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Managing the TBT projectpixel.gif (807 bytes)

pixel.gif (807 bytes) A little planning goes a long, long way
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GOOD PROJECT MANAGEMENT is a pain avoidance measure and, take my word for it, there’s plenty of potential for pain in a TBT project. I’ve been there when, at 2am on the night before final delivery, the bug report’s so thick you can’t get a staple through it; when the spouse of one of your key team members is on the ‘phone in tears because the family is leaving on holiday in four hours’ time and he’s still at work; when your only programmer has a crisis of confidence, turns to drink and refuses to get out of bed; and when at the eleventh hour the client decides, as only a client can, that the programme must also be able to run from floppy disk on a 386 PC because that’s all they’ve got in the office in Madagascar. Know what I mean?

Well, most of this pain is needless. We can learn from these mistakes and approach our projects in a more systematic way. In the end, a little planning goes a long, long way.

First, in case of doubt, let’s just ensure that we’re talking the same language:

  • Technology-based training: any training where a significant proportion of the learning process is accomplished using a computer.
  • A project: a one-time job that has defined starting and ending dates, a clearly-specified objective or scope of work to be performed, a pre-defined budget and usually a temporary organisation that is dismantled once the project is complete. (James P Lewis)
  • Management: the process of planning, organising, leading and controlling work activities.

And before we get into the detail, let’s refresh our memory about the stages in a TBT project:

Stages in a TBT project
Definition taking a brief
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establishing project objectives, constraints, assumptions and deliverables
Research and analysis performance analysis, task analysis, training needs analysis
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setting learning objectives
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selecting training methods
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establishing the concept
Project planning determining tasks and project logic
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estimating time
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allocating resources
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budgeting
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risk analysis
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approvals
Design structuring content
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developing learning strategies
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media selection
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interface design, prototyping and test
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re-budgeting
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documenting the design
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approvals
Scripting preparing the script
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approvals
Media creation audio and video production
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photography, illustration, graphic design
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animation
Programming developing software modules
Assembly assembly of media elements and software modules using authoring tools
Testing alpha testing
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beta testing
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approvals
Delivery hand-over to the client
Review and evaluation post-completion project review
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evaluation of success of learning materials

We’ll start at the very beginning, because, as the song says, it’s a very good place to start.

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                                                     Fastrak Consulting Ltd, 1999. All rights reserved.                                Last revised 21/2/99