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2009-06-30 Management techniques

posted Jun 30, 2009, 2:18 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 17, 2009, 6:49 AM by Eddie Woo ]
For consolidation purposes, this has been identified as my final submission in response to question H7.1 from Fuel for Project Registers.

H7.1: Explain the management techniques used during this project.

Planned in the Project Prospectus

The Project Prospectus was a highly significant document for this project. It detailed the goals and intended outcomes of the project, including a plan for the project timeline in the form of a Gantt chart, as well as design tools, such as a context diagram showing interactions between the system and external sources and destinations of data. It also included a list of project personnel.

By including these items of information, the Project Prospectus helped to define the purpose of the project, and give a sense of direction as to what the final product of the project should be like.

Prototyping to aid understanding

Woo Random Files could be considered an unofficial prototype of the final system. It was a prototype in that it was a fully functional Google Sites site, showing (on a much smaller scale) how the intranet could operate. It also helped the system developers (the apocalipticDESIGN team) to understand the limitations and potentials offered by the Google Sites software, and provided the system developers with a hands-on experience on how to effectively use said software.

Furthermore, the intranet as it currently stands had, itself, been the officially-designated prototype of the final system, between 2008-12-20 and 2009-01-29. It was fully functional, and more importantly and unlike Woo Random Files, it was set up to handle the sort of data and information that the final system would need to handle.

Communications with end users, participants, people in the environment

Communications with other people have improved the project significantly. In many cases, the purpose of such communication was to aid understanding, e.g. to find out more detail about the wording of certain parts of the project brief. Communications of this nature were mostly with the project oversight and coordinator, Mr. Woo, and with other participants, such as Joey Chen, Tony Huang, and Ria Mittal.

Very occasional instances of communications with end users was used for feedback about how the system could be improved. This was of limited use beyond providing motivation and encouragement, as such feedback was almost always extremely positive. Active listening was used to confirm that such feedback was understood. For example:

(10:58:14 PM) Blair: hey- what do you think of my cameron block tour?
(10:58:18 PM) Bob:
it's really AWESOME.
(10:58:21 PM) Bob:
didn't i say that already?
(10:58:30 PM) Blair:
i understand that you believe it is awesome
(10:58:32 PM) Blair:
thank you
(10:58:37 PM) Blair:
how could it be improved?
(10:58:40 PM) Bob:
(10:58:41 PM) Bob:
(10:58:44 PM) Bob:
it's slightly distorted
(10:58:51 PM) Bob:
i'm not sure if that's an inherent problem with panoramas
(10:58:59 PM) Bob:
like, the middle appears much larger.
(10:59:07 PM) Bob:
couldn't you just take them all from the same angle
(10:59:11 PM) Bob:
like, all directly in front
(10:59:15 PM) Bob:
although, being due on friday
(10:59:20 PM) Bob:
as in, tomorrow
(10:59:23 PM) Bob:
it might be a bit hard
(10:59:25 PM) Bob:
for you
(10:59:35 PM) Blair:
the distortion - it's just that some parts are further away that others
(10:59:39 PM) Bob:
(10:59:42 PM) Bob:
i know.
(10:59:43 PM) Blair:
therefore the parts that are further away are smaller
(10:59:46 PM) Blair:
thank you for your feedback

N.B. "Bob's" real name has been censored on request to protect his privacy, an example of how the social and ethical issue of privacy was a point of concern that was actively addressed in the production of this project.

People in the environment had to be communicated with in order to acquire data and information for the system. Interview techniques were used frequently for this, as both the audio and video components were similar to interviews. I prepared questions beforehand, and put interviewees at ease. For example, in the unedited versions of both the audio and video components, there was a great deal of conversation e.g. "hello Bach", "how are you today, Mr. Woodhouse" that has since been edited out. The purpose of these conversations was to make people feel comfortable with answering questions in detail and with honesty.

Documenting progress

The project register was used extensively throughout the development of the system. It has been extremely useful in documenting progress on the project, and has also documented progress of my understanding of the course, as well as my changing personality (longer and more sophisticated entries as time goes by). As a result, I have a record of events that I can refer to during the writing of support documentation.

Screenshots taken during parts of project development that were done on computer. Using screenshots documented actions in three very quick steps:
  1. Hit "Print Screen" or "ALT + Print Screen"
  2. Open raster graphics editor of choice (usually, "WIN + R" and then "mspaint")
  3. Save file
By taking screenshots, I could go through the individual steps of a process (e.g. audio editing) to elaborate more about them in my subsequent project register entry, aiding my memory.