These notes are designed primarily for Cert4 programming students who have or are just completeing the programming course and are about to start the Project Managment course.
I have been there and done what you are about to do, and it wasnt what I'd expected. At the end of term, me and my project partner (the only other programer in the class - Alex Phipps) wrote some suggestions and made a power point slideshow of them (hints for the next mob or programers.
I am also going to list them here.
Project Class Debriefing.
What I though of project.
I learnt heaps.
- Gained experience working in a group.
- Gained experience using subcontractors and briefing them so as to get the desired results.
- We had a real client, which was great for real world sort of experience.
- Project work is boring, but rather useful.
What I would do differently.
- Start on the Gantt chart earlier
- Iíd probably rather have a slightly bigger team.
Hints for the next mob of programmers.
- Donít expect to come into the class and start programming in the first week.
- Project Documentation takes up at least ĺ of the time.
- Get your GANTT chart up and running as soon as possible, as it will help with the rest of the project.
- Always allow more time for a task than it should actually take.
- Keep a project log or diary, so you can record everything you do. This will prove that you have been doing things, not slacking off.
- Swap contact details, so if you canít make it in to class you can let the other team members know, so they arenít waiting for you.
This is not an extension of the programing class. This is a project managment class. You wont be doing terribly much programing in this class. Most of it is documentation - and not code documentation, but reports and things. Documentation will take up most of your time. You also have to either chose or be given a project, and then you will have to have meetings with your client (real or teacher) and things like that.
One of the most crucial parts of documentation is your GANTT chart. It's part of MS Project. If you're lucky, someone might show you how to use it, otherwise its just a case of playing with it. You end up with a timeline of all the little jobs you need to do and how long they should take - and using that you get a end date for the project. Dont fall into the trap we did though. We were told to make our project longer than we needed, and we did, but not by much. And near the end of the course we were all given a piece of paper saying a delivery was going to be 2 weeks late, and work it into the project. It was a fictional situation, but I think it is part of the Cert4 so everyone will have it happen.
If we had done what had been recomended and given ourselves more time for each job it wont have mattered. I think real project managers decide how long a project should take if everything is smooth sailing, and then adds half of that on to the project in case of problems.
Keep a diary or log. That way you can show people that you werent slacking off and were actually working. Its also useful to combat the "What did we do last week again?" sort of mind blanks.
And do the smart thing, swap contact details. Alex and I swapped emails, but not phones to start with, and then when Alex got sick she couldnt contact me and I didnt know what was going on and was waiting for her to show up. It's common sense, but we forgot.
We also got a yahoo email address for the project and used it's Yahoo! Breifcase to store the documents so we could access the latest versions from anywhere.
And if all your teams finish before the end of term, you can do what we did and have a great LAN party for the last day.
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