Visual Studio 2008 – Project Management to its fullest!

March 7th, 2008 – 1:43 pm
Tagged as: Content Master

Not long left before I finish here at Content Master (I don’t know whether to be happy or sad!). Nevertheless, there were still projects on the go! We have had times of quietness and times of complete mayhem.

However, most of the projects were now complete.

Even though VS2008 had started a while ago, I haven’t really documented on it much. So I thought I’d put a write about what is involved in this entry.

Thos was to be the biggest project of the year and started whilst I was still working on Microsoft Expression Web. Visual Studio 2008 training courses was another MSL course – make that a HUGE course.

This consisted of a large collection of 25 courses, which were spread across three subject titles. We were each given 5-6 courses to manage on top producing the media and eLearning material for each course. We also had to oversee the running of these courses from initial design through to hand-off to the client.

Essentially we had now taken on the role of a project manager, leading courses we had been provided, which at the time was a daunting prospect for everyone on the team. The Microsoft Project 2007 training course was to prepare us for designing the schedule, predicted to run over a period of originally 2 months. This wasn’t looking very promising however, as again, with any project (and in particular mine) – there were course which were not even developed yet!

For the design and production of the courses, our Project 2007 schedule designs were too complex for the team and we had to establish a quicker and more effective way of overseeing the daily tasks of each course.

So it was decided by our team (note: not the project manager who advised us to use Microsoft Project 2007) instead, that each of us create an Excel version of a day-to-day schedule that we would use to update daily task completion, contact members of the team who were due to be completing tasks that day or to prepare other members of the team for the expected workload.

Each collection had its own designated team of Technical developers, Instructional Designers (IDs), a Copy Editor and now the newly named – Media Producers. Each of these personnel also reported to a senior member of staff and to the Test team, who worked across all of the courses throughout development.

My initial job as project manager of course 6460ae Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF (courses 6649 – 6654 inclusive)) was to oversee the initial stages of the design and authoring of the content for these courses. From what I’ve gathered s far, my responsibilities included contacting the relevant members of the team as and when content was created so it could be tested, checked and updated if necessary.

This project was the real test for which correct email form and knowledge of where the course had progressed to was paramount. There was also a lot of communication with members of the US team, in particular the ID team who were stationed in the US. The first month of this project was a big learning curve in taking charge of the situation and staying up to date with the progress of the course depending on what other members of the team had completed.

The project became more challenging when courses started to overlap or slip and there were numerous schedule conflicts which had to be dealt with especially when new courses and projects started coming in! Using the day-to-day schedule sheet that we had produced for our own courses in Microsoft Excel, became essential as there were numerous tasks from each course at different stages to take charge of every day.

This week it was even apparent that the busiest times were spent with two or three hours at the start of each day reading through emails from the previous nights work in the US and letting other members of the team know where the course content was up to and at what stage their input may be required.

One or two hours were also required in the evening, preparing for the evenings work in the US. This project management was on top of the media that had to be created for all of these courses, which included numerous animations and demonstrations (thankfully no simulations!).

These had their own set of rules and development time as well as schedules and spreadsheets for completion, which required updating as and when the content was created.

So yeah, just a quick lowdown on what this project entails!

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