Overall, my skills which could be useful for the project include knowledge in graphic design, knowledge of Photoshop and knowledge of the principles of commercial advertising (I developed the Business card, found content for the website and edited the pictures in Photoshop). I volunteered for all tasks related to graphic design and generation of content, because these tasks match my skills profile and personal preferences. Other members of the team (e.g. Tom Taylor) also had skills in graphic design, so I was assigned only several design-related tasks. I have enjoyed completing these tasks, especially the Photography task, where I used various resources to locate the images for the website such as free internet sources and image galleries, searched for images which could be used as holding images at other websites, and contacted with the key stakeholder with regard to providing relevant images.
4. Project involvement
I took active part in the Shine On project, and my workload was similar to the workload of other team members. The time frame for the project was limited, and sometimes work resources of team members were over-allocated, especially at the start of the project. However, I believe that the workload was fair, and that I have done my best to contribute to the project. I was motivated to contribute more, but in certain cases I lacked technical expertise (e.g. knowledge in front-end and back-end development) which was required for the project.
There were two times when I felt overwhelmed by the amount of work: in the beginning when the project initiation document was being developed, and at the stage of database design. In both cases, the whole team was working on these stages, and such concentration of people resulted in bottlenecks in the process of project implementation. However, these bottlenecks were largely caused by the diversity of skills of team members. In the next project, I would recommend to assign the responsibilities of project manager and project manager assistant to team members along with other roles. These responsibilities should be assigned to people who possess maximal leadership and analytical qualities; with the help of these two roles, we would be able to divide the team in 2 parts instead of working on the same milestone with the whole team. In my opinion, 3-4 team members can cope with the project stages in a similar project, and it would be reasonable to divide the team in 2 groups.
5. Implications for professional development
In the process of project planning and implementation, I have reviewed various sources on project management, found specific literature on managing multimedia projects and considered different approaches to project management in IT sphere. Furthermore, I have learned how to manage, plan and schedule a real project, and mastered key functionality of Microsoft Project for managers, such as Gantt charts, reports, critical path and resource allocation tools. These skills will definitely be useful for me both in work-related management activities and in managing own life as the largest project.
I have also learned how to build work breakdown structure and how to balance resources in the project. These activities have greatly improved my scheduling abilities and helped build management skills which would definitely be required in my future work, since the skills of effective task planning and delegation are essential for any manager.
Along with professional management skills, my personal skills have also benefited from this project: I have learned how to gather project requirements and how to identify key areas of requirements. The project has greatly improved my time management skills and also contributed to my leadership skills: my communications have become more effective, and I have learned how to accept and give effective feedback. My skills of collaboration have also significantly improved due to this project: working with a diverse group of people on interrelated task has been a challenging, but also a very rewarding experience. I have also learned how to present my own work and how to prioritize between different goals and objectives. Overall, my professional and personal skills have significantly improved after participating in a real-time project.
In the process of managing and implementing the website project for Shine On company, I have gained unique personal and professional skills both in the sphere of management and in the sphere of IT technology, which are likely to help me in my future work. I did my best to contribute to the project, and, taking into account my lack of prior experience of team working and certain overlapping of skills with other team members, I think I could not have contributed more to the project.
If I were to restart this project again, I would have set clearer milestones and used critical chain project management from the very beginning. I would also add stages of change management to the project, because there were moments when the project stages and milestones were changed, but these changes somewhat lacked consistency; I would also have divided the phase of creating project initiation document in smaller phases, and would have added the project delivery and training section (the employees of Shine On would need some training or manual for the website). Finally, with the new knowledge and experience about this project, I would have recommended Agile approach to management as it could have led our team to better results within the same timeframe.