Sunday, September 18, 2011

Project Post Mortem

I was asked this week to discuss a past project that I was a part of that failed or did not reach the expected outcomes. It took me a while to think of an example, and as I type these words I am silently praying for a better example than the one I am most likely about to give. But as the beginning of the school year, with so many changes, the brain can only do so much. So my example will have to be as follows.

Last year I went to a training on a website that teachers in my city were able to find their testing statistics and scores. At the actual training I learned that the site could generate worksheets, additional tests and other items based on individual scores. I was very interested in the program and could see how it could benefit our school (the lowest in the district) and teachers in raising test scores. After talking with the principal (whom I has a less than desirable relationship with) I was given one week to develop a training to present to the staff.

With this limited timeline to develop a training about a product I was excited about but had only had 2 hours of training on and limited usage, I was frantic to try and piece something together. My presentation ended up being a simple power point that I hardly used because of the uncomfortable space and slow computer that I was given for my trainings. I was also only given 25 minutes to share this information with each grade level, so that students were not left for long periods of time with a substitute. "Because employees' training time causes managers to be shorthanded during the training period, it is important that the project team focus on what employees need to know versus what would be nice to know. So the training ended up focusing on the basics of the program instead of the "bells and whistles" that set it apart from other data driven websites.

Because I was so intrigued by the massive abilities of the program I was able to convey this excitement in the trainings. Teachers were interested in using the program to push their test scores and use the offerings as supplements to their lessons. I ended up having private lessons with those teachers who were really interested in the additional aspects of the program so they could fully understand how to work the site.
I really believe that if I had been given more than a week to plan and more than 25 minutes to share the training would have been more of a success. Even with the limitations several teachers were able to use the program to help them move their students academically.

Murphy, C. (1994). Utilizing project management techniques in the design of instructional materials. Performance & Instruction, 33(3), 9–11.

1 comment:

  1. Danielle:
    As you indicated, time seemed to have been a major constraint in this project. However, I believe that your ability to use your excitement to energize and motivate your students contributed your success. Murphy (2004) contends that employees chosen as project leaders should be “energetic, realistic, self-confident, systematic”, and should be able to “motivate and co-ordinate large groups of highly trained people” (p. 10). Your performance certainly exemplifies these traits.

    Murphy, C. (1994). Utilizing project management techniques in the design of instructional materials. Performance & Instruction, 33(3), 9–11.
    Copyright by John Wiley & Sons, Inc