Learning

April 2018 Letter

Well, that’s a wrap on another busy and exciting month! I’ve been busy working on my RG146 qualification this month which has been interesting, and it’s definitely been a learning curve. I’ve also been smashing out a few university assignments, so it’s good to see some progress there.

If you’re looking to kick-start your morning routine, one of my favourite podcasters and bloggers has a great episode on starting your day off on the right foot — check it out! While you’re there — make sure you check out his article full of examples of great personal portfolios and websites, if you’re thinking of putting one together.

I’m not sure how I came across this video by Michelle Phan, but I found it deeply moving. She left Youtube a year ago and made this video to share why she made the decision to leave it all behind.

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy time. Sometimes you have to let go of things to move forward and create your own happiness.

I was also referred to MealPal this month by some colleagues, which is a subscription service where you can skip the queue and get meals for less than $8.00. I think at the moment they are only operating in Sydney and Melbourne CBD in Australia, with over 100 local restaurants offering meals every weekday and the ability to pre-order your meal and skip the queue. I’ve really enjoyed MealPal so far, and it’s definitely saving me money on lunch in Melbourne CBD (which is getting quite pricey).

New on the How To Money Platform

HTM Article: What is a Bond?

HTM Article: Getting Started on How To Money

HTM Podcast Episode 11: Getting Familiar with Bonds

Interesting Reads from Around the Web

The Ultimate Guide to Studying for Tests and Exams — College Info Geek

How to Take Notes in College: The 6 Best Systems — College Info Geek

17 Ideas for the Modern World of Work — altMBA

How to Build a Micro-Niche Site — Bren on the Road

If we Taught Walking in School — Derek Magil

If we Taught Bike Riding Like we Taught Careers — Praxis

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Have a wonderful month!

Kate

Project Management: A Practical Exploration

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

As part of my Business Management Degree, I recently finished a unit on the Fundamentals of Project Management. While I found this unit slightly challenging, I really enjoyed learning about the concepts and real-time application of the project management theory and frameworks.

The great thing about this degree is that the assignments can all be applied to your own workplace, which is useful because at a financial technology company there’s always a few projects on the go. So what exactly did I learn from all this? Well funny you asked because I’ve elaborated on some of my key takeaways below!

I discovered what exactly Project Management is and what the key components are.

Project management can be defined as the ‘application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements’ (Jeong and Bozkurt, 2014, p.183). Jeong and Bozkurt (2014) also highlight that project management can then be broken down into five process groups; initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing.

These components are important parts of the project lifecycle, which ‘consists of several stages during which deliverables are created and end with approval of the deliverables’ (Assudani and Kloppenborg, 2010, p.68).

I learnt about project charters, and why they’re important.

Project charters are the documents that spell ‘out the nature and scope of the work, and management’s expectations for results’ (Harvard Business Review Staff, 2016). The project charter also includes the project’s goals, which define the direction and destination of the project and provide the bigger picture to all involved stakeholders (Belicove, 2013).

Project charters are important because of the communication piece, as so often with teams there is a lack of communication between departments and management. Having a project charter means that someone has to sit down and nut out the details and expectations for the project, providing greater clarity for the entire team.

I had fun trawling through the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge).

As part of the coursework, I planned my project using the Project Integration Management (PIM) framework. This framework is internationally recognised and is part of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

The key components of PIM are as follows:

  1. Initiating — Develop Project Charter

  2. Planning — Project Management Plan

  3. Execution — Direct and Manage Project

  4. Monitoring & Control — Monitor and Control Project and Perform Integrated Change Control

  5. Closure — Final Product

I learnt why stakeholder analysis is an important consideration in any project.

In stakeholder analysis, it is important to consider ‘which functions or people might be affected by the project’s activities or outcomes, who will contribute resources (people, space, time, tools, and money), and who will use and benefit from the project’s output’ (Harvard Business Review Staff, 2016). This means understanding the needs of both clients and staff, in order to achieve a better outcome.

I also learnt about the importance of considering the requirements of the businesses investors and board members, who are heavily invested in the future success of the company (in my particular case).

And lastly, I tested around 10 project management softwares to discover my current favourite…

And the winner is monday.com, formally known as Dapulse (they recently had a name change).

Image sourced from    monday.com

Image sourced from monday.com

There are some great features within this software such as; task management tools, timeline visualisation, the ability to assign team members to tasks and communicate within the program. It’s definitely worth checking out as an option if you need some task/project management software for your business.

Project Management has definitely been an interesting unit and I’m looking forward to starting my next two units shortly.

Until next time,

Kate

Get in touch with me at hello@katecampbell.info 


References Used Above

Assudani, R. and Kloppenborg, T. (2010). Managing Stakeholders for Project Management Success: An Emergent Model of Stakeholders. Journal of General Management, 35(3), p.68.

Belicove, M. (2013). Understanding Goals, Strategy, Objectives And Tactics In The Age Of Social. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikalbelicove/2013/09/27/understanding-goals-strategies-objectives-and-tactics-in-the-age-of-social [Accessed 17 Dec. 2017].

Project Management Institute. (2018). Learning: Featured Topics. [online] Available at: https://www.pmi.org [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].

Harvard Business Review Staff (2016). The Four Phases of Project Management. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2016/11/the-four-phases-of-project-management [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].

Harvard Business Review Staff (2016). Your Project Needs a Charter. Here’s What That Means. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2016/11/your-project-needs-a-charter-heres-what-that-means [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].

Jeong, K. and Bozkurt, I. (2014). Evaluating a Project Management Simulation Training Exercise. Simulation & Gaming, 45(2), pp.183–184.

Vision Without Action is Worthless

Are you doing something every day that will lead you to achieve your goals and overarching vision?

I’ve been thinking a lot about organisational vision and mission lately, and the importance of having both along with clear company goals. I see many companies with these crazy big visions, which I am all for, but if they can’t back them up with clear strategic goals and relevant action, then they’re just impressive words. Companies with clear actionable items that are in line with their vision and mission are going to have much greater results than those with a vision that is just for show.

A vision defines the desired future state of an organisation, and what it wants to achieve over time, whereas a mission defines the current state of an organisation and why it exists (Evans, 2010). In terms of executing the vision, it is crucial that it is not imposed or sold to the company, rather an effective leader will be able to inspire employees to take on the work of making the vision a reality (Quijada, 2017).

It is important however to recognise that the vision is not the end goal in itself, rather a way for leaders and employees ‘to share a vision in order to facilitate common goals, perspectives, and outcomes’ (Berson, Waldman and Pearce, 2015).

Here are some questions to think about in relation to your vision and mission.

  • Is your vision and mission clear to everyone that sees your company?

  • Have you developed clear, actionable goals for your employees to strive towards your vision?

  • How is your company working towards achieving the vision?

  • Are you developing your employees with the skills necessary to maintain the mission, and achieve the vision?

‘Learning is a necessity for organizations to remain adaptive and competitive in today’s ever-changing business environment.’ (Chadwick and Raver, 2012)

Even if you don’t own a company, it is really good idea to think about your own vision. The principle that vision without action is worthless still applies here, so think about your own vision and how you are working to achieve that.

Best Wishes,

Kate


References        

Evans, J. (2010). Vision and Mission. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/smartwork/201004/vision-and-mission [Accessed 16 Sep. 2017].

Quijada, M. (2017). Ideas for Teaching Vision and Visioning. Management Teaching Review, pp.3-4.

Berson, Y., Waldman, D. and Pearce, C. (2015). Enhancing our understanding of vision in organizations. Organizational Psychology Review, 6(2), pp.171-173.        

Chadwick, I. and Raver, J. (2012). Motivating Organizations to Learn. Journal of Management, 41(3), p.958.