The Monthly Project Report: Each month, all project managers were called for an executive session to present the status of their project
Week 4 DiscussionDiscussion Topic Due May 20 at 12:59 AM
Before beginning work on this week's discussion forum, please review the link "Doing Discussion Questions Right," the expanded grading rubric for the forum, and any specific instructions for this week's topic.
By the due date assigned, respond to the assigned discussion questions and submit your responses to the appropriate topic in this Discussion Area.
Respond to one of the following questions:
The Monthly Project Report: Each month, all project managers were called for an executive session to present the status of their projects. All project managers and the key project team members spent five to seven days a month preparing standardized briefing charts for this critically important meeting. The meeting lasted well over half a day while each project manager waited for his or her turn to receive executive guidance.
Result: The project managers, team members, and administrative assistants wasted hundreds of hours each month preparing detailed slides, graphics, analyses, and report papers to provide to the senior executive. The senior executive was gratified at the level of work and detail his people put in to keep him apprised of every project nuance. The senior executive had a much larger comfort zone of information to rely upon when queried by his boss.
Analysis: When most organizations work Monday to Friday, there are about twenty workdays in any month. Spending over 25 percent of the available monthly work time in preparing reports drove project management costs up and undermined organizational commitment to disciplined project management. Worse, tremendous amounts of overtime were required to offset the lost project productivity. This forced the project managers, team members, administrative assistants, and contractors to work late nights and weekends. Productivity losses were staggering. The senior executive was promoted, but the organization was ultimately branded a failure and subsumed under another executive. Several project managers no longer work for the company.
- Evaluate the executive sessions. Should they be held on the basis of project performance norms and the key project milestone dates and not per a fixed schedule? Why? Would this require changes in organizational culture? Explain.
- How might a culture of openness be established that encourages briefings to senior executives regarding deviations from expected performance (both good and bad)? Offer a few ideas.
- Explain some of the less time-consuming and systematic ways through which an executive manager can update himself or herself on the status of a project.
Review the PMI's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct on the PMI website and answer the following questions:
- What are the underlying international and global values of PMI's Code of Ethics?
- What is the difference between aspirational and mandatory standards identified in the PMI Code of Ethics? Justify your answer.
Leading the Main Street Project: Scenario: A small town in Texas wanted to enhance its main street to reduce traffic safety problems, enhance business, increase the number of businesses, and make the street more appealing. The main street was also a four-lane state highway that was restricted to 45 mph speed in the less populated area and 35 mph speed in the business distinct. The project was approved by the town council, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) provided funding to create enhancements that included relocating overhead wires and installing curbs and gutters while filling in drainage ditches. The project was to last for two years.
Result: Poor project communications management resulted in business owners not being aware of all the aspects of the plan. Fears arose that businesses would fail during construction. Project leaders attempted to assuage these fears, but a town council meeting was called to vote down the project. The council members voted unanimously to cancel the project on the basis of emotional arguments by business owners and a few vocal townspeople. The TxDOT representative thanked the council for its interest but announced that the project would continue. Naturally, there was an outrage about this announcement and vocal opposition followed. The TxDOT project manager informed the assembled group that the city did not have jurisdiction over the road and that the TxDOT had allocated funding on the city's request. The project would continue regardless of unfounded fears.
- Create a plan that could have avoided this situation. How does your plan compare to others?
- Evaluate the legitimacy of the TxDOT project manager's use of position power.
- Assess what communication skills you would use in this situation.
The final paragraph (three or four sentences) of your initial post should summarize the one or two key points that you are making in your initial response.
Justify your answers with examples and reasoning. Comment on the postings and views of at least two peers.
Your posting should be the equivalent of 1 to 2 pages (500–1000 words) in length.
Submit your posting to the Discussion Area by the end of the week.
Doing Discussion Questions Right
Learning to address discussion questions properly is one of the most challenging tasks for online students. Students
sometimes approach the forums as if the objective is to “get a right answer.” However, discussion questions may not
have a single right answer. In other words, discussion questions are less about getting a “right answer” and more about
engaging in a “right process” of research, application, and conversation.
Let’s start with a brief summary of what initial and follow-up responses should accomplish in discussion forums:
Your initial response to a discussion should take the information you gathered from your readings in the
textbooks, research articles, independent scholarly papers, etc., and then present your thoughts as to how best
to address the given issue, using your research as evidence for your views.
Your reading and follow-up response to a fellow student’s discussion reply should not be a general acceptance
of his or her opinion, but rather something that challenges the student to defend his or her stated response, or
something that presents an alternate idea or additional analysis. Again, research should be used as evidence in
your follow-up responses.
To dig a little deeper into the mechanics of doing a discussion questions right, consider:
When you read the specific information and questions in a forum, you will note that discussion questions often contain
multiple parts or starter questions. Read the instructions, questions, and topics carefully. In many cases, you do not
need to answer each specific part or starter question in your initial post. Rather, identify one or two aspects of the
discussion topic and post a substantive reply in 500 (1 page) to 1000 (2 pages) words that starts a meaningful
conversation. A good target for initial posts is 750 words at the graduate level. However, length is not necessarily an
indicator of quality. Posts must be both substantive and clear regardless of length. Make sure to provide one or two
clear points or conclusions in your initial post so that others can respond. Consider dialogue forums as analogous to a
scholarly conversation that might occur in a face-to-face classroom. Support your answers with examples and research.
Cite your research using the correct APA format.
Substantive dialogues are not repetitive. Thus, if someone else has posted a response regarding a particular aspect of
the topic in his or her initial post, you need to identify some other element of the question for your initial post. In other
words, address a different starter question or provide a different view or new ideas. The key point is that you do not just
repeat what others have already said.
Start reviewing and responding to the postings of your classmates as early in the week as possible. By the end of the
week, respond to the specified number of classmates and your instructor (see rubric). Also keep in mind the need to
participate in the course on several days per week (see the rubric). Participating on the minimum number of days does
not ensure full participation points. Participate in the discussion by asking a question, providing a statement of
clarification, providing a point of view with a rationale, challenging an aspect of the discussion, or indicating a
relationship between one or more lines of reasoning in the discussion. Follow-up posts should also be substantive and
include support from examples and correctly cited research when possible. Follow-up posts usually should not exceed
300 words. Often, they will be approximately 100 to 200 words in length. Remember though, substance is more
important than word count. Simply agreeing or disagreeing is not considered substantive. One or two sentences are not
usually considered substantive. The dialogues should be useful conversations that analyze topics both broadly and
deeply, providing evidence (research) that supports your response.
Done “right,” discussion forums can provide one of the most important learning experiences in your educational
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