Project Profiling

Project Management for Instructional Designers – Project Profiling

  1. Using a Project Profile
    1. Project Profiling – “the process of extracting a characterization from the known attributes of a project”. It is done to provide a more thorough understanding of the project and should result in an appropriate execution plan and assignments.
    2. Attributes for profiling
      1. attributes that are common among projects
      2. e.g. Size, cost subject matter
  2. Project Profiling Models
    1. Aarong J Shenhar and Dov Dvir – two dimensional project typology
      1. Technology – low, medium, high and super high tech
      2. System scope
        1. Assembly projects – single component
        2. System projects – interactive elements
        3. Array projects – a wide dispersal of interactive systems and subsystems.
    2. Robert Youker – basic differences in project types
      1. Attributes – uncertainty, risk, level of sophistical of workers, level of detail in planning, newness of technology, time pressure
      2. Other – Project size, duration, geographic location, number of workers, cost, complexity, urgency, organizational design
  3. Complex Systems and the Darnall-Preston Complexity Index
    1. Complexity is determined by:
      1. number of parts/activities
      2. degree of difference between parts (computer vs. brain)
      3. the structure of connections between parts
    2. Types
      1. Complex: heterogeneous and irregularly configured (organisms, junkyards)
      2. Ordered: homogeneous and redundant (projection line in factory)
      3. Context dependent – complex in relation to other projects
    3. Projects are complex adaptive systems with many parts/activities and interact in several ways. The activities adjust/react to events in the environment. To be successful they need to adjust in a way that allows the system to achieve its purpose.
      1. Relationship dependence – the impact of change in one activity on other activities.
      2. Tend  to self-organize – the system will adapt to meet the needs of the project during every phase
      3. Adapt to changing environments – projects are not deterministic but rather nonlinear/chaotic systems, which can produce varied results even if they start in the same place. Project managers need a change management process to incorporate change into the project planning and execution.
      4. Co-evolve with internal and external changes (e.g. team member illness, technology, roof leaks)
    4. Darnall-Preston Complexity Index (DPCI) is one model for understanding and profiling projects.
      1. Indicates the project complexity level so projects can be compared.
      2. Groups 11 attributes into 4 categories (internal, external, technological complexity and environmental)
      3. Helps stake holders select a project manager, and the project managers to select a team and plan. It helps projects not fail in the beginning.
      4. Assess project environment – project size, complexity, cultural and language barrier, political landscape, resource constraints.
  4. Darnall-Preston Complexity Index Structure
    1. External – environmental attributes that exist at the beginning of the project (size, duration, resources). Established early and usually not controlled by the team.
      1. Size – Relative to other projects that the team and members are comfortable with. Operating outside of comfort zone (either larger or smaller) stresses tools and team which often cause higher costs and delays.
      2. Duration – Usually set by the parent organization and purposes of the project and estimated by the project team. A difference in timeline adds stress to the project as tracking will need to be tight and issues resolved very quickly.
      3. Resource Availability – Resources include objects and human experience and skills. Sometimes contractors need to be involved. Scarce resources take more management time and energy to acquire, develop etc. All resources need to be available on schedule. Scarce and important resources stress the project.
    2. Internal – Under the control/influence of project manger. E.g. clarity of project of objectives and scope, organizational complexity, stakeholder agreement.
      1. Clarify of the project objectives – will affect all future decisions which are made toward them. Unclear objectives create greater complexity.
      2. Clarify of Scope – will take leadership time to delineate
      3. Organizational complexity – Single client or client team
      4. Stakeholder agreement – More stakeholders increase complexity, as does their investment and the degree to which they (dis)agree. Time and energy needs to be appied to identifying and managing stakeholder expectations.
    3. Technological – Newness of the technology and familiarity of team members with it.
    4. Environmental – Issues related tot he environment that will influence its development and execution.  E.g. legal, cultural, political ecological
      1. Legal (e.g. permits, workforce laws, taxes)
      2. Culture – the community’s (parent organization, local community) assumptions, norms, values and artifacts. Understandings of working relationships.
        1. Rule based company cultures may clash with the need of a project team to accomplish goals
        2. Global language, culture, gender roles, religious roles and concept of time. An increase in represented cultures increases complexity.
    5. Political – the more important the project is to the leadership they more invested they will be and the more control the project team loses. This stresses the project and adds complexity
    6. Ecological – Impacts on the people, plants and animals. Projects will often need to minimize impact, which adds complexity.
    7. Four assumptions
      1. all projects are unique
      2. projects have common characteristics
      3. characteristics can be grouped together to create a project profile
      4. there is an optimum execution approach for each project profile and therefore an optimum set of skills/experience for the project manager and team.
  5. Using the Darnall-Preston Complexity Index to measure organizational complexity
    1. Assigning a score is a subjective process. Consider the extremes (1 and 5) and assign your project a number based on those scenarios.
  6. Practice
    1. Size (5)
      1. CTL usually consults with individual professors, not creating programs from scratch like this (8 courses and a certificate).
    2. Organizational Complexity (5)
      1. Many people in faculty content teams across the world .
    3. Tech Newness (1-2)
      1. Online course (self paced, with assessment)
      2. Propose to client.
    4. Tech Familiarity (1)
      1. We would propose a tech we are familiar with considering the complexity in the other areas.
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