Tuesday, July 29, 2008

At DevCon 2008, I facilitated a workshop where about 67 of us tried to nail down specific challenges in creating the type of work we want to do, and opportunities for working around them. I asked everyone to focus on the first of 4 parts to successful projects: the global project strategy.

Here are some project Challenges and Opportunities we discovered through our C.O.P.E. strategy session:

Challenge / Group Defined Opportunities

Challenge: Defining Success
Group Opportunities: focus on desired business results, identify technical and soft skills to be used/developed, create incentives for learners, use collaborative tools and sites, share lessons learned after each project, align PO’s with strategic goals, use a robust PM tool and documentation tools

Challenge: Defining Effectiveness
Group Opportunities: Create a consortium of experts, justify requests (process), compare LOE / tools / projects with competition or other projects

Challenge: SME Participation and Performance
Group Opportunities: create a course “charter”, finding and documenting SME needs, create a written commitments, set clear expectations at kickoff, confirm LOE/buy-in, create course-level incentives for SMEs, define role and expectations (days/ways)

Challenge: Time Required or Invested in Projects
Group Opportunities: Bring training into planning sessions, define deliverable (possible) within time allocated, document level of effort expended on every project - by role

Challenge: Unrealistic Project Expectations
Group Opportunities: Always create a baseline of team performance through good documentation of previous projects, know when to add/amend time on project, confirm LO’s and PO’s follow-up evaluations on every project

The next day, I shared my Project Strategy: general opportunities using a COPE approach as step one of four in key steps toward better courses:

Agreement: every learning project has its share of ups and downs. We can reduce the highs and lows by creating a set of useful tools that can support our efforts and provide a little due diligence on every project. Here are some project-level C.O.P.E. tools my team uses on a general (varies by project) basis:

Tool/Technique: Reason:

Policies & Procedures: defining the practices/tools you will or will not use
R.E.D. Paper: Roles, expectations, and definitions for each role/stakeholder
BaseCamp (or other): a project management tool that helps individuals collaborate
MS Project (or other): some method to track time and effort on very large projects
Weekly reports: essential for maintaining communications
Change orders: essential for keeping projects within scope (as defined by client)
QA process: (MS, AP and organizational style guides) assures that projects meet style and usability guidelines, as well as basic spelling and grammar.

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