all risks, and you will not have any surprises. The present value of project management is that you have standard processes in place to deal with any surprises.
Processes and project management techniques are used to coordinate resources to achieve predictable results. However, you must openly recognize that project management is not an exact science and never give a guarantee of success. Since the project often involves a lot of people and circumstances, there may always complexity that cannot be fully controlled.
Startup is a new project that requires a good management. Especially, it is very important to pay attention to the project management when you work on your startup project the first stage. Project management rules look similar for different projects. But nor every manager is 100% sure that these recommendations are appropriate for the startup. Being a student I decided to start my own business related to the IT sphere. Thus all tools of project management were used in practice.
Startup, perhaps is the only place where student can become the director. In the case of this project the so-called theory was confirmed by two students of technical university. Taking into account that the most important component of startup is valuable I decided not to waste the time and to implement the idea as soon as it could be possible.
IT project represents the mobile application development oriented on the travelers. The main purpose is to add some fun in travels. For our project we chose the Android mobile platform because of the target audience. Many people in Europe have the Android based mobiles.
At the beginning it is necessary to devise the hypothesis. After this team may do the appropriate experiment to check it. And the last step is the analyses.
The beginning of project
At the beginning we were entirely wrong that our idea should be financed. Following this aim we decided to try hand at the different incubator programs. In spite of this mistake we did a great job. Our first but really powerful step was the Canvas model creation. We remake it many times performing finally the best representation of our project. Even we visited the biggest business conferences to speak with investors. Due to the Canvas model we could describe the target audience putting somebody of our team in the place of future client. This method really helped us. Finally we chose the best tool for this purpose. It sounds not professionally but it was the Facebook search. It allows to indicate the all characteristics of future target audience. By the way you may know the approximate quantity of users in media. Of course our future users use Facebook. Nor is that the end of the story. We created two communities for different target audiences in Facebook and Vk.com where we posted all relevant information as for our project. We manually use spam to gather future users and at the same time we collected the feedback. Social media is the best environment to involve the poll opinion. And the most pleasant thing is that you may do it in the other target community groups.
The team familiarized itself with roles of management in the process of project implementation. First of all our team was concentrated on product production. We were looking around for good programmers who may accept the challenge and make a good application for Android platform. Since we were the students of technical university and participants of such student organizations as AIESEC and BEST fortunately we didn’t face the problem of good programmer lack. Thus our team consider the one role of management.
The first role of management - to produce a result that makes an organization successful in the short term. Why do clients come to you? What services do they need? These thoughts disturb our mind very often. So, our job as a producer - to satisfy their needs. We have to rate this work possible by the number of customers who have applied to our company for the services / products. We hired two programmers who admired the way we want to spend a lot of time. They appreciated the idea as well.
So it is quite impossible not to say about vision of project. These people foresee the direction and development of the organization and build the proactive behavior of the company to provide a long-term success. This is the role of entrepreneur who connects creativity with the desire to experiment and take risks. If this role is performed well enough, then there will be problems with new products and services for today's and tomorrow's customers. My companion played this vital role in our project. He was so-called generator of ideas that he wanted to implement in any case.
Finally, management is considered to integrate, which means to create a system of values that motivate people in the organization to cooperate ensuring the effectiveness of the company for many years. Healthy organization is effective and efficient in the short and long term.
Leader must have a well-developed two or three roles, one of which must be integration, while all other roles must be presented at least at a minimum acceptable level. Accordingly, there is a very large number of leadership styles. If one is not presented at all, there is a corresponding style of inefficient management.
According to the efficient management our team could play the role of administration, production, integration and entrepreneurship. But at the first steps we face some problems relate to the inefficient management.
My companion was the person with greatly expressed characteristics of entrepreneur. It means this manager has a lot of ideas - some good, some worse. But there are too many such ideas. He's like a child – shoves a hand, even without listening task. At the meetings, this man says more than anyone. A lot of energy, weak focusing on the topic of conversation are typical for him. If this person doesn’t appear himself like a producer at all, the team will not make to stop the fountain of ideas. He will try to grab the ideas one by one and finally he will finish no one.
In practice we faced the same problem. His point of view really influenced our work. This problem was the significant example of inefficient management. He likes chaos: he experiences a true delight, watching the sensation produced in the office because of his new ideas. He wants to maximize short-term effect, and gets it, generating a local crisis. My companion dislikes details and he strives to implement all ideas at once. Sometimes it is difficult to understand his point. He is very busy because of many opportunities and he doesn’t take into account any risks or threats of organization. He could be a threat for the organization. He is aimed to implement as many ideas as possible. This man can drain and the organization and its resources, and individual employees. He may ignore the expectations of other employees. Therefore we changed our idea many times. Thus our team wasn’t constant in decisions and general view of project.
During our common wok we face the next style of inefficient management. It is named like “lonely ranger”. One of our programmers played this role. "The Lonely Ranger" focuses on what to do, but not how. He doesn’t particularly worry if he does the right thing or not - the important thing is to do something at least. This person is focused on independent work, "The Lonely Ranger" hates meeting. If it is necessary to come to the meeting, he will be extremely dissatisfied.
In practice programmer prefers to work at home and not to take part in meeting discussion. As for him the task plays the vital role. "The Lonely Ranger" is neutral in idea discussion and he does not consider this time to be very useful. The organization led by "lone ranger" cannot grow, because he is not growing, he is inflexible and primitive. He quickly burns at work or becomes old-fashioned. Thus we had such a problem to involve him in our meeting discussions. Thus at the beginning we were confident in ourselves.
One of our cofounders had a weak characteristics of “super follower”. This is another type of inefficient management. For these people it is typical to be significantly integrated. He is constantly adapting. He wants everything to go smoothly. He is trying to figure out which plan will satisfy the most of people. Since he has no original ideas, it is very easy to convince him. “Super follower” always support to the popular point of view. This person may play the role of so-called “weathercock”. He constantly support the team goals.
These presented roles of inefficient management have one expressed characteristic like entrepreneur, producer or integrator. Fortunately, we didn’t have another type of inefficient management as absence of all characteristics. These people are limited in their interests. If you would like to find them in your organization you need to change something because they cannot resist the changes in general.
Therefore, we were aimed to build a team of managers who can complement each other. To hire people like you – is not a good idea. For instance, we realize that people with significantly expressed characters of producer and administrator cannot interact with good entrepreneur and integrator at the same time. The problem is that producers and administrators are oriented on the short-term prospects unlike the entrepreneurs and integrators. When entrepreneur speaks the whole time about vision, administrator are focused on the details. Thus at the meeting there are some conflicts.
Organizational conflict - is a consequence of differences in the team that is more normal than the entire agreement and peace. The conflict is absolutely necessary and important component of good management. If you are a manager, but you do not like to be a mediator between people, if you dislike differences of opinions and to be in the center of communicational process, you have chosen the wrong profession. During our discussions we adopted to the right understanding of points. You have to take into account the roles of management when you hear your opponent to understand the right key.
Correct structure of the duties may become the important factor in efficient management as well. Sophisticated organizational structure comprises distinct elements: structure of responsibility, the structure of authority, commission and ascendancy, reward structure. The organization should be able to determine who and how made the contribution to its success (or lack thereof). Responsibility - is more than a duty. Employee performs the task and takes the whole responsibility for its realization. Authority, commission and ascendancy are the tools that may be used to achieve the goals. The reward system motivates employees to use the commission. A person can have the relevant commission and can understand the responsibility to have enough ascendancy for the tasks, but will not feel privilege until there will be no rewards.
According to this project management knowledge we could solve many conflicts adding some transparency in our idea. The all roles were considered by the members of our team. I could manage with every new proposition, feedback and build the system of efficient management. People with significant characteristics of producer and entrepreneur were responsible for the finances and marketing. There were selected people with characteristics of producer and administrator for the human recourses and production. Person who has integrator and producer criteria was responsible for sales. Accounting is s sphere of a good administrator. Hiring people you have to find out the style of his or her management.
The easiest way is to give him the opportunity to ask you exactly ten questions related to the future position. Analyzing the answer you may realize the better future position for your candidate. You should convince other people to cooperate with you to achieve the successful management. The core of management is the idea sale. If you are not able to sell, then you cannot control.
People with expressed characteristics of producer and administrator have to pay attention to such disciplines as sales, engineering and marketing. For the future administrators it is desirable to use different tools that may help in management and administration.
People with expressed characteristics of entrepreneur and integrator should follow the democratization and decentralization of the organization. The reason is that personnel may develop such criteria taking part in the process of decision making.
It is necessary to divide the concept of "delegation" and "decentralization", they are not synonymous. Delegation means to allow the employees to accept the predicted decision.
Following the purpose of comprehensive management our team used the real experience on methodology – “Scrum”. We didn’t follow the all technics of Scrum. Only some structures and software are used for our efficient management. Taking into account that we worked on the IT startup the “sprint” direction of Scrum was the best decision. The duration of sprint is 2 weeks. One week is not enough time and one month is too much. Therefore 2 weeks for us is the best option. The first day of the sprint is intended for planning. Sometimes it is necessary to spend 2 days. Planning is the process when team takes the list of highest priority requirements and divides them into tasks that may be converted in result. Each task is evaluated in hours. The problem should not take more time than 4 hours. If a team member said that he will make the task for 5 days, then he has no idea what to do.
The total number of hours in the sprint for each person is calculated knowing that sprint duration is 2 weeks or 10 working days. It is 80 hours minus one day of planning. Total 72 hour. But this is the perfect way. This means that a person does not eat, does not drink, does not get up from the seats, and work and not get tired. During the planning problem is evaluated perfectly. However, 72 hours have to be multiplied by a coefficient which is called the team performance. Usually it 0.5. Surprisingly, this is some sort of magic number.
Meetings play the vital role in the goal achievement. These meeting should be leaded in professional way. Everybody reports what he did and what was going to do today. This is a very powerful practice. Due to it everyone knows the direction of project development in general. In addition, when a person says that he will do today, it automatically coordinates with the other participants. Other participants can immediately offer the best solution. And written on the blackboard problem, and in fact it is a promise to all colleagues, very good motivates the performer. The only thing, ScrumMaster should not forget to announce that the meeting began.
Meetings should be leaded during 15 minutes. We begin meetings at 9am.
At the first stages of our project we could manage it due to Gantt chart. We did so-called online table with specialized columns like deadline, responsibility, the task position, task name and details. This structure of management really helped us at the first stages of our project development.
During the next period of our project we decided to involve the special software for the project management. MS Project is a specialized software aimed to plan projects of any complexity in the most effective way. We could define a list of milestones and project work, create schedules, calendar dates, set tasks and labor, prioritize, establish relationships, calculate the critical path, and so on. In addition, it is possible to support multiple partition works on the structural parts, corresponding to different representations of the project and taking into account its specificity.
It is obvious that our team required a good communication the whole time. For instance, when our entrepreneur devised new ideas he strived to share them even at night. Thus we decided to give up the usage of social media sites. We appreciate different startup since we are the beginners as well. Thus we decided to use the startup application “Kato”. This platform allows to create different rooms for communication. So we kept our relations due three environments. Our programmers created special room for their issue and we being the team of project managers did our personal one. The third environment of communication was used for the common chatting. “Kato” helped us to keep in touch when we were full of fresh ideas and relevant feedback.
We leaded our meeting every week. I tried to organize them in the professional manner. Following this purpose all members of our team submitted the mailing list of google. I created the group. Making the brief outline that included the major information about the aim of our meeting and time I informed people in advance.
Finally our team finished sprint and we were at the stage of experiment. We shared our application among two target audiences. Except a good feedback we achieved the little success. The most of people do like our project. By the way we involved one startup beginner from Paris. In spite of this application should be remade. Exactly our users defined the finish variant of product helping us to create the final application for market penetration. And at this step our project required financial support because the hypothesis was proved. During this period our programmers were significantly motivated because they could not realize that their product would become co valuable. When you complete the project it is necessary to bring it up, you should look back and see what results for the target group and your organization have been achieved. Thus we chose one day especially for the analysis. It was the day full of discussions and fresh ideas.
Being a project manager you should minutely investigate this discipline that covers tools, methods and useful software. But the literature of projects managements gives the advice in respect to the author who possibly had the right moment and right place. You should analyze the all approaches and implement in practice. The described above methods were efficient for IT startup. A good manager not only knows a lot of methods but knows how to use them in the most appropriate way for the project.
Adizes, I. (2004). Leading the leaders how to enrich your style of management and handle people whose style is different from yours. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Adizes Institute Pub.
Adizes, I. (2009). How to manage in times of crisis: (and how to avoid a crisis in the first place). Santa Barbara: Adizes Institute.
Klastorin, T. (2004). Project management: Tools and tradeoffs. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.
Pries, K., & Quigley, J. (2011). Scrum project management. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Schwaber, K. (2004). Agile project management with Scrum. Redmond, Wash.: Microsoft Press.
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