Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Are Learning Technologists also project managers?

I attended a really quite excellent project management workshop today on the Plymouth campus courtesy of JISC RSC South West. Hosted by John Burke (JISC InfoNET Senior Adviser) and Clive Alderson (Management Consultant for JISC InfoNET). For those that are interested, further details of the InfoKits that JISC provide are available here, the website lists all the core elements of project management, and includes some handy software - free to download.

As many learning technologists will agree, a great deal of our time is taken up in managing multiple projects, sometimes across different faculties, schools and many clients (internal and external), so I was eager to glean any hints and tips to refine this process. This was just a one day workshop, however it did take us through Risk Management, Change Management and Time Management to some degree, with all the pitfall that come with those.
I also found the presenters very willing to share their own experiences of project management, making if far easier for us to relate to our own. As the day progressed, it was particularly encouraging to see just how important project management skills are for learning technologists (LTs) and how often we utilise these skills in our day to day work, probably without realising it! "Ah yes! I know what you mean" popped into my head on many an occasion plus the odd "I think Ill use that method from now on...".

What stood out for me the most was that a good project manager needs to be flexible/adaptable in both communication style and dealing with people. In fact, it was suggested that a person starting the project needed to take on a more dynamic role in the planning, managing and controlling stage as these stages need a different approach - keep the momentum going, so to speak. I think something that most LTs need to achieve on a day to day basis. Poor communication with all parties and not dealing with the potential 'Saboteurs' the chances are the project will fail... ...try to keep as many people informed and on board as possible an you may find the ride less choppy.

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