So for this week’s assignment we are to reflect on a previous project that either failed or did not result in the desired outcome. The project that springs to my mind was my Testing Center Rules and Regulations project. When I first started working for Ivy Tech Community College my department ran the testing center for the campus. In the past we had only administered proctored exams for online courses but in the fall of 2013 we were given all testing in Ivy Tech. Due to the drastic increase of students we needed to update our testing center rules and also include new rules for tests we have not administered before. I was placed as the leader of the rules and regulations committee and tasked with creating a new set of rules and regulations that would not only cover all the necessary steps for proctoring all the different tests, but increase efficiency of the center to better accommodate the increased population.
The process of creating this document which we followed was throughout the creation of these rules and regulations the committee would send in a draft for review. We would then complete any edits that they asked for and continue moving forward adding more and more components. We completed the project early and we gave the final result to my supervisor and her assistant to do a final review. The next day the supervisor called me into her office and stated that she and her assistant were not pleased with the rules and regulations and that we had too many rules which would decrease our efficiency. She went on to state that she and her assistant had gone over the final document and made some very large edits and that would be the new list of rules and regulations. I was in complete shock, I thought the project was going great, but when I look back at it I noticed a few major warning signs.
As we would work on the rules we kept adding on more and more rules and regulations, Portny, S. E., et al, (2008) suggest that the project plan includes “a detailed description of the results to be produced” (p78). I had a vague objective that I should have clarified better with the supervisor instead the committee had the motto of the more the better and this is what essentially killed the project. I also notice when looking back that the communication with my supervisor was problematic. The largest problem was that she and her assistant were reviewing our work and we would receive contradicting edits which would then have to be clarified, plus the fact that none of the edits illuminated us to the fact that the document was becoming too bulky. Portny, S. E., et al, (2008) states that a potential pitfall is “not identifying and sharing key project assumptions” and that to remedy this I should have “Recognize that information one person considers true might not be. Investigate the rationale behind all assumptions” (p. 107). I understand as the project manager I should have kept a closer eye on the end product and how well it would actually work for us, but I was blinded by making an amazing set of rules and regulations that would cover every step of what a test proctor would do and every possible occurrence to happen. The scope of the project got away from me and if I had produced a more detailed description of the results I might have been able to avoid this. In the video Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ (Laureate) Vince Budrovich explains that “The challenge of setting the scope right is fundamental if the project is going to work right and sometimes that’s a key big question right at the start”.
Looking back I feel that if I had been following the PM process the define phase would have cause my project to be a success. In the define phase I would have prepared roles and objectives very clearly and would have a detailed list as to what was the end result of the project. This list would have allowed me to see the scope creep and taken action to rectify it before it got out of hand. I also think that the extra time I took discussing the details of the project with my supervisor would allow me to understand and clarify any assumptions I may have had.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
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.