1. Research proposal
2. Research Paper
Assignment #1 Research Proposal
The Proposal should contain around 500 words to include a brief description of the project and what you intend to do to manage it.
Project Topic: Students may pick any project at all to analyze. However, it is strongly recommended that you pick an organization or company you are familiar with and analyze a project in that organization. By picking a familiar project you can ask for and obtain realistic data. You may pick yourself as the organization. That is, you may pick the remodeling of your basement if you wish or planning a party, a wedding, an IT project, or spring clean-up, etc. In some ways, it is much better to pick small projects than large corporate projects from your professional work. It is difficult for us to assess what part you actually played in a very large project.
Using a known organization also shortens the learning curve. Students should resist the temptation to select large, famous projects (such as Boston’s Big Dig). While such projects have mountains of data available, they can be overwhelming. Also, it is difficult to say something that has not been said before.
An important aspect of the project is that there needs to be a significant contribution from a data analysis.
You will need to obtain some data.
Therefore, it is wise to select an organization you know quite a bit about, or that you have access to.
You may pick a project that has not started (new), one that is ongoing (current), or one that has been completed (historical). The requirements and outline will vary somewhat depending on what type of project you choose. How you approach the recommendations will also vary.
Avoid the temptation to write pages describing the project. Ruthlessly concentrate on your own analysis. Assume the audience knows about the project and is primarily interested in your analysis.
Take some time to consider this carefully as you will be developing assignments and using this project for the next several weeks.
Research Paper Due
One of the objectives of the Research Project is for you to use as many as possible of the core concepts introduced in this course. You are going to write a research paper on a project of your own choosing. Utilize the textbook as a guide
Each person’s project is unique, and so each will have different sections. However, within your project you should aim to include as many of the concepts from the course and TEXT as possible: project scope statement, WBS, cost and schedule analysis, and a project network in MS Project. Finally, you are to provide recommendations about the project.
The goals of the research project are for students to:
- Select a project and acquire the appropriate and relevant data.
- Apply the tools and techniques of the course to a realistic project.
- Learn enough from an analysis to be able to make useful recommendations about the project.
- Content and Format
Length: 10 Pages (not including title page, abstract, or appendices)
Style: APA format
This is a RESEARCH PAPER. The length of the paper must not exceed 10 pages, double spaced. Use Microsoft Word for your paper and number the pages.
The first page is the “title page” and contains title, name, etc., along with your abstract. (Yes, you need an abstract.) This page does not count against the 10 pages.
Appendix #1 should contain the references. You may include as many appendices as you like. Appendices do not count against the 10 page limit.
The appendices may contain charts, figures and tables, and these should not include much text beyond that necessary to explain the figure, or to provide a title or reference for the figure. You may include a WBS, network diagrams, tables, charts, and Microsoft Project print-outs in the appendices. These can be in any format that you find convenient.
You should use project management software in creating your paper. Examples are Microsoft Project, Gantter (http://www.gantter.com/), Open Workbench, etc.
The paper should follow APA Format.
- Choosing a Project
Your project will be your proposal which is turned in on September 24.
- Research Project Schedule
- The final completed research project will be due in October 11.
The goal of the abstract and preliminary data assignments is to provide intermediate deliverables. That is, to help you measure progress and stay focused. As in any project, this is the purpose of intermediate deliverables!
- Research Paper Outline
Use this outline as a template for your research project. I do expect details such as WBS and networks, but it’s up to you how detailed you want to be.
- Project Scope
- Include as appropriate the vision, scope, priorities, etc.
- Cost estimate
- WBS, Project Network, and Critical Path
- Risk, Cost and Schedule Analyses, EV, etc.
*****The most important section is “Recommendations.”********
One way to think about this is to imagine that you have been asked to assess a project as a consultant. You are to brief the project manager and/or CEO on the overall status of the project (which may or may not have started, depending on the project you pick). You first analyze the project itself. Then, you present your findings and recommendations. The Recommendations section of your project is essentially the outline of your briefing to the CEO. It is the most important item.
You may modify this outline to suit your project. Different projects have different objectives and the weight given to each section will vary. The key is clear communication. Do whatever it takes to make your point.
References are very important. They show that you are aware of the project management literature (and that you are not reinventing the wheel). If you decide to pick the remodeling of your basement, be sure you’ve studied the project management literature on a) small, personal projects b) home remodeling c) macro cost-estimation for construction, etc.
- General Guidelines
During the course, we will talk about your projects. I will provide constructive feedback, and answer any questions you have. I will advise you on whether you appear to be proceeding in the right direction, and ensure that your project is feasible. If in doubt, ask!
Facilitators will preview your Proposal and provide direction to ensure you are on the right track for your Research Project. It is not graded. Basically, we are looking to ensure that you have not waited until the last minute to start your project. Facilitators will also answer any questions you have and advise you on whether you appear to be proceeding in the right direction. Facilitators will also review your data to ensure that it is analyzable.
It is permissible to change the project from the Proposal, or even after the preliminary conclusions. Sometimes, what you learn from these steps is that changes need to be made. That is OK. If in doubt, explain this to your facilitator.
What is a Proposal? Imagine you are asking for the money to do the project. Convince your facilitator to give you the money.
We now come to the topic of Project Grading. How am I going to evaluate your projects? I will evaluate your projects in the following categories.
|Communication (30%)||Communication is a key aspect of Project Management. How well is the project written? Did you communicate your work and conclusions clearly? Are your references appropriate and correctly formatted?
Turn on the spell checker and grammar checker now.
|Tools and Data Analysis (50%)||Have you used the terminology of the course correctly and throughout your paper? Have you used the tools and technology of the course? Have you used a diverse collection of tools and have you used them appropriately? Was the data analyzed in depth?|
|Recommendations (20%)||Are the recommendations clearly derived from the data? Have you made the case for them? Do the recommendations say something original about the project? Are the recommendations clearly related to your work, or are they just obvious statements about the project? (For existing projects that went over budget, it’s not a big deal to recommend cost cutting. Specifics based on an analysis are required.)
How original are your recommendations?