Project & Content Management is a course taught in the Bachelor of Communication Studies – Information Design program. It is structured to align with a product life-cycle development model and the processes used to manage projects, programs, and portfolios that are common to large organizations. Focusing on the skills needed by project managers and teams to excel in the workplace, this course exposes students to decision making and problem solving. This is done through the development of project management deliverables such as the project selection process and a risk/uncertainty assessment. As evident, group work is a significant component of this course.

Challenge

Project teams are provided four different projects to choose from. Each team needs to decide on the best project to work on for the entire duration of the semester, using a selection process.

For every project, there are risks and uncertainties. The team must identify the risks and uncertainties in the selected project, by examining each task to see how much risk might be associated with it.

Solution

To determine which of the four projects was best to work on, they were put through a number of comparisons. The first method was a Factor Rating Test. In the factor rating test, the projects are graded on a scale of 1 to 10, based on relevant criteria (strong financial control, ease of implementation, minimal manpower, length of project). Two out of the four projects – project A & D – had the highest scores and were compared further using a T-table. In the T-table, the advantages and disadvantages of the two projects were laid out. Project A – the project with the most advantages and the least disadvantages, was chosen. A SWOT analysis on Project A was carried out to evaluate the internal strengths and weaknesses and external threats and opportunities of the project, as well as to provide the team with insights regarding the organization and areas to be aware of.

The team then used different tools to assess the risk and uncertainties of the project. By visually and numerically analyzing uncertainty, the team became more apparent to problems before they arose. The first tool used to assess the risk is known as risk mapping. Risk mapping presents the unfavourable and favourable certainties for the project, and are marked based on whether their impact is high or low. The Failure Modes & Effects Analysis (FMEA) correlates the risks with their causes and effects and provides a severity rating, likelihood rating, and detection difficulty rating for each task. Countermeasures for each risk are listed in uncertainty response tables.

Outcome

Going through the project selection process showed the team’s ability in decision making. The team made the right decision in choosing the project, and were able to set a precedent for the following deliverables. Conducting the SWOT analysis, for example, helped them towards brainstorming for their Work Breakdown Structure development.

Identifying the risks, and mapping and rating them showed the team’s ability to solve problems. This activity allowed the team to come up with risk mitigation strategies — or countermeasures on the uncertainty response tables, schedule the tasks, and come up with cost control measures and other project monitoring methods.