Interact/Project Management

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Course Number: PP-210

Course Description

This course covers key competencies in the different facets of managing a project, including managing team and client interactions. Students will learn essential skills from the ability to provide structure at the foundling stages of the project, to estimating and projecting budgets, as well as developing and managing a project timeline for ensured project success.

Prerequisites

Recommended Textbook(s)

Recommended Reading

Please see the Assignments for the corresponding recommended readings.

Technologies Required

Software or hardware requirements:

  • text editor
  • project management tool (online)
  • time-tracking and invoicing tool (online)
  • timeline/gantt chart tool (open source)

Competencies

Project phase Topic¹ Competency Evaluation (assignments)
¹pm=Project Management, cm=Client Management, tm=Team Management
0-pm foundations all
  • Understand various approaches to project management
  • Understand the uniqueness and challenges of tech/web project management
  • Understand the methods and techniques for managing multiple projects simultaneously
  • Articulate what a project is and how it differs from operational work
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate effectively and consistently with all project members, both internal and external
  • Demonstrate ability to work in groups/teams for a common goal
  • Recognize and understand the importance of each element of a web team and their role in a project
All assignments
1-initiation pm
  • determine project scope and budget
  • present project overview & summary
  • present project timeline and scope
Project Brief
1-initiation pm
  • identify and analyse potential risks
  • plan for dealing with risks
Risk Planning Workshop
1-initiation pm
  • identify project phases and critical tasks and task priorities
  • identify project deliverables
Project Timeline
1-initiation pm
  • determine estimation methods for project tasks
  • create a timeline using both methods
Project Timeline
1-initiation pm
  • develop/promote sense of team cooperation
Chinese Whispers
2-kick-off cm
  • present project overview & summary,
  • present project timeline and scope,
  • demonstrate ability to run an efficient meeting: identify meeting goals, critical message, troubleshoot and garner action steps
Project Kickoff
2-kick-off cm
  • evaluate a client's personality profile
  • demonstrate ability to establish appropriate communication style, tone and approach
Communication Quadrant
2-kick-off cm
  • develop/promote sense of team cooperation
  • evaluate team members' strengths and weaknesses
  • demonstrate ability to help client clarify priorities
Project Kickoff
2-kick-off tm
  • develop/promote sense of team cooperation
  • clarify project specifications
Internal project kick-off meeting
2-kick-off tm
  • create supporting project documentation to facilitate project organization
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate effectively and consistently with all project members, both internal and external
Continual project assessment
3-implementation cm
  • Demonstrate ability to work in groups/teams for a common goal
Using communications
3-implementation tm
  • develop/promote sense of team cooperation,
  • evaluate team members' strengths and weaknesses
Skills evaluation
3-implementation cm Create a project hand-off document Hand-off document
3-implementation pm
  • Demonstrate ability to work in groups/teams for a common goal
  • demonstrate continual project assessment
Continual project assessment
4-completion pm
  • create supporting project documentation to facilitate project organization
Hand-off document, weekly status reports
4-completion tm
  • devise and conduct a project post-mortem,
  • develop/promote sense of team cooperation
Post-mortem
5-all cm, pm, tm
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate effectively and consistently with all project members, both internal and external
  • demonstrate continual project assessment
Weekly status reports

Assignments

Project Brief

Assignment: Project plan & brief

Section: Team management

Phase: Kick-off

Type: project support documentation

Goals

Students learn how to create a real-world deliverable: a project brief that facilitates clarifying the project definition for both the client and the internal team. Students begin to conceptualize the project and what is involved early in the process. Students learn to create a document that serves as an accountability tool for the team, the project manager and the client.

Readings

  • Sample RFP
  • Communication brief worksheet
  • Web ReDesign 2.0: Workflow That Works, Chapters 2, 3, 10
  • Web Project Management, Chapter 4
  • Scrappy Project Management, Chapter 5
  • Making Things Happen, Chapters 7, 15

Assignment

1. Write a description of the project (approximately 600 words). Include:

  • Project purpose: who is the client? what is the purpose of the project? what are its business goals?
  • Project scope: what are we producing?
  • Project sponsors & stakeholders: who are the major decision-makers who have sign-off capacity? What is their contact information?
  • Success criteria & quality definition: are these your criteria of success or the client’s criteria?
  • Project constraints, assumptions and dependencies.
  • Resources: what human resources, technologies, applications and tools do we have?
  • Project budget
  • Milestones
  • project time/cost estimation: what is the proposed estimated project length? How many hours will it take to complete the project within budget in the given amount of time? What is the preliminary estimated timeline for the project?

2. Describe the process you will use to address this project and what are the key reasons for doing so. You can choose to describe either waterfall, modified waterfall or an agile process.

  • what are the phases of the project?
  • what can the client expect from the project team during each phase?
  • what are the expectations and responsibilities of the client during each phase?
  • what will be the project deliverables?

3. Describe what solution you will implement in order to fulfill the project goals (approximately 500 words).


Category 4 3 2 1
Project purpose and scope The project purpose is well defined: the client is described well, the scope of the project and the project goals are clear and understandable. The project purpose is mostly defined: the client is described moderately, the scope of the project and the project goals are mostly clear and understandable. Some of the project purpose is defined: the client is described only partially, the scope of the project and the project goals are partially clear and understandable. Little if any of the project purpose is defined: the client description is inaccurate, the scope of the project and the project goals are unclear and difficult to understand.
Stakeholders / sponsors All of the stakeholders/sponsors have accurate and complete contact information. The stakeholders/sponsors have accurate and mostly complete contact information. Some stakeholders/sponsors have accurate and mostly complete contact information. Few if any of the stakeholders/sponsors have accurate and complete contact information.
Success criteria and quality definition The success criteria is itemized, accurate and complete. The success criteria is itemized, mostly accurate and mostly complete. The success criteria is itemized, partially accurate and somewhat complete. The success criteria is poorly itemized, potentially inaccurate and incomplete.
Project constraints, assumptions and dependencies Project constraints are clearly and comprehensively outlined, complete with assumptions and dependencies. Project constraints are clearly outlined, complete with assumptions and dependencies. Project constraints are partially outlined, with some assumptions and dependencies. Project constraints not poorly outlined, with some assumptions and dependencies.
Resources Resources are comprehensively listed. Resources are mostly listed. Resources are partially listed. Resources are incomplete.
Budget The project budget is itemized, accurate and complete. The project budget is itemized, mostly accurate and mostly complete. The project budget is itemized, partially accurate and somewhat complete. The project budget is poorly itemized, potentially inaccurate and incomplete.
Milestones Milestones are comprehensively indicated. Most milestones are indicated. Milestones are partially indicated. Some or few milestones are indicated.
Time/cost estimation The time/cost estimations are clear and accurate. The time/cost estimations are mostly clear and accurate. The time/cost estimations are only partially clear and accurate. The time/cost estimations are only unclear and of questionable accuracy.
Process The explanation of the project process is clear, easy to understand, and follows a natural progression. Roles and participation of parties involved is clearly explained. The explanation of the project process is fairly clear, moderately understandable, and mostly follows a natural progression. Roles and participation of parties involved is moderately explained. The explanation of the project process is only partially clear and understandable, and only slightly follows a natural progression. Roles and participation of parties involved are not fully explained. The explanation of the project process is unclear and not understandable, and only does not follow a natural progression. Roles and participation of parties involved are unclear or not explained.
Project solution proposal Description is clear, concise and states what activities that will be undertaken, as well as an appropriate technological solution. Description is clear, concise, mentioning most activities that will be undertaken, as well as an appropriate technological solution. Description is vague, too long (or too short) mentioning some activities that will be undertaken and a fairly appropriate technological solution. Description is vague, too long (or too short) mentioning some activities that will be undertaken and an inappropriate technological solution.
Presentation The scope document is well-organized, consistently formatted, and has a very professional presentation/look and feel. The scope document is mostly organized and consistently formatted, and has a moderatly professional presentation/look and feel. The scope document is only somewhat organized and consistently formatted, and has a slight professional presentation/look and feel. The scope document is poorly organized and inconsistently formatted, and completely lacks a professional presentation/look and feel.

Project Timeline

Assignment: Project Timeline

Section: Project management

Phase: Initiation

Type: group brainstorm & project support documentation

Class organisation suggestion

The teacher assigns rotating roles of class members to create teams that include at least:

  • one project manager
  • one graphics designer
  • one user experience designer
  • one front-end engineer
  • one back-end developer

Readings

Planning Activities flow

Planning activities flow.gif

Goals

Students learn how to develop a project timeline and allocate project resources using either the traditional or agile methodology.

Students can determine feasibility of each, and explain which one they would choose for a particular project.

Traditional method:

  1. Determine project phases (analysis, design, etc), tasks (brainstorm, concept, design, development) and outputs (wireframes, design mock-ups etc) that have to be done in each.
  2. Work with team members to estimate the amount of work each tasks will take. Note any assumptions or constraints. Assign resource to each task.
  3. Draw up a Gantt chart, a network diagram or timeline. You may use a project management tool to generate this.
  4. Identify internal and external dependencies, and any critical paths and near-critical paths.
  5. Identify key milestones, including required meetings: client reviews, client hand-offs
  6. Briefly describe how the timeline, and therefore the project would be affected if a client is late with one of their deliverables (e.g. providing copy)

Bonus points:

  • Identify internal deliverables of tasks on the timeline
  • Briefly describe what kind of projects is best suited to waterfall (and why), and when it is necessarily to adapt the simple waterfall model for a more iterative development.


Category 4 3 2 1
Project phases All project phases and tasks are clearly defined and complete. Project phases and tasks are mostly defined. Some project phases are defined and some tasks are defined. Some project phases are defined but project tasks missing.
Time estimation All tasks have reasonable time estimations and all estimations are supported by project/scope assumptions. Reasoning and approach behind estimates are clearly and comprehensively documented. All tasks have reasonable time estimations, some estimations supported by project/scope assumptions. Reasoning and approach behind estimates are clearly documented. Tasks have questionable time estimations, some estimations supported by project/scope assumptions (which may also be incorrect or unreasonable). Reasoning and approach behind estimates are partially documented. Tasks have unreasonable time estimations with no supporting project/scope assumptions. Reasoning and approach behind estimates are not well documented.
Resources All tasks are assigned a resource. Most tasks are assigned a resource. Some tasks are assigned a resource. Very few resources are assigned.
Timeline/roadmap All tasks, deliverables, milestones, dependencies and time estimations are accounted for in the timeline. Critical paths are identified if applicable. Required internal meetings, client reviews and client-hand-off meetings are comprehensively noted. All tasks, deliverables, milestones, dependencies and time estimations are accounted for in the timeline. Critical paths are identified if applicable. Some internal meetings, client reviews and client hand-off meetings are noted. Most tasks, deliverables, milestones, dependencies and time estimations are accounted for in the timeline. Critical paths, internal meetings, client reviews and client hand-off meetings are not comprehensively noted. Some tasks, deliverables, milestones, dependencies and time estimations are accounted for in the timeline. Critical paths, internal meetings, client reviews and client hand-off meetings are not comprehensively noted.
Timeline adjustment scenario Description mentions correct shifts on the timeline that are required and impact on project delivery. Description also mentions communicating the impact to the team. Description mentions correct shifts on the timeline that are required and impact on project delivery. Description mentions shifts on the timeline that are partially correct and impact on project delivery. Description mention shifts on the timeline that are partially correct.
Internal deliverables (bonus)     All internal deliverables of tasks are noted. Some internal deliverables of tasks are noted.
Suitability (bonus)     Projects/workstreams most suited to the waterfall model are identified. Reasoning correct and complete. Projects/workstreams most suited to waterfall model are identified. Reasoning missing, incomplete or incorrect.

Notes on rubrics: The main form of assessment is not that there is necessarily a right/wrong answer, more that the student understands the decisions they have made. Real projects sometimes require creative solutions, it’s more important that the student grasps the consequences project decisions rather than follow a rote waterfall model.

Agile method:

  1. From the RFP, write a set of main user stories. Document any justifications, assumptions or constraints.
  2. Work with team members to estimate story points and an initial velocity. Document any assumptions on estimations. Assign resource to each story. If you cannot assign a resource, explain why.
  3. Draw up a roadmap or end-to-end plan, showing what’s going to be on at which iteration. Identify how/when each iteration will be full initiated, planned, executed and closed. You may use a scrum/agile development management tool to generate this.
  4. Identify points where design & UX design would have to take place for relevant stories
  5. Identify key milestones/releases
  6. Briefly describe how you would adjust the stories in each iteration after you have established a steady velocity

Bonus points:

  • Identify internal deliverables based on user stories.
  • Briefly describe what kind of projects is best suited to agile, and why.


Category 4 3 2 1
User stories User stories are complete. Priorities are adequately supported by justifications and assumptions. User stories are reasonably complete. Priorities are partially supported by justifications and assumptions. User stories are somewhat complete. Priorities are not adequately supported by justifications and assumptions. User stories are incomplete. Assumptions and justifications are missing or inadequate.
Time estimation / velocity All user stories have reasonable story points and are supported by comprehensive and clearly documented assumptions. Velocity is correctly calculated. All user stories have reasonable story points and some estimations supported by clearly documented assumptions. Velocity is correct calculated. User stories have questionable story points and some estimations supported by assumptions (which may also be incorrect or unreasonable). Velocity is included but may or may not be correct. User stories have unreasonable time estimations with no supporting assumptions. Velocity is included but incorrect.
Resources All user stories are assigned a resource. Or, if a few user stories are not assigned resources,  justification is provided. Most user stories are assigned a resource. If a few user stories are not assigned resources, justification is provided. Some user stories are assigned a resource, and justification is provided. Few user stories are assigned a resource, and inadequate or no justification is provided.
Roadmap All user stories correctly set out in appropriate iterations. Key milestones are noted. Points where design efforts are required are noted. All user stories correctly set out in appropriate iterations. Key milestones are noted. Points where design efforts are required are partially indicated. Most user stories correctly set out in iterations. Key milestones and points where design efforts are required are not comprehensively noted. Some user stories correctly set out in iterations. Key milestones and points where design efforts are required are not comprehensively noted.
Adjusting velocity Description mentions how more or less stories are placed in particular iterations, and describes impact on key milestones. Description also mentions communicating the impact to the team. Description mentions how more or less stories are placed in particular iterations, and describes impact on key milestones. Description mentions how more or less stories are placed in particular iterations, and partially describes impact on key milestones. Description mentions how more or less stories are placed in particular iterations.
Internal deliverables (bonus)     All internal deliverables of user stories are noted. Some internal deliverables of user stories are noted.
Suitability (bonus)     Projects/workstreams most suited to agile development are identified. Reasoning correct and complete. Projects/workstreams most suited to agile development are identified. Reasoning missing, incomplete or incorrect.

Internal Project Kick-off Meeting

Assignment: Internal project kick-off meeting

Section: Team management

Phase:  Kick-off

Type: Role-play

Class organisation

The teacher assigns rotating roles of class members to create teams that include at least:

  • one project manager
  • one graphics designer
  • one user experience designer
  • one front-end engineer
  • one back-end developer

Goals:

Students practice how to communicate a project’s goals to a team, get feedback on the schedule and establish accountability for deliverables.

Readings:

Assignment:

Prior to the meeting, the project manager sends out a meeting agenda.

The project manager presents the project description and project plan, including accountabilities, and assigns someone to take meeting minutes.

Working with the team, establish how realistic the project plan is for each deliverable.

Assignment outcome:

Meeting minutes of which changes have been made to the original project plan as well as additional questions and assumptions that arise to feed back to the client.


Category 4 3 2 1
Presentation Presentation is clear and to the point, clearly describing the project problem and proposed solution. The project plan is clearly communicated, including who is accountable for which tasks, when tasks need to be done by, how we know they are completed satisfactorily. Presentation is reasonably clear and to the point, describing the project problem and proposed solution. The project plan is communicated, including who is accountable for which task, when tasks need to be done by, how we know they are completed satisfactorily. Presentation is average, not very comprehensive or clear, describing the project problem and proposed solution. The project plan is communicated, including who is accountable for which tasks, when tasks need to be done by, how we know they are completed satisfactorily. Presentation is long-winded, covers some description of the project problem and proposed solution but is somewhat incomplete. The project plan is communicated, but assignments, tasks timelines and quality criteria are not made clear and explicit.
Meeting agenda Meeting objectives are clearly defined, items of discussion are listed and written in an actionable manner. Meeting objectives are reasonably clearly stated, items of discussion are listed. Meeting objectives are vague, items of discussion are incomplete and somewhat actionable. Meeting objectives not specific enough, items of discussion are not actionable.
Meeting management Meeting is kept on track and on time, all points are covered, and all action points are assigned. Meeting runs over time, all points are covered and all action points are assigned. Meeting runs over time, most points are covered, action items established. Meeting runs over time, not all points are covered and action points are not explicitly stated.
Meeting minutes Minutes are readable, comprehensive, mentioning attendees, problems raised, solutions decided upon and clear action points assigned to team members. Minutes are readable and fairly comprehensive, mentioning some problems raised, solutions decided upon, and clear action points. Minutes are fairly readable but not comprehensive, mentions some problem raised, some solutions decided upon and lacking clear action points. Minutes are unclear, and not comprehensive, missing problems raised, solutions decided upon and lacking action points.
Contribution Routinely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Not afraid to challenge an idea constructively. A definite leader who contributes a lot of effort. Usually provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Hesitant to challenge ideas. A strong group member who tries hard. Sometimes provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Does not challenge existing ideas. A satisfactory group member who does what is required. Rarely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. May refuse to participate.
Working with others Almost always listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Tries to keep people working well together. Usually listens to, shares, with, and supports the efforts of others. Does not cause “waves” in the group. Often listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others, but sometimes is not a good team member. Rarely listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Often is not a good team player.

Continual Project Assessment

Assignment: Continual project assessment

Section: Project management

Phase: Implementation

Type: group/role-play / project support documentation

Goals:

Students learn to communicate project progress with internal team members and preparing communications for external clients.

Readings:

Optional resource: Project report template

Part 1

The design for a key feature (choose one) has taken two days longer than first estimated.

  1. Update your project plan to reflect the project status.
  2. Set up an agenda for the team meeting.
  3. With a team, communicate and discuss what needs to be done for the week.
    • Reiterate major deliverable dates
    • Identify risks (e.g. this delay impacts development time), and how your team can work to get around this problem.

Write a summary message of this meeting to your team.

Part 2

A client has indicated new features need to be included, but the timeline cannot change. Identify risks with your team, and discuss what you will do to address this issue.

Write a summary message to the client.


Category 4 3 2 1
Contributions Routinely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Not afraid to challenge an idea constructively. A definite leader who contributes a lot of effort. Usually provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Hesitant to challenge ideas. A strong group member who tries hard. Sometimes provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Does not challenge existing ideas. A satisfactory group member who does what is required. Rarely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. May refuse to participate.
Working with others Almost always listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Tries to keep people working well together. Usually listens to, shares, with, and supports the efforts of others. Does not cause “waves” in the group. Often listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others, but sometimes is not a good team member. Rarely listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Often is not a good team player.
Meeting agenda Meeting objectives are clearly defined, items of discussion are listed and written in an actionable manner. Meeting objectives are reasonably clearly stated, items of discussion are listed. Meeting objectives are vague, items of discussion are incomplete and somewhat actionable. Meeting objectives not specific enough, items of discussion are not actionable.
Meeting management Meeting is kept on track and on time, all points are covered, and all action points are assigned. Meeting runs over time, all points are covered and all action points are assigned. Meeting runs over time, most points are covered, action items established. Meeting runs over time, not all points are covered and action points are not explicitly stated.
Summary message to team Summary is readable, comprehensive, mentioning attendees, problems raised, solutions decided upon and clear action points assigned to team members. Summary is readable and fairly comprehensive, mentioning some problems raised, solutions decided upon, and clear action points. Summary is fairly readable but not comprehensive, mentions some problem raised, some solutions decided upon and lacking clear action points. Summary is unclear, and not comprehensive, missing problems raised, solutions decided upon and lacking action points.
Summary message to client Summary is readable and concise, clearly reiterating the issue, and the team’s proposed solution. Summary indicates clearly what the next steps will be. Summary is readable and concise, clearly reiterating the issue, and the team’s proposed solution. Summary is fairly readable (too long or too short), does not reiterate the issue, but states the team’s proposed solution. Summary is unclear (too long or too short), does not reiterate the issue nor clearly states the team’s proposed solution.

Skills Evaluation

Assignment: Skills evaluation

Section: Team management

Phase: Implementation

Type: group/role-play

Goals

Students self-evaluate and investigate what they consider their skills, strengths and weaknesses.

Assignment

In groups of 4 or 5, write down a list of your skills, strengths and weakness.

Discuss with each other:

  • past experiences that leads you to believe why you are good or bad at something
  • what you would like to get better at
  • what steps you can take to get better at certain skills

Rubrics:

Grade on attendance and participation.

Notes:

This assignment can be done twice: beginning of the term/semester and at the end of the term/semester.


Category 4 3 2 1
Contribution Routinely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Not afraid to challenge an idea constructively. A definite leader who contributes a lot of effort. Usually provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Hesitant to challenge ideas. A strong group member who tries hard. Sometimes provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Does not challenge existing ideas. A satisfactory group member who does what is required. Rarely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. May refuse to participate.
Working with others Almost always listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Tries to keep people working well together. Usually listens to, shares, with, and supports the efforts of others. Does not cause “waves” in the group. Often listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others, but sometimes is not a good team member. Rarely listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Often is not a good team player.

Post-mortem

Assignment: Post-mortem

Section: Team management

Phase: Completion

Type: Document creation/role-play

Goals:

Students learn to devise and conduct a project post-mortem.

Readings

Preparation:

All team members to look over a project case-study and identify problem areas, and prepare a list of possible improvements.

Case study needs to include things that went wrong in different project points (e.g. developers took too long to work on a feature, account planning included too much to build in designated time. etc)

Team members attend the post-mortem with their assigned roles.

Assignment:

The team and clients share different perspectives of what went wrong in the project and discuss possible improvements.

Submit a complete report outlining issues, summarizing discussion points and proposed improvements.


Category 4 3 2 1
Preparation Problem areas are identified and a list of possible improvements suggested. Most problem areas are identified and some improvements suggested. Some problem areas are identified and a few improvements suggested. A few problem areas identified, no improvements suggested.
Contribution Routinely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Not afraid to challenge an idea constructively. A definite leader who contributes a lot of effort. Usually provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Hesitant to challenge ideas. A strong group member who tries hard. Sometimes provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. Does not challenge existing ideas. A satisfactory group member who does what is required. Rarely provides useful ideas when participating in the group and in classroom discussion. May refuse to participate.
Working with others Almost always listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Tries to keep people working well together. Usually listens to, shares, with, and supports the efforts of others. Does not cause “waves” in the group. Often listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others, but sometimes is not a good team member. Rarely listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others. Often is not a good team player.
Report Report is well-written, has a positive or neutral tone, and comprehensively analyzes issues, clearly summarizes discussion points and proposed improvements. Report shows a depth of analysis. Report is fairly well-written and moderately comprehensive, has a positive or neutral tone, mentions issues, summarizes discussion points and proposed improvements. Report shows some analysis. Report is average but not comprehensive, mentions some issues, discussion points and proposed improvements. Report shows no analysis. Report is not well-written, mentions some issues, discussion points and proposed improvements, but lacking critical points and shows no analysis.

Recommended Readings for Assignments

Examination Questions

Resources

Contributors

Primary Course Developers: Denise Jacobs and Stephanie Troeth

Course Reviewer: Martin Burns