Project Management

On the 30th October, I attended the Project Management training conducted by the University of Leicester. I think it was successful in its aim of providing attendees with skills and tips to help manage their own projects, and this was down to its practical nature. I’m sometimes sceptical of theory-laden presentations on practical methods as I feel that they aren’t very good at relating well to the topic at hand; there’s only so much you can get out of reading about applied techniques, but how are you to get a feel for them without giving them a go? So I was really glad that, for this course, this wasn’t the case.

 The discussions within the teams were a good way of finding out about everyone else’s project and it was interesting to see the variations from one project to another. I put my project and all its sub-tasks through SMART and recieved constructive feedback and tips from the course leader and my team. For example, the time it would take me to carry out some parts of my current project (the extensive literature review) first seemed hard to measure as I had not previously carried out a literature search of that scale. Having a statistical method of double-checking my rough estimates through PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) was therefore useful and will be beneficial if I am ever in a situation of producing a new project proposal in future.

The course was full of simple yet key points (or what I term ‘project gems’). A favourite of mine was the importance of acknowledging the difference between ‘Plans’ and ‘Planning’. Allowing for changes to the overarching ‘plan’ through ‘planning’ doesnt necessarily mean that the original ‘plan’ was wrong, the two are simply different in nature with one being more dynamic than the other.  

Read, read and read some more

There’s no shortcut to conducting a thorough systematic literature review. It’s not the actually find it quite It. The thing I find most challenging is knowing when to continue reading because the text is of interest to me or because it is of interest to study and myself.So, as I’ve been conducting the literature review, I have summarised the data on collection to aid with its synthesis in the future. Reviewing the data as it is collected keeps me actively engaged with the content and also acts as a reminder to read and re-read the research question. By reading the question numerous times, my focus remains on the topic which is very important . It is very easy to go off on a research tangent, pursuing articles that are of personal interest without realising their worth (or often lack of worth) to the task at hand.