MIS 560: Mid Semester Update

Welcome back to MIS 560! Since my last post, the class has been flying through many important topics. As we’ve progressed, I’ve come to realize three important objectives of this class.

  1. Give us an opportunity to engage in project management in a controlled environment.
  2. Give us a foundational knowledge of technical skills and concepts common in all IT project management.
  3. Build on the current project experience by discussing and training us in project management “best practices.”

Looks pretty simple at first glance, but I can assure you, it is not that easy. In my previous post, I described each project my class was tackling. Because these are all hand-picked projects, we are able to discuss the problems we’ve run into as a class and learn from other teams’ problems. Each team has spent hours outside of the classroom in work sessions, client meetings, and outside research to better understand our projects.

Because all of our projects require a database of some sort, we’ve learned how to draw out Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERDs) and write the SQL scripts to create the modeled databases. This in itself was no picnic. We’ve all put a lot of work into understanding these concepts so we could then apply them to our own projects. Even though we are not expected to reach the build phase, we are in the process of learning Java. This will help us in our design phase.

Speaking of the design phase, our original scope had us handing off the project after the testing phase. In the beginning of this class, many of us thought, “There’s no way we could do that!” “Executive” Jeff calmly (and might I add, slyly), assured us that we would have no problem, he would prepare us. He did prepare us, but taught us a very valuable project management lesson. Keeping an open dialogue with the client is extremely important and in our case, we needed to be open about our capabilities. You need to be realistic and our PMO, clients, and executive knew this, they just wanted us to learn through experience instead of a lecture—which is sometimes the best way to learn.

So now, with our tough conversation with Executive Jeff over, we have changed our scope to finishing our projects through the design phase. Now we can finally relax and enjoy spring break!

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