Thursday, February 14, 2013

Scope creep can be defined as “the natural tendency of the client, as well as project team members, to try to improve the project’s output as the project progresses” (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, & Sutton, 2008, p. 346). This could be something as simple as doing a home improvement project in an old house. A specific project may be planned such as fixing a leaking toilet which expands to new flooring and painting the room. That has happened to me. Old houses always involve more work than one originally plans for.

However, I want to discuss a project I was assigned at work. I obtained my Associate in Applied Science in Computer Programming while working in the Intensive Care Unit. Although we had our facility web page, nursing service decided they wanted to have their own and I was chosen to create it. It started out as a simple FrontPage single site for mainly policies, procedures, and resources. However, once I got the page up and running, several other specialty areas started requesting pages that would link from it, and several people wanted other things added to the main page. I tried to evaluate them to make sure they were appropriate and used my own prioritizations. I eventually added pages for wound care, nursing education, ethics, home-based primary care, and pharmacy, and added several other things as requested.

If I had been the project manager I would have used a change control system, which is defined as setting “up a well-controlled, formal process whereby changes can be introduced and accomplished with as little distress as possible” (Portny, et al., 2008, p. 346). All of the changes would have been reviewed and determined how it would affect other tasks. I would have the chief nurses in authority approve the changes and help determine the benefits and disadvantages of additions being proposed as well as the priority of them. In fact, I did later make sure the chief nurses were aware and approved everything that was added.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B.E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources: Helpful Resources

Accurate planning is important in project management. Estimating costs and allocating resources poorly can cost a project manager the project, or even their job.

In this blog, I will look at a couple of websites that I think will be useful in estimating the costs, effort, and/or activity durations associated with ID projects. The first contains several articles and tools and is located at One article called “Estimating time accurately” is located at This article discusses several steps for making more accurate time estimates and some methods in calculating them. It includes some things we have learned about in our class such as Work Breakdown Structures, top-down and bottom-up estimating, and Gantt charts. These tools, and others, “enable project managers to summarize and organize the various events, activities, and span times of project tasks” (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, & Sutton, 2008).

A second site is This site has articles and tools that can be used in the different project management phases. Keeping a project on schedule and on budget takes much planning. And many times projects overrun either or both of these.

One other site that I came across was This site also has several articles that can assist with project management by explaining different methods and tools that can be used.  

Sometimes project management can feel like these phases:
1.       Wild enthusiasm
2.       Disillusionment
3.       Confusion
4.       Panic
5.       Search for the guilty
6.       Punishment of the innocent
7.       Promotion of non-participants ( PM Hut,2013)


Adams, S. (2009). Dilbert by Scott Adams. Retrieved from

Mind Tools. (2013). Estimating time accurately. Retrieved from

PM Hut. (2008). Common tools for cost estimating in project management. Retrieved from

PM Hut. (2013). Project management funnies—The final chapter. Retrieved from

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B.E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Sheen, R. (2012). Project management estimating tools and techniques. Retrieved from

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This week we are assigned to view three types of communication of the same message, but using email, voicemail, and in person as the conduits of the message. Dr. Stolovitch stated that “effective communication is influenced by:
·         Spirit and attitude
·         Tonality and body language
·         Timing
·         The personality of the recipient (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.)

The email message seemed succinct, but maybe a little strong and maybe unfriendly. Since there is no intonation or body language to enhance the message, it is difficult to evaluate. It could be construed as anger or just as a reminder. A person’s unique experiences and culture also affect how they receive information. Since companies may need to communicate by ways other than in person as there may be offices across the country or international, written communication needs to be clear and concise with no ambiguity.

The voicemail seemed friendlier, but not a lot different than the email. Although there was some voice inflection, it was still difficult to determine the tone of the message. She does not seem angry, but almost pleading to get the information for her report.

The in-person message seemed more friendly and just as a reminder for him. She seemed relaxed and not upset. It appeared this was just a friendly reminder to him.  She did not use good eye contact, but had a relaxed posture so it did not appear as direct as the email or voicemail. Although this may have been the friendliest way of communication, it cannot be documented. Also, she could have used this as a dialogue and waited on his response in order to get a quick answer. Dr. Stolovitch stated that for written communication, it need to “keep tone of all communications business friendly and respectful (Laureate Education Inc., 2008).

Personally, I liked the email as I usually do better with the written text. This type of communication is straight forward and can be referenced and responded to easily. I think some implications include defining how communication will occur during the project and what works best for the team members. This can be a part of the start phase when tasks are being assigned. A part of this is determining “how they will handle routine communications…and resolve conflicts” (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, & Sutton, 2008, p. 79). What works best for one person, may not be the best for another.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2012). Communicating with Stakeholders. [Video webcast].

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B.E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Learning from a Project “Post-Mortem”

It is very effective for project managers and their teams to review the project when it is complete to determine lessons learned. This way they can learn from their successes and failures to make improvements in future projects (Greer, 2010).

                The project that I am going to do a post-mortem on for my class is one that I did at work recently. As the Bar-Code Medication Administration (BCMA) Coordinator at my hospital, I suggested purchasing new wristbands that could include the patients’ color photograph, several options to color-code different risks or warnings, and the bar-code for our BCMA software, and they would not need the clasps to fasten them. Patient identification is a top priority in the health-care field, especially for medication administration. I had suggested this project before, but was unable to get the buy-in needed for the additional cost. This time I had the Patient Safety Manager (PSM) giving support for it. Also, another facility in our network had already implemented them and there was talk of all of our facilities in our network converting to them, which, in fact, is now in process.

Greer (2010, p.5) identifies ten steps for project success as follows:

1.       Define the project concept, then get support and approval.

2.       Get your team together and start the project.

3.       Figure out exactly what the finished work products will be.

4.       Figure out what you need to do to complete the work products. (Identify tasks and phases.)

5.       Estimate time, effort, and resources.

6.       Build a schedule.

7.       Estimate the costs.

8.       Keep the project moving.

9.       Handle scope changes.

10.   Close out phases, close out the project.


Acting as project manager (PM), I was able to get the support of our upper management by working with the PSM and the BCMA committee. I worked with the vendor to find out what would be required and gathered a team which included the PSM, representatives from Information Technology (IT), nursing, laboratory, and upper management. Most of the team was on board for the early process, but the latter work was mostly from IT, the vendors, nursing, and me. The vendors were very helpful in identifying the tasks, schedules, and costs. For the most part, this project went fairly smoothly and was eventually successful.

Lessons Learned

However, there were some things that could have been done better. Although, I had approval of upper management, I did struggle some with the chief of our IT department in trying to get things to move on schedule. I should have had more support from his boss and him. Also, I was new at ordering equipment, software, licenses through our system. Having someone more knowledgeable in that area would have helped immensely. I had to get assistance from logistics with it, but it was a learning experience. They also had to assist once the equipment was in to make sure all of the paperwork was completed. I could have used more support as well in getting the team to all of the meetings. However, when there is limited staff in an area and they are responsible for multiple projects, there were competing demands on their time (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, & Sutton, 2008).

One thing that I did not consider well was being able to print from our test account. For BCMA training, I always created test patients with wristbands and medications from our test account. I was so worried about getting everything to work in production that I forgot about test account. We can still get them with our old wristband printers, but I am working on having IT develop test patients in our production account for me as I found another facility that already has these wristbands currently do. Maybe that was actually a ‘Freudian slip’ since I had wanted them to do that for years, but they said it could not be done. Maybe it will finally get done after all.



Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.

 Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Welcome to my blog that I am continuing to use for my Walden assignments. I have started a new course titled Project Management. I welcome your comments.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Distance Learning Reflection

Reflection of Distance Learning

                 Education has dramatically changed over the years, especially the last few years. But, change is seldom easy, especially in changing to something unknown. Distance education intimidates some people because they do not understand it or the technology that goes with it. Distance education is not only online, but can be blended with face-to-face (F2F) education as well. This can help some transition to distance learning. But, change is coming and distance education is gaining in popularity. With all of the advances in technology and telecommunications, distance education is becoming “more available, easier to use, and less costly” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 4). In this blog, I will be discussing my perceptions of distance learning for the future (in 5-10 years; 10-20 years); how I can as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning; and how  I can be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education.

                In the near future of 5-10 years, my perception is that distance learning will become more accepted, but even further into the future, it will become more commonplace than traditional education. I believe a part of that is the younger generations are much more comfortable with technology. George Siemens explained that there is growing acceptance of distance education which is fueled by an increase in online communication, practical experience with new tools, growing sense of comfort with online discourse, and the ability to communicate with diverse and global groups (Laureate Education, 2010). Distance education will also be affected by even more advanced communication technologies, contribution by experts from around the globe, and increased use of multimedia, games, and simulations (Laureate Education, 2010). Another growth is with the massive online open courses which offer free courses around the world for free and are taught by experts.  I also think acceptance will increase because it does show to have a cost savings. Classroom spaces increase for traditional classes, money saved in travels, travel time saved, and money and time save in productivity in corporations. Also, many institutions promote their online programs with the benefits of convenience and flexibility (Gambescia & Paolucci, 2009). Overall, I believe the perception of distance learning in the future will be favorable.

                To be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning, I, as an instructional designer, would need to create high quality distance programs. This can be accomplished in the planning process by assessing the learners, creating essential content that is organized, choosing the correct media and teaching strategies, and selecting the best learning environment (Simonson et al., 2012). And in doing so, I would need to “think outside the box, to collaborate and to advance the common vision” (Moller, Foshay, & Huett, 2008, p.66). Engaging the students is critical in changing perceptions of potential students. If they can see that distance learning is not just listening to recorded lectures and reading assignments, they can get excited about the ways technology is used and therefore increase their learning, and maybe encourage others along the way.

                I can be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education by keeping up to date with research in the field. Being aware of new teaching strategies and new technologies will improve my distance learning programs. Working closely with the subject matter experts will keep my programs in line with the educational information. If I am using a course management system, it must be well-organized and user-friendly. I will also continually assess and evaluate programs to continuously improve them.

                In conclusion, I believe distance learning will continue to blossom as people continue to find ways to work around their schedules in order to obtain degrees. Whether online, blended, or traditional, learning will continue. Knowledge is power.

Gambescia, S., & Paolucci, R. (2009). Academic fidelity and integrity as attributes of university online degree program offerings. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 12(1). Retrieved from  

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 3: K12). TechTrends, 52(5), 63–67. 

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.







Sunday, December 16, 2012

Converting face-to-face training to a blended learning format

This week in our course we were given the following scenario:

 A training manager has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face-to-face training sessions and wants to try something new. With his supervisor’s permission, the trainer plans to convert all current training modules to a blended learning format, which would provide trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material in both a face-to-face and online environment. In addition, he is considering putting all of his training materials on a server so that the trainees have access to resources and assignments at all times.

 We were then to create a user guide that the training manager could utilize to take the face-to-face course and convert it to a blended learning format. In the guide, it includes information on some pre-planning strategies, what aspects from the face-to-face course that could be enhanced in the distance learning environment, how the role of the trainer will change, and some tips on how the trainer can encourage the students to communicate online. This guide is based on best practice for converting face-to-face courses to blended learning formats. There are several references used to support this. There is also two checklists from online sources that could be of help for this trainer. In using these tools and tips, converting face-to-face courses to blended learning courses will result in satisfied students who will be able to transfer their learning to the workplace.
Here is a link to the guide.