Bill MacKenty

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Project Management in Education

Posted in Educational Tech Leadership on 28 - February 2012 at 11:15 PM (12 years ago). 199 views.

Do tasks, milestones, resources, work-breakdown-structures, gantt charts, PERT charts, and TCQ belong in K-12 education?

As I grow in my role as a director of technology, the ability to effectively plan and organize has emerged as a key skill. Last year I realized I sucked, horribly, at large-scale project planning. I have just finished a project management course (not a certification course, thank you very much), and I am very excited about what I learned!

In a nutshell, I have learned to spend much more time planning, really getting clear about scope (and vision), deliverable tasks, milestones, and map resources. I presented this to the leadership team today, and I think it was well received; my essential message was "when you come to IT with a project, we are going to spend much more time getting really clear about what you want, mapping the time and resources, and delivering a high-quality solution for your team".

I am reading everything I can get my hands on. Here's the current list:

(this next one isn't quite related to project management)

Just the idea of brainstorming every task related to a project and then scheduling those tasks makes me feel so much more relaxed. I also like the democratic nature of the planning. For example, we'll get everyone related to a project in a room, and they will think of every possible task needing to be addressed for a project. Then we will schedule the tasks (using sticky notes), identify resources, and finally slurp all that into a project management tool (we'll probably go with MS Project 2010 standard). This will then give us a clear picture of our project and tasks - and who is doing what. Moreover, we will have clarity about how long a project will take, what resources we will use, and even basic costs (if I do costs - I might not).

I don't have a clear vision for how we will assign and track tasks once the project commences. Our small team is very high functioning, and I dont need to manage a whole lot, but I am thinking a lot more about the "management" part of project management. It seems like many of the tools online (attask, wrike, 5pm, basecamp) are designed to monitor task performance - which is important - but for me, it is the planning that is uber-sexy.

I'll write more later.