So this is what Deja vu feels like…

About a year ago I was working my first big job on a large web project. I had to teach myself pretty much everything along the way. My supervisor asked me many many times when (approximately) I would finish each part of the project. I never really understood what all the fuss was about regarding timelines. I never knew what to say. On the inside I always thought that I would just get it done when I got it done. I was not able to predict efficiently until the very end of activities how long they would take because everything was relatively new to me. Now in hindsight I see how helpful these planning concepts and skills would have been in planning and changing the project according to time constraints. Learning planning techniques in class such as identifying activities, mapping out precedence, estimating time and identifying critical activities/paths is very new for me but finally brings all those questions I was being asked into perspective. I knew that having time estimates was important and necessary to plan but I never realized how important and complex planning could be. I now plan to take a more proactive approach and will do my best to give time estimates when possible in future projects.

I am glad to say that as I am learning how to plan in class I am applying what I am learning in another classroom. In another class I am currently in we have to plan, design and build a web application in 10 weeks. This means that time is valuable and we need to balance it out with the other key project metric triangle components to make sure performance and cost (our personal time in this case) are within reason. In this project we have had to develop a GAANT chart and plan out some of the most meticulous details of the project weeks ahead of even starting to build it. In addition, we had to plan out how long activities would take. When the planning requirements were brought up in the class I was one of the only students in the group familiar with the basic terms due to MGT 301. I have been able to help the team and manage our time so that we do not get behind in our project. We have identified activities that can be crashed (by investing more time in the week and putting our more experienced group members on specific tasks) as well as identifying activities that could be run concurrently (done at the same time) so that we can get more done in the same amount of time by splitting our group into mini groups.


–          Have any of you had the above issues at a new job or on a unique project?

–          Have any of you seen the lessons and concepts we are learning in class come up in a current or past class?

–          How did these concepts help you to do better or contribute in that class?

–          Have you applied these concepts to a class or work project?

10 thoughts on “So this is what Deja vu feels like…

  1. This is an interesting post showing the “real world” applications of what we are learning in class. I had a project at work where I was part of a team evaluating a program. A big part of this was gathering data, which included conducting interviews with people who were part of and completed the program. My job was to transcribe the interviews, which totaled to 12, each was about 50 minutes long. If you have done transcriptions before, you know that it is a long and tedious process because you have to stop/start audio and need to piece together what is being said. It took me about 2.5 hours to finish an interview. About halfway through I was informed that the deadline for this part of the project was nearing and we were behind schedule. I spoke with the interviewer and we were able to streamline the process by having her ask the same questions with the same wording in the same order every time for the remaining interviews. This type of crashing allowed me to copy and paste the interview outlines and I could fill in the responses. It cut off about 30-45 minutes, and although we were still behind schedule we finished much closer to the original deadline than what we would have if we hadn’t made the changes we did.

  2. I lost cost of how many times I think about how or what I could use what I learn in school in the real world…
    Oh, I feel like using algebra today…let me just use Pythagorean Theorem to find out how what time it is according to the angle of the sun…you get the point. However, it is different with management class. I think I can make more connections from what we learned so far to my current job than other classes.

    As far as meeting deadlines or how long it takes to meet them, I have to do it at work all the time. We set revenue expectations for the month, week, and on daily basis. Just recently, I was promoted to a position that’s more or less in charge of selling the more expensive and higher end products. Therefore, my goals work different: I am given the list of product and their quantities and I have to sell them as soon as possible and sell more of them if possible. The thing is that I don’t know how long it will take because our customers aren’t quite always ready to spend $10,000 right away.

    How have I applied what we learned in class? I made sure to do my part at work but what I have been doing now is checking up on my team to make sure they know what’s going on at work and how to achieve their revenue goals. I actually figured out that the guys in my team who were not meeting the goals were our constraints (like the fortune teller activity). So, we made a couple changes and back to meeting goals is where we are at now.

  3. I can relate to this post. First professional job could be daunting. There is expectation that you should be agile and efficient while having a great learning curve. As you mentioned you had to learn on the go that itself is time consuming. I never understood that, how people expected you to learn something and deliver on specified time. But I am glad you have a better understanding of your time management especially if you master GNAT chart. I am currently taking a management class and I have gotten exposure that and I am trying to apply it into my projects.

  4. Currently I am working as an investment analyst intern at a consulting firm. My project since August has been to create a database which stores all of our proprietary information. The project so far has definitely been successful as my boss is extremely impressed as well as the CEO & CIO. The only issue though has been deadlines, he will constantly think of new ideas to add the database which is great but a lot of R&D goes into creating databases well so I feel as if the process of the construction of the database is not understood completely by my boss. As a result I started leading weekly meetings which have certainly made the process easier, smoother, and easier. I totally understand where you are coming from though, not having set deadline always makes a project slightly more challenging and difficult to handle.

  5. As far as having deadlines for projects in a job I completely understand where you are coming from. When I worked at Victoria’s Secret I was the manager for a new campaign that we wanted to launch in 3 months. I’ve never felt as much pressure and stress in my life as I did those three months. It seemed as though every time we would meet to talk about progress there would be an enormous amount of work that still needed to be done. I had no idea of what a true project manager did because I was only a senior in high school, but I wish I did because even though the campaign was finished on time there could have been an easier/less stressful way to complete it.

    Now that I’ve learned about identifying activities, critical paths, and mapping out each project duration I look back on it and can already tell what could have been done differently or if I should’ve added more employees on a certain task.

    Managing a project takes more than just delegating people to do work and estimation, with this class I hope to fully understand the steps to be efficient and effective.

  6. This defiantly happened to me over the summer with my internship. I had no idea how my projects were going to take and was constantly asked. I ended up making an estimate that I would try and stick to.

  7. Great insight!

    I personally have not done project management tasks but I have had to manage my own work load around similar concepts because of time constraints. At my current internship we have due dates for everything and at quarter end that’s when everything starts to pile up. For this reason I have learned to management my time wisely and contribute sufficient amount of time to each project/work item. I feel that this is very similar to what we learned in class (and what you do at work) and learning to distribute the right amount of time for each project and making sure not to focus on something too much that doesn’t require that much attention.

  8. At any new job there will be difficulties that you must overcome. With time you learn to time manage and to estimate your time based on your capabilities of working certain projects. Certain projects will be easier and shorter and other will be more difficult. With more experience comes the ability to forecast the outcomes and the time frame of certain projects.

  9. I have not had a good internship where I needed to project manage, but with any job I feel like this is relatable. It is really important to stay on top of things, and sometimes people expect you to get things done quickly without actually thinking of how quick they themselves might get it done. Predicting time can be tricky, but I think it is important to set deadlines and make sure you hit them. So be realistic but at the same time challenge yourself. Great post.

  10. Time management is crucial when you need to meet deadlines. Just the idea of having a deadline is important. I like to meet the deadline, or as others say cross in the check mark. Having a deadline motivates me to do something, do it well, and do it on time. Also, if there was no deadlines, no one would ever get anything done.

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