The Golden Knight Film Festival
This semester the Project Management students will be organizing a short film festival. As the students learn about the process stages along with the core and facilitating functions of project management, they will be creating their very own short film. In order to complete the short film and organize a film festival, the students will have to complete several smaller projects along the way. The students will learn what it takes to be an effective project manager. The job of a project manager is complex and requires a variety of personal traits and skills. This will be a challenging semester, but hopefully a fun endeavor.
Project #1 - Project Management Overview
• What is project management?
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of a project, namely, achieving its goals and objectives. Increasingly businesses organize their work around projects. Project management is important because, when done properly, it increases product or service quality, improves communication, reduces risks of failure, and increases the chances of project success.
• What are the process stages of project management?
a. Initiating, which are the activities performed to define a new project or a new phase of an existing project. Initiating activities include the definition of initial scope, identification of initial financial resource commitments, identification of stakeholders, selection of the project manager, establishment of a project charter, and getting full authorization for the project.
b. Planning, which are the activities performed in order to establish the total scope of the project, define and refine the objectives, and develop the course of action that will be followed to achieve the objectives.
c. Executing, which are the activities performed to carry out and complete the work as defined in the project management plan. Executing activities include coordinating people and resources and performing and integrating the activities as specified in the project plan.
d. Monitoring and controlling, which are the activities performed to track, review, and regulate the execution of the project; identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; and initiate corresponding changes.
e. Closing, which are the activities performed to finalize the project – to bring it to a conclusion and to meet contractual obligations. Closing activities include obtaining acceptance by the customer or sponsor, conducting post-project or phase-end review, recording impacts, documenting lessons learned, and closing out procurements.
• What are the core and facilitating functions of project management?
Four Core Functions
a. Scope, which defines the boundaries of the project and what is outside those boundaries. The boundaries are typically defined in terms of objectives, deliverables, and resources (e.g., time, personnel, money). The more aspects of scope you can identify, the better off your project will be.
b. Time, which involves establishing a timeline for completion of the project, including deadlines, benchmarks, and milestones.
c. Cost, which is the amount of money that will be required to complete the project successfully.
d. Quality, which refers to the ability of a process or product to satisfy both stated and implied needs, with those needs being defined by the stakeholders.
Four Facilitating Functions
a. Human resources are the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes of those working on the project.
b. Communication is a two-way process of reaching mutual understanding in which participants not only exchange information, but also create and share meaning. Communication may involve conventional or unconventional means, take linguistic or nonlinguistic forms, and occur through spoken or other modes.
c. A Risk is a threat of a damage, liability, loss, or other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities, and that may be minimized or neutralized through preemptive action.
d. Procurement is the way that businesses and organizations purchase or obtain goods or services. Procurement may involve specifications development, price negotiation, purchase orders, purchasing, inventory control, and invoices.
Project #2 - Coordinating Schedules and Resources
• What procedures can be used to coordinate schedules and other resources to most efficiently manage a project?
A time line is a graphical representation drawn on a time scale in which key tasks or project events are marked in the sequence of their occurrence.
Scheduling establishes the timelines, delivery and availability of project resources, whether they be personnel, inventory or capital. A project schedule provides realistic milestones for the completion of tasks through the lifespan of the project.
A benchmark is a point of reference used to compare previous similar activities to the current project activities and provide a standard to measure performance. A milestone is a significant event in the project, usually completion of a major deliverable
Project resources are anything that are required to complete a project, including, but not limited to, team members, tools, vendors, and materials.
5. Project Scheduling Software (Microsoft Excel)
Microsoft Excel can be used to design Gantt charts for the purpose of project planning.
Efficiency is the degree to which a project is completed successfully with the minimum amount of time, money, and effort. Efficiency is often contrasted with effectiveness, which is the degree to which the completion of a project produces a specific desired effect or result. A project can be effective but not efficient (that is, get the job done but requiring more time and money than was planned or budgeted).
7. Critical Path Method
The Critical Path Method (CPM) a way of doing planning for projects that are made up of a number of individual activities. If some of the activities require other activities to finish before they can start, then the project becomes a complex web of activities.
8. Gantt Chart
A Gantt chart is a graphical representation of the duration of tasks against the progression of time. A Gantt chart is a useful tool for planning and scheduling projects.
9. Jigsaw Method
Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a group to specialize in one aspect of a learning unit. Just as in a jigsaw puzzle, each piece--each student's part--is essential for the completion and full understanding of the final product. If each student's part is essential, then each student is essential. That is what makes the Jigsaw instructional strategy so effective.
Project #3 - Screenwriting with a Team Concept
• How can a project manager instill the team concept and take advantage of team member diversity and group dynamics?
A group is a collection of three or more people that is formed for some purpose (e.g., complete work that is too difficult or complex for one person to complete, provide support for one another). Groups differ in terms of their type, structure, roles, norms, and cohesiveness.
2. Group Dynamics
Group Dynamics is a social theory proposed by Bruce Tuckman in the 1960s and now widely accepted. The theory states that groups through predicable stages as they begin and carry out their work. The five stages are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.
3. Group Interactions
Group Interactions are the ways in which personalities, agenda, and goals of the individual group members affect the way the group functions (or does not function) and the work it accomplishes (or fails to accomplish). Group interactions also include the ways that group members treat one another and ways in which their personalities affect other members of the group.
4. Group Roles
Group roles are the jobs or functions that people have within a group. These roles can be grouped into three categories: task roles (e.g., coordinator), social-interpersonal roles (e.g., encourager), and dysfunctional roles (e.g., dominator).
5. Nonverbal Cues
Nonverbal cues are ways of sending messages to others without the use of spoken or written language. A researcher at UCLA concluded that as much as 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Examples of nonverbal cues are facial expressions, body movements and posture, gestures, eye contact, space, and touch.
Personality can be defined as the sum total of a person’s behavioral and emotional qualities or characteristics. A personality type is a category of people with similar qualities or characteristics. For example, people often distinguish people with so-called Type A personalities from those with so-called Type B personalities. Type As are ambitious, competitive, impatient, and “tightly wound.” In contrast, Type Bs are easy-going, relaxed, and patient. In the business world, one of the most common ways of understanding personality types is the Myers-Briggs classification system.
7. Team Concept
The team concept is a modern business model that is based on the belief that people who work effectively in teams can accomplish more than individuals can accomplish working alone. Building the team concept requires that project managers get each team member to personally commit to the team’s goal. In a well-functioning team, members understand the personalities and motivations of the members and communicate clearly to avoid misunderstanding and to ensure that the goal will be met.
8. Synthesize Information
To synthesize information means to compile ideas into a coherent whole that combines the diverse views and organizes them to show the relationship and differences among them.
Unlike our common understanding, an argument, as the term is used in oral and written communication, is NOT a heated disagreement about some issue. Rather, an argument is a connected series of statements that lead to and support a conclusion. There are three stages to an argument: Premises, Inference, and Conclusion.
Project #4 - Storyboard and Risk Management
• How can you anticipate problems that occur when executing projects and deal with them effectively so you can close the projects successfully?
A Risk is an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a negative effect on the success of a project. Many things are uncertain; risks are those uncertainties that will negatively impact the project should they occur. For example, in planning an outdoor activity, the weather is a risk. Nice weather will likely impact the project positively, whereas rain will likely have the opposite effect. Rain, then, is a risk. In Project Management, risks may also be called “threats.”
2. Risk Management
Risk Management is the component of Project Management that is concerned with uncertainties that may arise during execution and closing and how to deal with those uncertainties in ways that increase the chances of project success. The objectives of Risk Management are to increase the probability and impact of positive events and decrease the probability and impact of negative events in the project.
3. Risk Management Plan
The Risk Management Plan contains at least four stages: (a) risk identification, (b) risk assessment/analysis, (c) planned risk responses, and (d) monitoring (tracking) and controlling risks. Some writers divide risk analysis into two parts: qualitative risk analysis and quantitative risk analysis. Simply stated, qualitative deals with words (e.g., “very good”); quantitative deals with numbers (e.g., 8 on a 10-point scale).
4. Risk Identification
Risk Identification is the process of determining those factors outside the control of the project manager and his or her team that may affect project success. The objectives of risk identification are to (1) identify and categorize risks that could affect the project and (2) document these risks. There are many techniques that are used to identify risks. Among the most common are SWOT analysis, checklists, and cause-effect diagrams. The outcome of risk identification is a list of all possible risks.
5. SWOT Analysis
A SWOT Analysis is a technique that results in the identification of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT). Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. Opportunities and threats are external factors. A SWOT analysis typically begins with brainstorming and concludes with the collection of additional information.
6. Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS)
Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS) is an organized breakdown of the risks associated with a project. The top levels of the structure are general risk categories (e.g., schedule, cost, and scope). Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed description of possible risks within each category. Within the cost category, for example, you may have lack of funding, inflation uncertainties, labor rate changes, inexperienced estimators).
7. Risk Assessment
Risk Assessment involves determining (1) the probability (or likelihood) of each threat actually occurring and (2) the cost of the threat if it does occur. The level of risk (R) can be determined by multiplying the probability (P) by the cost or impact (C or I). That is, R = P x C or R = P x I. Because both probabilities and costs can be estimated using numbers, this called a quantitative assessment of risk. Risk can also be estimated more generally using words such as “seldom” for probability and “catastrophic” for cost. This is called a qualitative assessment. For qualitative assessments, the use of a risk assessment matrix is suggested.
8. Planned Risk Responses
Planned Risk Responses describe what will be done if a threat actually happens. Typically, planned risk responses are developed for those threats that are most likely to happen and/or those with the greatest costs should they happen. There are four general ways of dealing with threats: change the project to avoid threat, take positive action to reduce the threat, accept the consequences if the threat happens, and design a contingency plan just in case the threat happens. One of the best ways of coming up with planned risk responses is to rely on the experiences of people who have encountered similar threats in the past and have been successful at eliminating them or minimizing their impact. Consequently, web-based research and interviews with project managers are good ways of planning risk responses.
9. Monitoring (Tracking) and Controlling Risks
Monitoring (Tracking) and Controlling Risks is a process of keeping a watchful eye on the project to see if any of the threats emerge and intervening as necessary to control those threats. One of the best ways to monitor and control risks is by developing and using a risk log.
PROJECT #5 - Shooting a Short Film
PROJECT #6 - Editing a Short Film with Optimization, Maximization, Quality, and Cost
• How do concerns for optimization and maximization impact the scope and quality of a project? What is the relationship among quality, cost management, and procurement?
Quality has many definitions. What seems to be common among the definitions is that quality has something to do with the degree of excellence of something (for example, quality of life). In manufacturing, quality can be defined in terms of the absence of defects, deficiencies, or significant variations. In most of the business world, quality means meeting the needs of customers or consumers.
2. Project Quality Management
Project quality management is an approach to management in which the focus or emphasis is on quality. Project quality management focuses on three major project outcomes.
Project quality management includes three basic processes: quality planning, quality control, and quality assurance.
4. Maximization and Optimization
When planning projects, there are two generally competing concerns: maximization and optimization. With maximization cost is of no concern. The emphasis is on quality regardless of cost. In contrast, with optimization the emphasis is on the best quality that one can produce with the money available. Those operating within a maximization perspective define quality and then go about finding the money necessary to achieve quality. America’s desire to put a man on the moon focused on maximization. In most cases, however, there is a limited supply of money. Therefore, most projects operate from an optimization perspective.
5. Project Cost Management
Project cost management includes the processes involved in estimating, budgeting, and controlling costs so that the project can be completed within the approved budget. The ability to influence costs is greatest in the early stages of projects, so having a clear description of project scope is very important.
a. Estimating costs requires developing a detailed or itemized approximation of money need to complete all project activities. Cost estimates should be based on accurate units of measure for each activity (e.g., hours of work, unit cost of materials). Cost estimates should be rounded to the nearest precision point (e.g., $100 or $1,000).
b. Budgeting involves totaling the estimated costs for individual activities or groups of activities to establish a cost baseline.
c. Controlling costs requires the development of a procurement plan as well as the monitoring of the status of the project with updates made to cost estimates and the total cost baseline.
6. Procurement Management
Procurement management is a systematic method of purchasing or otherwise obtaining goods and services. The primary stakeholders of procurement are vendors. Procurement management typically includes procedures for promoting fair and open competition for the provision of goods and services, minimizing exposure to fraud and collusion.
7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Reduce, reuse, and recycle are three ways of reducing the negative impact of humans on their environment. We can reduce the amount and toxicity of our trash. We can reuse many of our products rather than throw them away. We can recycle products so they come back to us in a new and useable form.
8. Waste Management
Waste management is the collection, transport, processing, or disposal of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment, or aesthetics.
9. Waste Management Plan
A waste management plan, also known as a materials management plan, is a document that identifies the specific waste materials (e.g., drink containers, paper products, human waste) and indicates the proper way of dealing with each material in an environmentally-friendly way.