Kurt T. Whiteman

Major: BBA MIS
Graduation: May 2014

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MIS3535 is an interesting change of pace and unique learning experience. We learn important management skills and have the opportunity to practice our management skills with the Buisiness Analyst students. This semester, my BAs face a challenge presented by TU Press. My goal is to help the BAs deliver a successful prototype that meets the specific needs of our client, TU Press.

This page is my personal blog where I will post my weekly progress and struggles as I strive to coach my BAs through creating a solution to TU press’ struggles. My entries will be added as comments to this page.

10 thoughts on "MIS 3535"

  • Journal Log 1: 2/13/15 – I’ve just begun to familiarize myself with Microsoft Project. It took me a few days to properly install project on my computer. Problems arose after I downloaded the software and was prompted to burn the “.iso” file to a disc. My laptop doesn’t have a disc drive. I did a little research and found I could get around this obstacle by installing a virtual disc drive. I found a website service that could partition part of my hard drive into a virtual disc, and installed the software onto that virtual disk. So now that I have Project on my computer, I am excited to begin working within and learning the software. I have already watched a few hours of Linda videos on how to use Project, but I find it much easier to learn if I can practice and play around in the software. As I did this, I used Microsoft’s support website to answer and questions I had. Next week I plan to finalize my team schedule.

  • Journal Log 2: 2/20/15 – I finished creating the schedule in Microsoft Project. I ran into a lot of issues with allocating resources and the auto schedule function in Project. There are specific due dates that I wanted to schedule our work around, but every time I auto-schedule the date changes to a much earlier time and my summary tasks have obscure durations like “87 days” and “125 days”. I am still figuring out how to make these values more realistic without having to change the entire schedule. I thought that changing my team calendar to be more realistic to how much time I expect my team to spend on my project would be beneficial. I gave everyone a 4 hour work day, not expecting any single person to spend more than 4 hours a day on this project. I also changed the calendar to accommodate for test days and spring break as I do not expect our team to work on their project the day before one of their exams. Our group is starting to get to know each other more and have more cohesiveness as we spend more time together. One of our members had a health issue so his focus isn’t completely there, but it has been an opportunity for us to connect on a more personal level, which we learned is essential for a team to be successful. Our team’s commitment is not fully there yet, but as we get to know each other and respect each other more, then I think we will receive more commitment from the BAs.

  • Journal Log 3: 2/28/15 – This week marked the transition of the end of the planning phase and the beginning of the execution phase of our project. Our team will now start tracking progress, and I have begun to note the actuals and compare them to my estimates for the project. So far, after my team has completed the scope document, we are below budget. At this weeks’ team meeting, Annamarie and I really pushed our team to start using JustInMind. We showed them a brief introduction of the software and what you can do with it. I hope that over spring break my team familiarizes themselves with JustInMind. We encouraged them to call or email Annamarie or myself with questions. Our goal is to have the team enjoy working with JustInMind so that they can be comfortable when it comes time to create the prototype. Also, we prepared our team for the upcoming final interview session. We gave them tips to refine and focus their questions to be more loaded towards our teams’ scope. We also advised our team to take any scope document feedback from their instructor and revise their scope accordingly, and then hand it in again for another revision/opportunity for feedback.

  • Journal Log 4: 3/6/15 – The end of Spring break needs to be a catalyst for our team to really begin rolling up our sleeves and executing the plans we’ve mapped out over the past few months. That is the message Annamarie and I have tried to really drive home to our BAs over break. Over the past week, there wasn’t any work done that will directly affect our project, but we kept communication within our team to make sure that everyone was familiarizing themselves with JustInMind, and asking Annamarie and me any questions that arose. It was important for us (the PMs) to keep the team’s project goals in the back of everyone’s minds last week. This will allow for a smoother transition as we return from break and really get into the meat of our project.

  • Journal Log 5: 3/13/15 – Our team has made minimal progress on our project since last week. I think the first week back from Spring Break was more of a recovery period than a progression period. Annamarie and I created our RACI chart, Organizational chart, and Stakeholder document. These documents are important deliverables that help to solidify every team member’s role and responsibilities. We gave instructions to our team to continue to familiarize themselves with JustInMind. I feel as though they are not yet ready to begin working on our project in JustInMind. I’m underwhelmed with the response and effort from our team members, so Annamarie and I need to brainstorm some new ways to incentivize our team and keep them focused on our project.

  • Journal Log 6: 3/20/15 – This week was encouraging for me as our team started to sound excited about the project. At our weekly meeting, Annamarie and I went over the group’s ideas and decided on our top 3 we liked the most. We identified the three most-likely groups of end-users that we could cater our solution toward (students, professors, and authors). Also, our group gave us their revised scope document with notes/comments from their professor. We coached them on how to revise the scope and advised them to make another copy and hand it in to their professor again. I’m finding my estimates were high on our schedule for how long it would take to get things done. As a result, we are under budget. A huge factor in the discrepancy between estimates and actuals is that my estimates often have everyone workings on tasks together, when in reality our group works individually and then we collaborate/review as a group before moving on.

  • Journal Log 7: 3/27/15 – This week I added baseline start and complete tabs. Creating a baseline was essential for tracking how the project is going and analyzing actuals. Actuals were recorded on Monday after our weekly team meeting. The team continues to complete tasks in less time than I had anticipated, meaning we will be under budget for the project as a whole. Later this week, my team continued to discuss personas and the differences in how they would use our new website. Author’s especially have a different view and approach to the website. My team seems focused on the scope which is a good sign, I don’t worry about any scope creep from this group.

  • Journal Log 8: 4/3/15 – This week my team pitched the idea of combining their prototype with another team’s prototype. Our group is redesigning the TU Press website, while the team they plan to work with is creating a mobile application for forgotten Philadelphia. The plan is to create a link on the new TU Press website to download the Forgotten Philadelphia App. In turn, the forgotten Philadelphia app will have links to the TU Press website with login information already stored. I think this is a great idea, and am happy to see our team working together in JustInMind. I’ve continued to be available for our team’s questions, and encouragement as they are slightly behind schedule. Schedule and budget are slightly off of projections, but the quality of work we’ve received from our team has been satisfactory.

  • Journal Log 9: 4/10/15 – We have had some compatibility issues with JustInMind. We realized that in order for people to work together and have JustInMind update in real-time as multiple people work on the same document, everyone needs to be running the same version of the software. Some team members still need to update to get the latest software version. If everyone doesn’t have the latest version, then teammates can’t send each other revisions. My team has about 30% completion on their prototype. I gave them a wake up call to get this done in the last three weeks of the semester. I viewed their prototype and gave constructive criticism as well as positive reinforcement on the things that were impressive. There were some vision issues within the team. Not everyone working towards the same template/layout of the final product. We decided to break the team up into 3 JustInMind specialists and 2 business document specialists. I believe this will help the team work more efficiently.

  • Journal Log 10: 4/17/15 – This week was the start of “crunch time” for our group. At this weeks’ group meeting I emphasized how this is their time to get the work done and make sure the prototype is finished by the weekend. Then they could spend the last few days profecting the presentation, smooth over any kinks in the prototype, and polish all of their business documents. Checking the schedule, we are way under budget as a result of my allocating every person to each assignment. I should have realized that our group would divy up the work and not that everyone would work together on everything. Our group seems nervous about getting everything done, and having the prototype be up-to-snuff compared to the other teams in their class. Annamarie and I have tried to get them to focus on their own prototype and what they do well instead of how everyone else is doing. I think our group will do well, but there still is a lot of work to be done and not much time is left before our group presentation.

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