Carnival For Charity

MGT 598 – Project Management Group 6 Project

 The project’s idea was to run a carnival for charity event, which revolved around two main objectives, The First Objective is to create awareness regarding the cases of students who have learning disabilities and require a rehabilitation process in order to blend in with society.

The second objective of the project is to raise funds for the sole purpose of donating to the charity organization. The funds are to be generated on the day of the event through selling food such as corn, popcorn and various other items to the participants of the event.


Brief Description of the Charity organization:

We have chosen the Academic and Vocational Rehabilitation as our charity organization. The center is considered as a semi government entity that supports students with various disabilities, be it physical, or learning disabilities. Thus, the event had to take place within the property of the center.

This organization accepts charities or donations in any form, be it through providing a service to the center, donations, or items that the center might need to further aid the rehabilitation process for the students. The center has approved the event to be held on Tuesday 14 March 2017.

The team met with the management of the center and explained the idea of the project and the purpose or objective that the team was trying to achieve. Throughout the initial meeting, the center emphasized the importance of the privacy of the students, as they requested the team to limit the publicity of the event in order to ensure that the environment on the event day is controllable.



 Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives:

The team managed to hold the event with no major problems due to sticking to the responsibility matrix and risk response matrix. We devised a detail plan of action and risk assessment to ensure that everything was taken care of and ensuring that team members are fully aware of the tasks assigned to them.


The only major risk that was present on the day of the event was the risk of having bad weather (namely dust storm and rain on that day), which the team overcame by having a backup plan of shifting the event indoors. As the weather settled down, we managed to have the event indoors and outdoors which allowed more activities to be held throughout the carnival.


The team set out with two main goals and objectives, we set out to accomplish them by devising a detailed plan of action that included a work breakdown structure (WBS), responsibility matrix, risk assessment matrix and response matrix. Our main goal was to raise awareness for children who have learning and physical disabilities, as the targeted number of participants was 150 participant. The second objective was to raise a minimum of BD 100 on the event day from selling goods, consumables, and tickets for activities.


We were successful in meeting and exceeding the objectives that we initially set, as the number of participants reached 457 on the day of the event. In addition, the total revenue and donations that were gathered on the day of the event reached BD 1,195.




Lessons Learned:


  • Nothing is set in stone – the nature of projects is extremly unpredictable. Our team faced a hiccup in every step that we took in order to secure the delivery of our project and it was not a smooth process as we had planned for.


  • Take time to plan, but do not over do it. The nature of the project does not allow you enough time to over complicate objectives. Our team has come to an agreement on the second session due to the time constraints of the project. in addition, keep in mind that time openings for specific venues may not be in your favor as there are other teams who are on the lookout for a venue for their projects.


  • Communication – ensure that everyone is aware of the latest updates as soon as you can. The reason for that is that you do not want to waste time on tasks that are already completed by other members as your team cannot afford it due to the time constraints that you have.



For Future Teams:


  • Ensure that you have everything in writing. Having plans, matrixes and all over project related items in writing will smoothen the process and workflow of your project. The importance of documentation is often underestimated, as without documentation, our plan was surely to be in flux. Our team had one member who documented every plan, matrix, table, cost, item that was required for our event, and that has helped us achieve our goals.


  • Always have a backup plan. This relates to the various risks associated with projects, as there are factors that are out of the team’s control that could potentially jeopardize or even cancel the project as a whole.


  • Keep the ball rolling – Do not give up if a sponsor or a vendor rejects your request. Many teams face issues when they do not get approvals or acceptance from third parties, so it is always good to have a backup plan and keep seeking alternatives.       

Group 2 – Project Audit


  • Brief description of the project

The aim of our project was to produce and promote a safety training video targeted at women and families. The safety training video was filmed at National Fire Science Academy (FSA) in Jubail (Saudi Arabia), in accordance to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards which are utilized throughout the GCC region. The video focuses primarily on tackling incipient (basic) incidents that may occur in the home. The promotion of the video was through various social media channels and a charity organization. Our project team traveled all the way to Jubail, Saudi Arabia for a day to shoot the video. The trip helped the team members to even better understand one another and create a stronger bond among us to tackle and be able to achieve our group goal as one strong team.


  • Brief description of the charity

The Muharraq Communal Society was established in 2004 in the Kingdom of Bahrain and its headquarter is located in Muharraq City – Bahrain.

The main objectives of the Charity are:

  • Contribute in spreading awareness among the people living in Muharraq about their social rights and responsibilities.
  • Contribute in supporting the economic, cultural and social programs that benefit the citizens and push the country’s development forward.
  • Seek to maintain the historical unity of Muharraq and work toward protecting it.
  • Spread the concept of team work in the national and volunteer activities.
  • Spread the awareness among citizens about the role of the constitutional institutions and municipal councils.


  • Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

The main project deliverables as per the project plan were as follows:

  1. Produce a safety training video that is (2- 5 minutes long). We adapted the video to produce short learning excerpts for use on different forms of social media
  2. Obtain a total of 600 views of the video from all media channels (i.e. Instagram, snapchat and YouTube).
  3. Obtain an approval of one charity organization to promote the video through its media channels.
  4. We got an agreement with a charity organization to post and promote through various social media platforms.
  5. We have successfully produced 3 safety training videos, one that is 4 minutes long and two that were 1 minute long each. Total views exceeded all expectations at 30,000 views!


  • Lessons learned about managing projects
  • We learned that it is necessary to have a project charter and a project management plan at the beginning of every project before we start executing. Having a clear plan will save a lot of time in execution and is helpful to make all the team members aware of the project progress and focused on each task. To manage a successful project we need to have a clear plan that includes an identified scope, where each task is assigned to a team member and is allocated a specific timeline.
  • We learned that communication plays an essential role in managing projects. The message has to be clearly conveyed to team members to avoid challenges.
  • The project manager alone cannot make a successful project, the role of the team members is of equal importance.


  • Advices for future teams doing similar projects
  • Identify the areas of strength for every team member from the very beginning of the project in order to assign each task for a suitable member. This will increase the efficiency, the commitment and the fulfillment of each team member. Everyone will be happy and enjoy performing the assigned task, which makes the execution both successful and fun!
  • Start your project with planning and not with execution even if you are extremely excited! Put the plan in front of you first. Make sure that all team members contribute to the plan and have read and understand the plan.
  • Have a clear specific scope, be clear on what product or service you want to provide. Stay focused on your scope even if you encounter better ideas while you are executing the project. Remember that you have a limited timeline and you don’t want to experience scope creep.
  • Learn as much as you can, working in a field project is an amazing opportunity to learn how to manage a life project. It is an opportunity to learn how to be creative, how to react in case of a crisis and how to focus under time constrains. You can learn from other project team members and you can learn from the nature of your project itself. In case of our project, all the team members learned how to fight fire at home! we learned this new skill during the execution of the project while filming the video.
  • Enjoy every moment, during every task with every team member. Have fun! It is your project and not anyone else’s. Think of it as your contribution to the world and as your pride. Work with a positive spirit, keep a big smile on, appreciate your team members, motivate each other and work closely like a family.



Link of our video :



Do you have a PM personality?

Do certain personality traits or types translate into more effective project managers?

People skills


When you’re working on a project, it’s always involves teams, sets of teams, or in the very least significant interaction with a wide variety of people.  Some personality traits which lend themselves to effective project management include persuading, instructing, and negotiating, among others.  In essence, they can be rolled into two fundamental buckets — communication and interpersonal skills.  The constant interaction with team members and interface with leadership requires a superior level of communication and ability to tailor messages depending on the audience.  Additionally, while some view people skills in the form of a hierarchy, none of these elements can be effectively leveraged without some level of interpersonal skills and accompanying emotional intelligence.

Data Skills


Project managers are typically the fulcrum or pivot point for information flow.  Sponsors, assigned team members, and even general stakeholders tend to rely on project managers to be the center piece of project insights.  Accordingly, project managers benefit tremendously from data manipulation skills and strong data management techniques.  These skills can certainly be acquired through training, education, and experience, however a natural inclination toward compiling complex data sets to identify trends is a huge asset for any PM.  The foundation of data skills in the interest of optimizing PM performance starts with establishing comparisons, and funnels into the end state — synthesis or extraction of key components requiring a response.

Process / Technology Skills


In addition to working with people and data extensively, the final personality element geared to paying huge dividends to any PM includes process and technology skills.  As projects have ever-ranging variance in scope, type, available spend, resources, flexibility and adaptability to new processes or technology are critical.  Quickly grasping new methods or adapting to existing yet unfamiliar practices enables project manager to effectively lead and communicate throughout a given initiative.  Tendencies to acclimate rapidly prove extremely valuable, and can greatly enhance any PM’s initiation, planning, execution, monitoring / controlling, and closure process group expertise.

Do you agree with the impact the aforementioned skills can have on PM’s abilities?  Are there additional skills that may also provide utility?


Resources, Time, $$$, Project Portfolio Selection Oh My!

Project Portfolio Management!  Talk about complexity!


If you think managing a program or a collection of related projects can be complex, imagine contending with a series of programs that are not necessarily related!

Portfolios can consistent of dozens of projects, varying in levels of size and scope.  This blog offers a few tips to simplify the inherent challenges associated with selecting projects for a given portfolio.

Tip 1 – Strategy Always

If a project does not directly or clearly support at least one of an organization’s strategic objectives, take it off the table.  This is my favorite tip, as it’s by far the most straight-forward.  As you and your colleagues evaluate the laundry list of project needs complete with robust business cases, challenge the team to think hard about its relationship to a firm’s strategy.  No clear tie = no approval = removal from the planned portfolio.

Tip 2 – Organize the Info

While a tool or system may have tons of unique features to aggregate requirements to rank or prioritize potential projects, the most important aspect is…have a tool or system!  Some mechanism, any mechanism whether an Excel file, portfolio management software, or web-based application is essential to discerning projects’ perceived values and ROI.  Since you know you won’t have enough time, resources, or money to complete all the projects, at a minimum the tool should capture those key elements and the potential project’s end value.  Ultimately, leveraging a tool is critical to understanding how and where your limited assets should be allocated to further the organizations short or long term goals.

Tip 3 – Capture Intentions

Despite best efforts, there are occasions where projects just don’t reap the expected benefits.  As it turns out, people don’t set out to fail or break things.  Somewhere, a rationale, a logic or value system should be recorded in the event things don’t work out as expected.  Many organizations will focus on “lessons learned” to avoid the same future mistakes — which is a truly wonderful practice.  However, with portfolios, I recommend going one step further and analyze the considerations that green-lighted the underperforming project.  Discuss and vet the considerations, and make improvements to the tool and decision matrices incorporated into your project selection.

I hope these simple tips provide a bit of advice as you navigate through the giant world of portfolio management — happy project picking!!!

Al p.







Why Performance Reviews Often Fail and What We Can Do Differently

I would guess that approximately 90% of performance reviews are a complete waste of time. They are based on misguided metrics and establish goals that are often not revisited or are unattainable. In my own personal experience, I have found just that. So what can be done to remedy this?

The text provides us with several options for how to complete reviews while a project is going on and once it is complete. The first suggestion which we can all apply to performance reviews throughout our careers, is to first ask the subordinate to review their own performance. This is a great way to establish a baseline and also allows the reviewer to gain insight into the reviewees perspective of the project.

Another performance review best practice, which I found to be the most practical and applicable, is the 360 review. This involves soliciting feedback from several colleagues who have touched all facets of the employees responsibility and witnessed their strengths and weaknesses across the board. Even with this tactic though, there can be outliers or skewed reviews due to conflict unbeknownst to the superior or internal competition for upward mobility.

Taking this all into account, as well as what we have learned in this course, I have come to the conclusion that performance reviews should be seen as an opportunity to grow professionally, improve team dynamics, and learn from constructive criticism. For the time being, they are simply a required procedural measure but I hope to be able to change that some day.

A Correlation

After completing my project management course at DePaul, the dots began to connect. The course has created a well round view of what goes into managing a project. The various tools, skills, and resources necessary to being a successful project manager. From estimating project cost and timelines, managing risk, to scheduling resources and cost, this course has taken me from an unclear idea of what project management is to a more refine idea of what a project manager does. The experiences I have encountered while working on our group project and the individual interview helped immensely define and illustrate the responsibilities of a project manager.

Furthermore, after reading the article “Keeping Tabs on Projects,” I have drawn similarities to my experience in the group project and to Kevin Wood’s experiences (the person I interviewed) as a project manager. Projects have a lot of moving parts as I have discovered in our teams experience. I would imagine at a company, one might even have multiple projects going on simultaneously. To successfully run a project, being able to keep tabs on every aspect of the project is vital. In my experience with my group we did this extensively through emails, meetings, formal reports for class, and informal conversations over the phone/texting. In the interview with Kevin, this was one of the topics we discussed in-depth. He mentioned some days he only spends reporting on various aspects of his project, whether its to his supervisor or his client.

“Keeping Tabs on Projects” discusses implementing a systematic way to keep tabs on everything without having to dig through emails and notepads. My group did this by creating a workflow chart. Its important to keep upper management informed along the way. By doing so, it can make the project easier with them as far as support and proper resource implementation.

In the article it discusses that in the beginning of the project its important to identify the roles every player will be responsible for. By identifying those individuals and what roles they each will play, the project manager will understand what information they will need for further execution. By keeping tabs on the individual deliverables, it allows the project manager and the group to help identify problems and potential roadblocks. In my groups experience, I was responsible for finding potential locations for our event. By getting the appropriate information to my group early on, we were able to make a sound decision on where our event would best benefit our cause.




Going through my first project management class I have observed what skills are needed are need to be a great project manager. This class has created a snapshot from practice that has led to a wonderful experience in the field. Experience is everything and is the greatest teacher I believe. This class was organized to help students understand the competitive positions of an organization, develop the ability to understand and formulate solutions.

As stated from an article that was published in PM Network magazine some things have not changed, of course. I still contend that common threads are woven into the personalities of successful project managers:

  • Love of their work … and embracing the challenges
  • Clear vision … and communicating this vision
  • Strong team building skills … and setting positive tones
  • Structure and alignment … creating the environment and direction
  • Strong interpersonal skills … listening to and leading their teams
  • Discipline … completing each phase of the project properly
  • Communication skills…knowing when and to whom to communicate
  • These threads go by various nomenclatures — “enthusiastic, optimistic, self-controlled, direct, team builders,” but the fabric is the same.


My top four personalities to become a great project manager are….

1. Show their worth

“Project management is a science and not just a practice. Best in class’ project managers lead companies to exceptional performance, they benchmark their processes through various means.

  1. Understand business strategy

You can’t live forever in your project management bubble. Project managers must be able to see how their projects fit into their organizational strategy.

  1. Overcome hurdles

Companies continue to look for project managers who can meet timelines and stick to budgets – even when not everything goes to plan, flexibility is key as a project manager. Listening to clients and outperforming their expectations is the goal!

  1. Improve team performance

The growing importance of “lean teams” is increasing demand for project managers who can help optimize accomplishments.

Companies continue to look for project managers who can deliver results on time and on budget. But today’s business environment demands more. Show hiring managers you outperform other project managers, and you have a great shot at making a lasting impression.

By Kenneth White




Who’s Bertha and how hindsight is 50/50

After taking our Project Management class, I have been fascinated about how organizations manage risks, and how project managers put together a risk management plan.  There is one project that is on-going in the city of Seattle. The project is replacing a double decker highway or better known as the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The viaduct, as it’s commonly known, is a road system that sits on top of each other and runs a long Elliott Bay about the roadway, Alaskan Way. The risk of having this roadway is similar to the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 in Northern California, where multiple roadway infrastructures were destroyed. The San Francisco Bay Area had a similar viaduct, called the Cypress Viaduct, and it ran along the Bay Shore in Oakland.  This viaduct tragically tumbled down during the earthquake killing 42 people.  I was 5 years old at the time, and I vividly remember when the earthquake occurred, as multiple buildings and infrastructure were destroyed (the Bay Bridge even lost part of his bridge). The earthquake was famous because it occurred during the World Series, when the Giants and A’s played each other, known as the Battle of the Bay. Seattle is in a similar position, as geologists have been theorizing that the area is long overdue for a massive earthquake.

Washington state and the city of Seattle have addressed this risk, and knew that the viaduct needed to be retrofitted or replaced with a tunnel.  Residents were asked to vote on a measure on either saving the viaduct or boring a tunnel to replace the infrastructure.  I voted on the measure, as I remember the tragedy in the Bay Area, and I asked for the city to build a tunnel.  The measure passed in favor of the tunnel, and the project started in late 2012. However, the project has been delayed due to the boring process, where the machine called Bertha suddenly stopped mid-way through the project. It has been 2 years since this delay, and I can’t help but think that they did not accurately account for Bertha stopping. Let’s quickly recap the risk management steps, and what steps might have been missed with the Alaskan Way Viaduct project.

Risk Management steps:

  1. Risk identification – the process of listing out the possible scenarios of a risk occurring, including brainstorming, problem identification, and risk profiling. A common mistake is focusing on the objective (completing the tunnel), and not the events that could produce the consequences (Bertha stopping). In addition to identifying the risk, the organization needs to understand their Risk Breakdown Structure, split into four parts; technical, organizational, external, and project management. Bertha fits squarely into the technical breakdown, specifically under performances and reliability.
  2. Risk Assessment – this is broken down into 2 categories; probability and impact. Organizations generally utilize a semi-quantitative scale, and the likelihood on a numerical scale, 1-5, where 5 is very likely of occurring. For the Alaskan Way Viaduct, I assume that Bertha had a likelihood of breaking down, but the probability of breaking down was unforeseen, and the project management team might have given Bertha a score 1-3, while a 4-5 might have prevented the long delay.
  3. Risk Response Development – this has four components, and includes: mitigating risk, avoiding risk, transferring risk, and retaining risk. Mitigating risk would include how to avoid Bertha breaking down or how to reduce the impact of failure. However, Bertha broke down due to being overheated, and experienced mechanical failures. Mitigating risk also includes reducing the impact. In this case, the project management team did not anticipate a mechanical failure, and thus not being able to mitigate their risk. Lastly, retaining risk includes that the project management team makes a conscious decision to accept the risk. This seems unlikely as Bertha’s failure has cost the project more than 1.1 billion dollars.
  4. Risk Response Control – this includes risk control and establishing a change management system. Risk control includes execution of the risk response strategy, monitoring triggering events, initiating contingency plans, and watching for new risks. For change management, this includes monitoring, tracking and reporting risk, foresting an open organization environment, repeating risk identification exercise, and assigning responsibility for managing risk. For the Viaduct project, the contingency plan was to fix Bertha, which took 1 year to fix.

As we can see, the Alaskan Way Viaduct has experienced a major setback, and might have been prevented with a better risk management plan. Do you think this project was too big of an endeavor to complete? What else should have the construction firm have done to prevent Bertha on breaking down? I believe that Bertha should have been tested before starting the project, which could have mitigated the risk of failure.  Hindsight is always 50/50.


Cypress Viaduct:

Cypress Viaduct

Image of Bertha:




Eighty for 365 for FMSC

Eighty for 365 for


FMSC Bowling

Description of the Project and the Charity
Our project for the Project Management 598 class was to create, plan and execute a strategy to support a charity of our choosing. We chose to support a charity called Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), which is an Illinois based nonprofit (founded 1987) which seeks to conquer malnutrition in poor communities. They are 100% donor funded! Volunteers package nutrient dense meals comprised of rice, soy, vitamins, minerals, and dehydrated vegetables which will be distributed worldwide to needy people. Each meal costs only 22 cents with 92 cents of every dollar going straight into the purchase and production. These meals are sent across the globe to over 70 countries (see map below), for children as well as adults. Many people are not aware of the spread of malnutrition in modern day. According to statistics from their website, a startling 6,200 children die from starvation every day.
We hosted two micro events and one final service event, as well as well as developed active social media (awareness) and personalized website for fundraising campaigns. The micro events were organized to raise awareness and raise funds while Online media and personalized websites were utilized to promote the charity and raise funds.
Our first micro event was a happy hour at Beercade, a vintage arcade bar located in River North, Illinois. The event took place on Wednesday, October 8th from 5pm – 8pm. Attendees paid a $10 donation entrance fee and 15% of our group’s sales were donated back to the charity. The primary objective was to raise awareness and raise funds. Walk in customers and Beercade employees shared the event and the charity with their connections through social media and word of mouth.
Our second micro event was bowling at River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines, IL on October 18th. Attendees paid $20 for one pair of shoes and two games. We also provided pizza and beverage to attendees. We were able to secure sponsorship from local restaurants who supplied free pizza for the event. In addition, we held raffles, silent auction, and a bake sale at the venue. This event was a major success as we were able to raise more funds than expected, raise awareness for the charity by talking to patrons and finally, by having a lot of fun.
For the final event, we secured 37 volunteers to pack food at the FMSC location in Libertyville, IL. As mentioned before, FMSC uses volunteers to pack foods so that they can save on overhead. We covered two packing shifts for our volunteer events. In addition to offering our time to pack the food, we also learned more about the charity. Our efforts produced the following results:
• 251 boxes packed
• 54,216 meals
• 149 kids fed for one year
• $11,927 worth
Objectives and Success Measures
Our objectives for the project were to:
• Raise awareness for FMSC (Measurable)
• Raise funds for FMSC (Measurable)
• Learn Project Management Skills and Have Fun (Subjective)
To raise awareness for FMSC, we created a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a personalized webpage. We were able to promote our events, share updates and request donations through these mediums. In addition, we promoted our events by creating flyers. We distributed and displayed them in libraries, at local businesses and churches.


To raise funds for FMSC, we created a personalized webpage. We were able to collect most of our donations through the website. One of the advantages of having the website was that the donations went directly to FMSC and we didn’t have to deal with physically collecting donations and sending them to FMSC. We also collected offline donations which we submitted to FMSC in person.


Below are the results of the success measures:
• Donations: $2,200
• Number of people at bowling event: 20
• Number of people at packing event: 37
• Total number of like or followers on Facebook and Twitter: 120
• Maximum number of people reached for events: 471
Project Management Lessons
We have learned a lot of project management lessons during this project including lessons from our successes and challenges. Below are three lessons we feel are important:
• Having a designated, dedicated, and dependable Project Manager on the team. We feel it’s important for the Project Manager to be collaborative and not authoritative unless when the project is not moving in the right direction.
• Assigning responsibilities to each team member and holding them accountable is important. If a member is unable to meet a deadline, communicating that to the team early so others can pitch in also important.
• Being able to pivot quickly or having a contingency plan is very important. Initially we started the team with 6 members. The team member who was assigned to coordinate the first micro event dropped out of class and we were left to scramble to identify another venue and event. Fortunately, we had a contingency plan so we were able to reassess and deploy the contingency plan immediately.
Our advices to future teams doing similar projects are the following:
• Assign a project manager immediately after the group has been selected and start on the events and marketing early. Ideally, someone with experience could be useful but not required.
• When organizing events, be aware of other events going on in that location. Unfortunately for us, we had our first event on the evening the Chicago Cubs were playing a playoff game, so the turnout was not as expected.
• Have a good communication tool and communicate well. We used GroupMe mobile app as our main method for most of our communications.
Photos related to the project. Examples could be event photos, website, team members, etc.

Risk Management in Relation to our Group Project

As I was submitting the last of the assignments for this Project Management class, I realized with a start that I never submitted my second blog post. Without further ado, I decided to write about what I thought was the most valuable takeaway for me from this course: risk management. With the entirety of the course in perspective, risk seemed to be the most important aspect of planning on our group project. We had to manage conflicts with each other’s schedules, externalities in terms of events that might affect our cause, such as negative Facebook comments, and a highly unfortunate incident of a volcano eruption in Indonesia, which no one could have predicted or prevented, that ended up affecting presentation timelines.

I found the below interesting article on that described the importance of risk management in project management and how they truly go hand in hand. The possibility of obstacles arising affects everything, from the budget, to timelines, to implementation and scope. As I’ve overseen my team at work in implementing a high profile campaign for my client, I’ve found myself proactively planning any and all obstacles that may arise. Much to my disappointment, one of the situations we had planned for did end up cascading down the wire last week. Due to having a risk plan in place, we were able to get a hold of it within a few hours and keep our client from having a complete meltdown. As we move on from this obstacle, we still have to keep in mind that there are always more risk factors involved that could pop up at any minute. All projects come with a variety of risk factors, but there is no need to worry about the jeopardization of a project due to risk if you have the right plan in place from the start.