Project Management Post-MortemTags: think
Task: Evaluate the Project Manager position
This year, I started the role of project manager, and there have certainly been plenty of growing pains. Iron Reign had previously learned to embrace chaos, frequently pulling all nighters and fumbling to finish each part of the robot in a timely manner. In this post, I will discuss all of the different aspects to being a project manager on Iron Reign so that we can continue to improve on our organization. The main focus will be the meeting logs, planning sessions, and the Gantt chart.
- Meeting Logs This year we have completely changed meeting logs. We changed the format to using bullet points rather than long-form, and the way they are told to using feature-benefit language. Feature-benefit describes the what (taking up 2/3rds of the description) followed by the why (taking up 1/3rd of the description). These descriptions are incredibly important to concisely portray our progression to the judges.
- Planning sessions In previous years, we have had trouble implementing these planning sessions effectively and we still have this difficulty. When there is no project manager present, they don't occur at all and must be supplemented with discussion in the Discord. They have been very helpful in constructing agendas in meeting logs, but next year we are going to push the need for these sessions even more. They make sure that every member has a task to accomplish during the meeting and help remove the pull of distractions. In mentoring the freshmen, hopefully these needs will be met.
- Gantt chart The Gantt chart has been the most difficult factor of project management to implement. The higher-level organizational mindset required is one difficult to acquire without any close mentorship. Our Gantt chart has seen many changes, especially earlier in the seasom, but dropped off nearing the end of the season due to other responsibilities. Next year, the most important improvement would be to involve other team members in the creation of the chart a lot more than this year. This would help the chart accomplish higher detail and accuracy as well as allow it to be helpful and references by not only the project manager, but the whole team. They will be implemented into the planning sessions
Next year, there are quite a few improvements to be seen in this role. This was the first year and going in with no previous experience and with the team not used to such a role has been a challenge. Hopefully, most of the mistakes to be made have already been made, and the project manager role in the team can be seen as important to the organization and overall well-being of the team. It requires intense dedication, confidence, and organization, which I have tried my hardest to provide this year, but I have faith that with the amazing abilities of our team, we will improve our organization and project management for years to come.