For a project to be successful the organiser must create a plan. As part of my masters we discussed the use of Gantt Charts, Blueprints and tools to manage your time. If you are unable to manage your time, you will be unlikely to complete the vent or project you have set out to do (or you will have a very unnecessary stressful time).
For my dissertation as part of my Bachelors degree I was required to include a Gantt Chart within my proposal to display how I would organise my time. The Gantt Chart included all my extra curricular activities, work and social outings and it was important to factor in all these elements. I first began by listing everything I thought I needed to do with a time scale next to it. For instance:
- On set filming – 2 days
- Editing – 1 week
- Business Assignment – 1 Month
- Research – 4 months
This gave me basis of what needed to go in my gantt chart. I then finished my numbering the order I thought they needed to start. Next came the hard part, placing my data on to a gantt chart using excel. I am usually quite technically minded but I struggled with this aspect. Once the information began to appear I also realised my dates were possibly wrong and alot of what I had planned academically now affected my extra-curricular activities. Reshuffling the information, I was able to complete my first ever gantt chart.
Surprisingly I stuck to this quite carefully and did find it helped manage my time (although I still found it difficult to initially make). It also helped when things didn’t go as planned. Unfortunately during the 2nd semester I had my appendix out but the gantt chart allowed me to move items about and review my time more easily (once I was back on my feet). I was able to account for everything I had left to do and what could be pushed back. It also let me reflect on the information I was gathering and creating. Was there anything I could leave out? Or was it completely necessary to the project to do this?
The other benefit with the gantt chant was that it was easier to discuss with my mentor where I was and what I needed to do. I didn’t need to display a messy list of items but could show them clearly and visibly. It did however make it glaringly obvious when I was behind but it’s important to not let the panic set in. The chart is designed only for you to manage your time and it’s perfectly okay to be behind just as long as you motivate yourself to complete the work.
The post it note challenge allowed us to display the same information in a more creative and visual way. Our class was split into three groups and each given a scenario with a start and finish. Put simply it was our job to fill in the blanks and timeline it.
Our Group (Group 1) was given the scenario:
Commissioned to Create a Fashion Show in London using Four Designers.
Congratulations on a Successful Event and Enjoy your Bubbly!
Our group began by shouting out any and all ideas and sticking them on the wall. In hindsight this was probably not the best method as we soon didn’t know what was actually up there and what we had said. It also meant the board was being re-jiggled constantly (and battling the constantly escaping notes falling to the floor). When we had a large bulk of notes we stopped and went through from the beginning trying to identify what was missing and if there was anything at the end which required us to do something earlier, for instance we had stated ‘create goody bags’ but hadn’t identified where we would get the items or who would make them. It then allowed us to look at the information financially. Would we require sponsors or funding? Each item spanned it’s own question. Who would do this for us? Or would we be doing it ourselves?
Group 2 and Group 3 both had different approaches too. Group 3 split the information into a beginning, middle and end. There post it notes looked similar to group 1 but with a straight line of information that needed to be done in the middle.
Group 2 took a more technical approach and colour coded their post its into categories.
- Blue represented the Manufacturing
- Green represented the Finance
- Orange represented the Promotion
- Pink represented the Research
This allowed them to focus on the main areas to complete their project, it was also visually easier for someone to understand and anyone could pick up the information. However, due to the limited time frame given to complete the task, meant that there were more aspects that could have been taken in to account if given more time.
All these styles of planning could later be converted into a chart with added information included such as How long each task would take? Which tasks link together? Key items that MUST be completed for the project to move on?
The challenge now is to do the same thing with our first projects!