Thursday, April 9, 2015

Green Paint For Sale!

Each time I hear mention of scope creep, "the natural tendencies of a client, as well as project team members, to try to improve the project's output as the project progresses" (Portney et al., 2008, p.436), I always think of a particular summer painting project my husband and I tackled together.  Looking back the story is comical, but at the time it was anything but funny!  We spent several hours going through swatches of paint, comparing colors in different lighting, during different times of the day, and at last made a decision to paint the majority of the open-concept kitchen/dining/living area a lovely greenish color on the focal walls.  We bought gallons of paint, about 5 or 6 gallons I believe.  We were set.  The painting would begin when summer break began.  I painted several of the walls a tan shade, that were not focal walls, as we had decided.  This looked great!  Our project was going perfectly and we felt confident about our decisions. 

It literally took one stroke of green against the tan, which had to touch in order to work through our plans, to see we were making a huge mistake.  The green and tan looked awful together.  Oh great.  Now we had the option to continue to project or pick new paint colors.  Well, the tan was now on almost every hallway and wall in the house that was not a focal wall.  We had not considered blue in the past, but at this moment we both almost simultaneously said we should try blue.  It took several shades to get it right, but once we saw the right shade of bluish-gray against the tan, we knew we had it right (again).

As a project manager I know that scope creep is always a possibility...  But thinking through things like, the possibility of the colors clashing when they meet in a painting project will be my job as a project manager in order to keep my client's from spending all their money on paint they can't use.  Technically I guess I was the project manager of my personal paint project gone wrong, but it opened my eyes to what could happen in future projects.  Having kick of meeting with all stakeholders involved to try to communicate all issues from the start is a great idea for the project manager.  Continuing that communication throughout the project is key as well.  Be sure to get "sign off" from all stakeholders to assure they will hold to their part of the project (Laureate Education, n.d.).  Trying to think of every possible thing that could go wrong is tough, but a project manager must do so.  It is important to walk through every step of the project and pay close attention to detail.  Keep the client in on every piece of information, so nothing gets left out.

I am trying to make the best of the situation, though.  Many of my stand alone cabinets are now green and so is my laundry room.  If anyone needs any green paint, you know who to see.


Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Creating a resource allocation plan [Video file]. 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.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

ID Budget Resources

Recently I was asked to conduct an online search to locate resources to aid those in the instructional design field with planning a budget for a project.  The first resource I came across, entitled “Estimating Costs and Time in Instructional Design,” is a great resource for this.  The blog explains how estimate training and development hours, breaks down estimated times spent with multimedia presentations, estimates instructor preparation time, and includes tools to help estimate costs in Excel. 

Further into my search I located This resource caught my eye over many others because it shows the ADDIE model and how much time will need to be allocated to each portion of this model.  Budgeting for each step of the ADDIE model would be helpful to the designer.  This website is geared toward eLearning course development, but some designers may take their career paths this direction.



A Big Dog, Little Dog and Knowledge Jump Production. (2010). Estimating Costs and Time in Instructional Design.  Retrieved from
Remote-Learner:  Innovation in Learning Services. (2014).  Budgeting for eLearning Course Development.  Retrieved from



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Forms of Communication

“Communication-the human connection- is the key to personal and career success” (Meyer, 2001-2015).  I feel this quote is very true, from my own experience thus far with communication in the workplace and in my personal life.  Without communication, there really is nothing.  I know that sounds like a blank statement, but it is true.  Without communication in my field of education, for example, our students could not successfully move from one grade to another, or go home to parents who know how they are doing in school.  Without communication in the healthcare field, nurses and doctors wouldn't know what is going on with patients.  Without communication businesses could not run smoothly.

As assigned this week, I read the email sent to Mark from Jane I felt Jane is feeling it is somewhat of an urgent matter.  She is coming across as if she knows that Mark has other things going, but she really needs his help regardless of what he is doing all day.  By stating “I might miss my own deadline if I don’t get your report soon” Jane makes the matter more urgent for her and more personal for her.  This is now something that affects her career/deadline at work.  The email is polite and states Jane’s appreciation of Mark’s help in the matter, but I feel like this may have been something that has been going on for a while now, since it seems like Jane may be nearing the deadline now.

Next I listened to the voicemail message from Jane.  To me, the message seemed stern.  I think the tone of voice was so flat that Jane communicated a lack of kindness.  When there is no inflection in a person’s voice and they don’t say “have a nice day” when they end a message it seems rude.  I do not expect a “have a nice day” on emails, but on voicemails I do.  I never hang up a phone after leaving a voicemail without saying "have a nice day." 

Oh dear, I think the face-to-face conversation was the least friendly of all the conversations.  Jane seemed to be squinting or (almost) rolling her eyes when she spoke.  Since she was saying the entire conversation at once without Mark talking back, it made it tough to feel it was a true conversation.  Her facial expressions were not making me want to help her at all.  I am thinking Mark may have felt the same way.  Although I like the idea of meeting with someone face-to-face, then following up with an email to assure the conversation is documented, I just do not feel her domineer suits me.
Jane did not seem to communicate that Mark had important things to do as well.  She was pushing for her deadline to be met, not stressing any empathy toward him.  I think it is important, no matter how stressed you may feel at the moment, to assure you communicate to the other party that you care about their feelings and needs.  Mark may not be a sensitive person, but there is a chance he is.  He may also be the type of person that gets frustrated easily with someone asking him for something when his is busy.  I think it is best to know the person you are dealing with and communicate with their personality.



Meyer, P. 2001-2015. BrainyQuote. Retrieved from

"The Art of Effective Communication" Retrieved from



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Learning From a Project "Post-Mortem"

Projects can be a tricky business, that’s for sure.  There are so many details involved.  One must keep track of what the client wants, assure all stakeholders are on the same page, and assure timelines are met.  I learned a lot about this type of business from working in the sales department when I first graduated college, in what I call my first career.  I was working for a promotional products company out of St. Louis, MO.  The Edward Jones account was my “baby” so to speak.  I was the assistant sales representative for the account.  Anything Edward Jones needed with their logo printed on it, I handled it.  I found out very quickly the detail that goes into managing the accounting by shadowing my boss. 

Looking back, I recall a very large order in which Edward Jones wanted their logo printed on Waterford Crystal vases.  The stress alone from that order is still present in my body as I think back to the time I went through the process of ordering the vases from Waterford, assuring the logo was in the proper placement on the vases, nothing would be broken, the shipments would arrive on time to the location, etc.  Nothing went terribly wrong with the order in the end, but I recall several small hiccups along the way.  My boss and I stayed many late nights to get this order to go as planned.  My husband and I often joke about the two month time span when he did not see me (I was working on this project).  In the original conversation with Edward Jones they had wanted a particular vase that would be backordered for too many days to meet the deadline, so we had to have them pick another vase.  This caused us to have to re-work the way the logo would set on the new vase because there was no clear place for a logo on the other vase.  My boss and I had some scary moments in which we thought the etching company had incorrectly etched the logo on the vases.  It was an extremely expensive order and the largest budget I have ever worked with and possible ever will.

After helping to run such a large-scale successful project like this, and many more over the course of three years, you would this I could easy place a small order and assure it goes fine.  OH NO!  I was so upset, angry, and downright mortified with myself this summer when I ordered t-shirts for our community volleyball league.  The shirts were the same design, but the kids, men, and women had different colored shirts.  I placed the orders for sizes never once thinking for a second that the two older kids who wore adult sizes would receive the women’s color instead of kid’s color, until I got them.  I ended up reordering the two shirts I messed up and paying for them myself, since it was my fault.  The problem with reordering such a small order with the t-shirt company is that they charge nearly double for such a small order. 

Had I thought back to the days I spent with Edward Jones and that Waterford Crystal order, I would have known the importance of paying attention to detail.  I would also have a little more in my budget (the cost of a couple of shirts).  The first stage of this project was when a group of friends and I got together and decided we wanted to have t-shirts made for our volleyball games.  That was the planning process.  When relating this to the project management world, this was a kind of “kick off meeting” as mentioned by Greer (2010).  During this meeting I should have done more initial planning by discussing the sizing as it related to the details of the shirt colors.  I took notes on the shirt sizes of each person wanting to order and knew of a lady that could make the shirts for us.  Projects large and small need alike must have another set of eyes to look over the plans, in my opinion.  Greer (2010) calls this “review and input,” which were both lacking from my project.  I took on the entire project myself and did not ask for anyone to review it and never asked anyone for input before placing the order.  My mistake and it cost me. 

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


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Jenny Hogg