Project Management for Instructional Designers – Part IV

Welcome back for the fourth and final installment in this blog series on project management (PM). These past two weeks we have focused on the executing, monitoring, and controlling phase of PM.

Image courtesy of Tom Tiede, via SlideShare.

For the most part, this process group is where the planning ends, and the actual work of the project begins (Cox, 2010). Purchases are completed, requests for quotes are placed, and vendor contracts are negotiated. The project team is assembled, and any necessary skills are developed through training. This is also when the communication plan jumps into action. In order to manage the stakeholders’ expectations and keep their support, it is crucial to distribute appropriate information at the right times, in the right channels (Cox, 2010). While all this is going on, there systems are in place to monitor and control (manage) the project including, but not limited to, quality assurance, change management, risk management, and scope management – all of which were laid out in the project plan.

PM techniques can be a real boon to educational organizations, not just in the corporate world. I still struggle a bit to explain to my colleagues and teacher friends why this course is part of my EDUCATION Master’s program. I often refer to it as a crash course in administration, but that’s not quite accurate. For a teacher or administrator in a K-12 school, PM processes are tools we can use to promote transparency, efficiency, and quality in our endeavors (new technology initiatives, new curriculum, etc.) to support student learning. The gentleman in the video above (especially from 2:00-14:30) gives a good explanation of why a project manager would be an asset to a higher education organization, but the same reasons hold true for K-12 districts. Given budgetary constraints, it would be impractical for each school in a district to have their own PM, but one or two (or more depending on the district’s size) at the district level could be workable. The best – cheapest – solution, however, may be to train existing faculty and staff in PM.

Cox, D.M.T. (2010). Project management skills for instructional designers: A practical guide. New York, NY: iUniverse, Inc.