Thursday, June 9, 2011

Turtle Scope Creep

Scope Creep

My son’s Turtle seem not to be doing well. I have been doing my research on how to overcome whatever issues these Red Eared Sliders are having. I have resigned myself that they are in a tank too small for them. The Project is get them a new tank and relocate them to my office in the basement. Simple, just research the tank size and save some money and buy the tanks and maybe a stand.

We have a 29 gallon tank in my son's bedroom on his dresser/changing table. He is seven and does not require the use of this furniture anymore. In the course of my research I was going to go with a $400, 120 gallon tank. I brought this to my wife like I should learn not to do when I am the PM of this project. First part of scope creep, she said put them in the neighbors pond, we spend too much money on animals we cannot hold and play with. You will not spend $400 and that is final. I had forgotten my rule of ask for forgiveness not permission. She was mad and I said I would compromise but will not take my son’s pets from him. So now it is $190 75 gallon tank.

Next scope creep really hit hard and I question scope creep on this or just poor planning. I need a stand to place the tank on because the pet store owner said my old table won’t hold the weight. After more talking to him, he said I need to raise the tank on cement blocks just in case of water and also paint them. In this cast the “project strategy” was to move this to a high level, because moving a 75 gallon take with water would be next to impossible.

The third scope creep was when I involved and not clearly communicated to my boys what the project was and nothing else. We went to the pet store and it specializes in salt water aquariums. We looked around and both of the boys said “we will have an empty tank and mom will want to sell or get rid of it”. So now I am working on a change of scope document to better help the boys understand the time, money and energy that will go into doing this also with this project. As my wife says I’m a push over and I will do the salt water tank but in a different project. This is one aspect that really has not been addressed. Some of the scope creep can really become a new or different project.

The final scope creep came when I realized I need power to the area where I was putting the tank. This also became a high priority. At this time keeping my wife out of the loop and drawing from my kids as Dr. Stolovich suggests to draw from your team. We revamped our plan and eliminated most of the issue that could arise from the team and stakeholders. (The boys are 7 and 9)
I am the PM and a primary stakeholder, but I could have and should have mapped out the steps and priorities of the project. Laying out the priorities, budget, and steps for a project will eliminate most of scope creep, even in home projects.

Video Program: “Monitoring Projects”, Walden University, 2010

Video Program: “Practitioner Voices: You Can't Win Them All”, Walden University, 2010

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Communication Interpretations

There are three forms of communication that were used as an example to communicate a request from a team member. They were email, voicemail, and face to face (F2F).

Jane is Marks team member and needs data that Mark has to complete her portion of the task. We were given all three modalities of Jane communicating with Mark for the needed Data.

If I could ONLY pick one modality it would be email. The reasons are that it is quick, succinct, and documents the request. But, if I could use multiple modalities I would start with the F2F because it is more personal and I could guarantee fewer hard feelings than with just an email and then follow up with the needed documentation of an email.

One factor I find with email is the interpretation of the reader. Depending on the mood, character, and current situation of the reader there can be many different interpretations of the email. If the reader was depressed and felt everyone was pushing him, he might read the email and be very hurt and frustrated from the pressure.

F2F there are many gestures, facial expressions, voice tone, and body language that goes along with words. Depending on the type of person you may be dealing with this might be the best form of communication. Because there is team there are many personalities. Personalities can build or destroy a team. Being cautious of how you communicate because there can be implications.

I have not thought about communicating with a team before. I personally use a weekly email to each referral source on their clients. I have found that this keeps the emails and phone calls to a minimum. The reason behind this was that I had a manager that constantly questioned me on statuses and I would have to take so much time researching to get the answers that it would take extra time.

Now thinking of how can I communicate with me team? First I would have a F2F with the group and then individually to get to know them personally but professionally. Then I would implement a weekly email to each team member and see how things are going for them. I'm afraid I might open a flood gate of whining and complaints. But, it may be good and weed out the weak, encourage the timid, and promote the strong.


Multimedia Program: "The Art of Effective Communication"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Forum Flopps!

A few years ago I was asked to work with a group and see if I could add to a website they wanted to create. It was a public disability Association that wanted to have a website that could answer questions for people concerning their computer.

I found this to be a worth while cause so I went to several meetings and came back to them with costs and how it can be done. Finally they wanted to limit the help desk and resources to their own local group. I encourage them to reconsider and open it up global but they refused. The cost initially was too high to maintain such a small group.

The PM should have took more interest in the stakeholders from the beginning. There should have been more conversation of what the stakeholders wanted as an outcome.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Project Management

In the next 8 weeks I will be posting blogs on Project Management. Looking forward to reading other blogs on this topic and hearing your comments.


Monday, April 25, 2011


At this time I would like to reflect on the past to determine the future outcome of distance learning. In today’s society we have grown accustomed to and more and more dependent on computers. Technology is abounding around us and there are ways that it may inhibit us, and other ways that it may enhance us. One area of enhancement is distance learning for education, business, or government. All three of these sectors are using distance learning to communicate and learn from one another as well as internally.

George Siemens stated we have “more experience communicating online” and we have the “ability to communicate with diverse groups”. (2010) This communication allows us to experience more and learn from others at a rapid pace and widen our boundaries.

In the future, 5 -10 years from now I feel that the perceptions of distance learning with be more accepted. Then in another 10 – 20 years, I feel that “brick and mortar” schools will be perceived as ancient in their ways and distance learning will be common place. Even with the sciences, this use of blended courses will outweigh the traditional course. I believe there are methods that have not yet been developed or released that will eventually help turn the way almost completely towards distance education.

The Instructional Designer (ID) must set the standard or the bar high so that there is little question that the level of distance education being taught is equal to or better than the education elsewhere. There must be standards and also boundaries set. There needs to be academic ethics in place to make sure the standards are not bypassed by using companies such as Turnin.

Continuous improvement starts with the facilitator and the ID. If issues are found, steps to correct them must be taken, and it would be helpful to make the information public to others who could use the information. Why should one be on an island and learn to build their own wheel? Help others.

Video Program: “The Future of Distance Education” (2010) Walden University

Sunday, April 17, 2011

F2F to Distance with a Best Practice Guide

Have you ever needed to or even wanted to take your Face to Face (F2F) course and convert it to a distance learning environment? There are step to take and issue to think about. I like say plan and evaluate. Use the ADDIE process and you can determine if it right for you. Use the ADDIE process and the transition can be smooth. Here is a Best Practice Guide to help you work through the change.

Best Practice Guide

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Critique of an Open Course Site

 I would like to introduce to you Open Course Sites, sometimes known as Open Course Ware. I choose MIT, yes, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for an example. At MIT Open Course Ware there are ten duooctogintillion (1 followed by 250 zeros) courses. Ok, maybe not that many, but there are a lot of courses!

The example I will evaluate is 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics with Professor Walter Lewin ( This course stated that it is one of the most popular courses at MIT Open Course Ware. 

In reference to layout and preparation, this was well done for a F2F (Face to Face) lecture. When it comes to distance education and planning, this course falls short on communication with the professor, but I believe they are in some way covered if it is a true distance education course for credit.  

This course was not designed to have a threaded discussion with the professor or facilitator. “The threaded discussion is one of the most powerful techniques used in distance education, and the role of the instructor and student related to threaded discussions is important to clarify.” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek, 2009, p.186) according to Teaching and Learning at a Distance. This was the part of the course in regards to planning that was lacking, but they did use as a peer to peer discussion forum. 

What are the recommendations for an online learning environment? It is essential to list the components of the learning or instructional system. “These components are the learner, the content, the method, and materials, and the environment, including the technology. “(Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek, 2009, p.127)  “The components must interact both effectively to produce quality learning experiences. There should be a balance among the components – none can take a higher position than the other.” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek, 2009, p.127)

Dissecting the online learning environment that MIT Open Course Ware created is different in some ways. This course is Open Course which means it does not have grades or credits; but you can also say that corporate training does not have grades or credits either. In fact, corporate training should have interactions with the facilitator in some manner, such as email or a discussion forum. MIT uses as their discussion forum but it is strictly among peers or other students.

The course did follow all the other recommendations for online learning materials. MIT used video of the lecture, and PDFs of the readings, lecture notes, and tests. MIT gave a PDF of the answers for the tests. There were also an introductory video, a syllabus, and a calendar.

The activities were homework assignments and then an answer key for the homework. Therefore, the course did have activities. Optimally, there could be different types of activities and more interactive activities, but credit must be given because this is a class from 1999.

Overall this was a great course with a very interesting professor. I would recommend this course to a student who is interested in Physics.


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., and Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.