MMP9: Lead the Horse to Water, And Make Damn Sure It Drinks: How to Lead Successful & Transparent Projects

Alana Riley 
SharePoint Administrator, Berklee College of Music

The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at

Announcer: This is one in a series of podcasts from the HighEdWeb Conference in Austin, 2011.

Alana Riley: So my name is Alana Riley. I work at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I'm just curious, how many of you have any formal project management in place? OK, so there's a few of you. Is that just your department or is that college-wide, university-wide?

Audience 1: Department.

Audience 2: Department.

Alana Riley: Department. OK. I come from a background of art, so I'm not certified to be a project manager. I studied film, art history, film making, but I have been able to successfully manage projects. So if I can do it, I think anybody can do it. I hope to share some tips with you, I'm going to tell you some stories, and hopefully give you some things you can take back and start implementing right away, either you make what you do now better or maybe a tip or two to just start somewhere.


So first thing is first, this is mmp9, so if you want to tweet about anything I'm saying that you like or you don't like, either is OK. That's the hash tag and this is my Twitter name - just my full name Alana Riley. This is my email, So if we can't connect today or if we can't connect tomorrow, you can feel free to email me with any questions you have about the presentation or project management, any of that good stuff.

So I've talked to a lot of people here. I've talked to a lot of people in Boston. I actually live in Rhode Island so I know some people that are working at those universities.

Providence College. And a lot of people, it seems, do not have any formal project management in place. I think this group is good because it seems like a good amount of you do, which is great, but a lot of people don't and they say that it's tough to implement or the resources or it's too expensive.

It's not that hard. You can start at a very small scale and really, you can't afford not to. I think it's going to really end up hurting you, it will hurt your staff, it will hurt your organization, if projects are mismanaged.


I think we've all heard the harsh stories of projects that have gone terribly wrong from no planning. You want to do A and you end up not doing A, and it costs you $200,000 more, and sometimes, it can cost you your job if you plan that poorly. So it can be scary thing. Your project will end up in the trash, and again, your job may end up in the trash. If you do not know what you're doing to manage a project if it's a large scale and it's cost the university a lot of money.

There's three things that I think most people want their projects to do. They want them to come in on time, they want them to come in scope, and they want them to come in in budget. Kind of the three important things. So during this presentation I want you to think about one area of improvement that seems to kind of be the theme of this conference. Try to take one thing from the conference.


I've been trying to take one thing from each session that I can take home. So try to think about one thing you think you can improve on. See if I talk about it, if not, if you have any questions about it, we can always talk about it later.

So the magic number is three for this session. We're going to talk about three things. We're going to talk about people, we're going to talk about project documents, and we're going to talk about some project tools; fun tools, tools you can use right away.

In terms of people, we're going to talk about some of the soft skills - how to keep them happy, how to keep them healthy, mentally healthy on your project team, and how to keep them productive. For documents, I'm going to go over the project charter, which is very standard. The project work breakdown structure, again very standard, and a network diagram. In terms of tools, we're a Mac shop, so we try to use things, obviously, either we can put our Mac, a client or Web-based stuff.


So these are the three things that I really like to use and then we've implemented at Berklee: Basecamp, which is our online project management software; ScreenFlow, which is a screen capture software; and Wunderlist, which is a nice little to-do list you can have on multiple devices and clients, and that's PC-friendly too, which is good.

And at the end, I made a little resource pack. So the stuff I talk about in this session, the documents, I'm going to talk about a book. There's links to that stuff and then there's the actual documents. So I've put a charter in there, a blank charter you can fill out, some information on how to fill it out. So hopefully that it can get you started.

So my wireless has stopped working. I'm going to talk a little bit about the Berklee process first so you kind of know where I'm coming from. At Berklee...


All right, we may have to go with the back up. I'll go old school. At Berklee, we have something called the PPC. It stands for Project Portfolio Committee. This group collaborates with departments to help them plan projects, give them IT resources, charter the projects, schedule the project.

And the PPC is really an IT thing. It was developed an IT, but it's a service we provide to the whole college. So every department is represented on this PPC Committee - Project Portfolio Committee - and each division has one to three reps. So you have to at least one, but no more than three.


What this does is it protects resources, it protects us, IT resources. It helps departments get what they want and what they need and it does it in a sort of a very organized way. So here is this process, and when you download this you'll be able to kind of look at this little closer up, but this is the PPC process that we go through when a project needs to be done per department, involving IT resources.

So we try to make it very organized, very streamlined. So let's say you're in admissions, you need a project done, you need a new software platform implemented, and you need our help. You're going to submit that project. The PPC Committee, again, which is representative of the college as a whole, so somebody from each area is on this thing, is going to review your project.

If they think it's a good project for the college it will be approved. It will go on to charter phase. You'll be assigned a project manager and then you'll actually make your charter. You will write your charter.


Once that charter is finalized, it's approved, it looks good, we can schedule your project at that point and at Berklee, we have four-month work plans. So if you submit your project in January, we're going to figure what the next four-month chunk is that your project can get going on. So, again, everything is very organized. Your project will last two years, but it's going to be scheduled somewhere within this four-month block.

So when the project starts, it's in plan, it goes, this chart kind of skips over all the stuff in the middle, but we're going to cover some of that in the document section. Once your project is complete, we then have a review process. So we're going to send out emails to everybody that was on that project team and say, hey, how did it go? What went wrong? What could go better to capture that feedback? All the project teams also meet and they have some of their own discussions on things; what went wrong, what they could do better.


This is the form if you want to submit a project at Berklee. It's super simple, three questions, that's it; what's your project, why should we pursue it, and do you have any additional feedback about it.

Question number two gives you some options. This is support one of our strategic initiatives. This is support of department goal. Will it cut cost/improve efficiency? Is it a legal requirement that needs to be done? It kind of gives us a sense of what you're doing.

And then we have this nice little document library. So we provide people with checklist, with charter templates, how-to guides, training guides, examples of those things. If you're not sure what you're doing, we'll probably direct you here and walk through it with you and make sure you know what you're doing so you can organize your stuff correctly.

Once projects are on their way, we have this little queue sections. Anybody can come here and see what projects are open, who the project manager is, what phase they're in. So this is one of the transparent points in this presentation.


We try to make things very transparent to people so they know what we're working on, when we're working on it, and in what stage we're in. We also have a priority list both for projects that are just in proposal phase, so stuff that's not been scheduled, not been approved, and then some stuff for completed charters.

So this gives you kind of a snapshot of what's really important in the college and what we're focusing on so you know what we're doing and where our resources are. We also have some meetings at Berklee, which are kind of standard. I'm involved in a project now, a portal implementation project. So it's a pretty big college project affecting whole college.

There's four meetings that we use quite often. The one-on-one meeting, so the project team is going to go meet with the project manager one-on-one, or project team members are going to meet with other project team members one-on-one to keep those lines of communication open.


And in this portal implementation project, we have a project manager up here. Because this is so big, we need a bunch of different teams. So we have a taxonomy and design team, we have a technical team, we have a learning management systems team. Each of those teams has a team lead under which they have their team.

So we have weekly team lead meetings, where the team leads meet with the project manager for updates. We have monthly full-team meetings, where the team lead and their team and the project manager all meet. And then we have this, what we call the daily hot topics meeting.

So as we're approaching the end of a project or reaching a milestone, the key people all get in a room and we meet for 15, 20, 30 minutes, and we go over what our hot topics are: what do we really need to get done, what's becoming a road block, I need you and I need you to help me with this, can we go do that, great, let's do it, and the next day we update everybody on it.


So let's talk about what you can do now - what you can do in your projects. We're going to start with people. People, the soft skills, don't always come up in project management discussions, but I think because I don't come from a project management background, I'm more of a people person, this is what I tend to focus on the most.

I think this is something you really need to master to make your projects successful. There's something called positive psychology and two things I'm going to talk about...well, I'm going to check with a few things in this section, but they come from two places. One is a book called "The Happiest Advantage". The other are few examples from a man named Danny Riley. If you're involved in MIT or Duke, you may know of him. I'm not sure where he is, but I think he taught at one of those schools.

So here's a shocker. Did you know that our brain performs best when we're happy, when we're positive. We think outside the box. It's a logical thing, but sometimes I think we don't consciously think about it enough.


It's been proven that having a positive mindset can actually change the outcome of a situation. So it's not that it just makes it enjoyable doing, you can actually change the outcome of something. Three examples; students that were primed to feel happy or have a positive mindset before taking a test did better than students who were not. Doctors who were primed to be happy or positive before making a diagnosis, came up with more creative solutions for their patients.

Sales people - sales people who are primed to be happy or positive outperformed sales people who were not primed to be happy. Here's the problem, this statistic is from 1998 and there's a reason it's from 1998, but for every one study done on happiness, 17 studies were done on depression. As a society, I think we know how to be unwell very well.


Not our fault, some of which is genetic. There's a lot of external factors coming in that. Sometimes it's pressure we're applying on ourselves that's getting in the way. So let's jump from 1998 to 2011, and these aren't new terms by any means, but they're becoming very, very prevalent in our life - war, terrorism, recession, unemployment, foreclosure, homelessness.

We probably have been affected by one of these or know somebody that lost their job, maybe on the verge of losing their job, maybe it's a family member, maybe it's a friend. That stuff can affect you. So when you come in to your job that day you're carrying all these other stuff with you.

So as a project manager, as a manager, as a leader, how can you have your employees come in and make them feel happy, make them feel positive? Before you do that, you have to manage yourself. You have to make sure that you are setting a positive example. People will feed off your energy. Your project team will feed off your energy. You have to come in optimistic. You have to set the tone for that.


Some people do a simple little thing, they write down three things either in the morning or at night, for the last 24 hours that were good, something positive, something you can focus on. That can train your mind to getting more positive mindset if you feel like you're having trouble with that because, again, as a leader, I think that's stuff you really, really need. Can you lead a project if you're not so happy or negative? Sure, but you're going to lead a lot better if you adapt this kind of a mentality.

Let me tell you two quick stories and then we're going to move on to some project documents. The first one is about an airline. We probably have all been in this situation. Passengers were on board a plane, and it was delayed but their phones were still on so they we're getting updates every 10 or 15 minutes or so, plane is still delayed, we'll let you know, plane is still delayed, we'll let you know.

The flight attendants kept them posted. Finally, the pilot came out and said, "I don't feel comfortable flying. We're going to exit the plane. When you get off the plane, the gate agent is going to have all the information for you and tell you what to do, and it's going to be great."


But what do you think happened? They got off the plane and the gate agent had no idea what to tell them. So now the passenger getting frustrated. The gate agent is getting frustrated because they were not told what was going on. The gate agent became very frustrated. She then got angry, and actually told people, "You need to stop asking me questions or I'm going to call the police."


Alan Riley: That's not the best customer service. So her frustration led to anger, her anger led to a complete lack of productivity. These are strong negative emotions that will affect everybody in its path. So what happened here?

Whatever airline this was, either they didn't have a great communication plan in place or management or leadership weren't really doing their job because that employee was in a situation where they weren't sure what the heck they were doing, they became frustrated, it affected the people flying, which could be your users, and again, that can negatively affect you, your staff, and your organization.


Another story about Lego robots. A group of people were asked if they wanted to build Lego robots for money as an experiment, so they said sure. When they were done with building their robots, half the group was asked do you want to build another one for another whatever it was, $10. They said sure.

So the people conducting these experiments took their robot and put it in a nice little box off to the side. That was great. They got a new set of Legos, they built their robot, they wanted to build it bigger and better than before, they were happy, it was fun. The other half of the people they wanted to build a new one, their robot was destroyed in front of them. And then they were given the pieces back and said, "Here you go, build it again."

So how would you feel if you're in that situation? You're having fun, you're building a robot, great, they get you a new set, I'm going to build it bigger and better than before, and I did this and I didn't really like what I did. I'm going to try this, I'm going to try this new thing. The people that had it destroyed in front of them is kind of the downer.


You feel like you're now just doing the same thing over again. You don't have that same happy feeling, that same optimistic feeling. You're not thinking with that creative energy. So here's the lesson, very simple. It doesn't take much to make someone feel appreciated, but it also does not take much to make somebody feel unappreciated.

So think about that with your project team. It doesn't take big things. It could take a little probably when you reach a milestone or checking with him in each morning and say, hey, how are you doing? What can I do for you? Sometimes it's the little things that can make all the difference.

So let's move on to documents. The project charter. Who uses project charters or is familiar with them? Project charter is really like your building permit. It's kind of that first block of project management. If you don't have a charter, you probably shouldn't be doing a project because you're not going to know what you're doing, you're project team is not going to know what you're doing, and the organization in your department are not going to know what you're doing.


The charter includes some very key things. Your scope; what are you doing, be very specific exactly what you're doing. State that out, write that out so people know. The business case, why is this important? Your assumptions, risks, and dependencies. Are there other projects that have to be done before this? Is there a software update that it needs to go through before I can launch my new platform, whatever it may be?

Your project team, who you're key people. Put them on there. Let them know you're on their project team. I'm sure many of us have been approached late in the game and said, "Hey, I'm working at this project for a year, it's due next Friday and I really need you to do all this stuff." And then you have to drop what you're doing and figure it out because it has to be done and your vice-president wants it to be done, and you don't sleep, and it's bad, it's a mess. It's frustrating.


Your deliverables. What are you doing and what are you not doing? This is kind of like the "is, is-not" statement. Be very clear about what your project is going to be, and what it is not going to be. If you don't do that, you can have something called "scope creep", where people are inserting things into your project you didn't initially anticipate you're going to do.

That can cause stress on you, on your project team, it can end badly. Your milestones and your phases. Even if you have a small project, sometimes it's good to have some milestones in there because your project team can celebrate them along the way, which you can. Because there's little things that you can do to make your project team more happy and in turn they become a little more productive.

And your change-control process. This is a big one. If you are doing A, B, and C, and you're totally sure that's all you need to do, and your scope is defined, and you've done all your research, and your charter is good to go, it's signed, but now you figured it out, "Oh, my God. I have to do D." But nobody knew, nobody's fault, it's fine, but you need to have a procedure to work that in because now, your resources are going to have to go to that, your timeframe is going to have to change, it's definitely going to expand the scope, it may push the timeframe out on your project now. So that's important to have.


This is the top part of the chart that we use. This is one of the things you're going to get in that resource pack. It will be blank so you can kind of fill it in, and if you want to brand it for your school, you can. All right, so this is the first page of our project charter.

Our project description is first, so that's really our scope. We didn't have our business case, why are we doing this? We didn't have our assumptions, risks, dependencies section. Just another screenshot of the charter. Here's our project teams.

In each team really needs a core group, obviously, you need a project manager. You should have an executive sponsor and a project sponsor, the people who kind of either initiate it or that contact that you can go back up to your VP or whoever it may be to talk about stuff like scope changes or if there's big issues in the project.


We do something else on ours. We also include some of our sub-teams. So if we know that we need 30 people representation from all around the college, we're going to contact those people, we're going to contact their management, and their name is going to go on here.

So they know their part of it, we know their part of it. And when it comes time for them to help out, they've already been approved, time has been allocated, they're good to go. Here's a screenshot of our milestone. In phase part, you notice...I don't know if you can see it. The first thing is actually sign charter. So we get very specific even signing the charter is a milestone because that means we did a great job documenting everything out, it was approved.

So again, the little things make a big difference. Change control process. It could be something as simple as whenever a change is requested, the PM will have the appropriate project team members as estimate the effects on the project cost schedules, scope and quality.


It doesn't have to be long, it doesn't have to be extensive, but just something. You should have something. And the next important part, everybody signs it. Everybody signs it. If you're on this project your manager needs to sign it, so they know you are part of this.

This means that they read it, they've agreed with it, they're good with it, they know when the time comes you're going to have to use X-man of hours for this project. And then that gets posted online. So that screenshot before the big project was we have where as soon as the project was off the ground, it's listed there and what phase, and who the project manager is, this gets attached.

So at any point, anybody can go look at this to know who's on it, what the scope is, et cetera. The WBS, Work Breakdown Structure. Has anybody heard or does anybody use this? You people? All right. This is a great one. This include...after the charter is done, you wanted to round up your project teams and then the key players, and make something that should include every tasks, every person, every time estimate.


It looks like this. So you have your primary task up front, and anything that has to be done underneath to complete that task all the way down. I mean, some of ours get very long. I can probably throw it out and hold it up here and it would go to the floor. They can get long. But, again, you have things documented so people know what you're doing. They know how much time it's going to take you to do something. And you're very transparent about it.

After we have our work breakdown structures done, we then do network diagrams. Network diagrams include, at least the ones we do, everything that the work breakdown structure does; the task, the person, time estimate, but this can also help us get our critical path.

So this is just a very simple one I made just to demonstrate. After we have our primary task up here and all of our sub-tasks down there, we're then going to kind of put them in order so we can have this...we now have a little road map and you could put some time estimates up there.


So on the top here, it's very small, but it says one month over those first three blocks. At the bottom, I've had six months. The ones with the big gap in front of it. So our first primary task, there's three things we can do together. They're not really dependent on each other. They can be done at the same time.

The top row has two other tasks that need to be completed after that first one, and that's going to take a month. We jump down to the bottom, this first task may take six months or it's going to take us six months to get to that next block. So right there we know, all right, from the time we start until the time we get to that point, it's going to be six months.

And then it's smooth sailing and we can continue on and finish. It can get much more complex in that. It's a very simplified version, but again, the point of this is to take all those tasks, all those people, all those time durations, add it all up, find your critical path, find out how long it's really going to take you to complete the task or complete the whole project.


Again, we are a Mac school, so that was in a program called OmniRaffle. We use Mac client stuff, we use Web stuff, you could also use something like Microsoft Project if you're a PC shop. Some of these can get...I have not used this, but I think you can get pretty intricate where you can plug in time estimates for things and it will tell you how long it's going to take while factoring weekends or vacation time or days employees have off.

You can get really intricate with this stuff when trying to figure out how long a project is going to take and who needs to spend and what amount of time on what task. So now, we're going to talk about some tools. Basecamp has been a big thing. Has anybody heard of Basecamp? Everybody. Do people use Basecamp? Cool, all right.


So Basecamp is an online project management tool. We've used this for the last few projects we've had and it's super successful. Websites say projects manage themselves, it's kind of a lie. I'd say it's false advertising. I wish that happen, but it doesn't. So this is just our Basecamp environment.

You'll notice there's some different tabs up here. When a user logs in, you can determine what tab you want them to land on. We have them land on the message tab, which we post all of our status updates on. So this is actually one of those team meetings, the team meetings I talked about.

So in those meetings are their project managers take awesome notes, and then she posts them here for each team. And then they're sent out to the entire team and made available.


Once you start a project in Basecamp as an admin, you'll see this people and permissions tab. Here's where you can load everybody into Basecamp. We've separated our people out by department. So once everybody is in there, if you want to add somebody to this project, you're just going to add people and it's as simple as checking a box and then determine what access they want.

We usually put message and files for people, which means they can see everything and then they contribute to some messages or they can upload files if they want. I should mention, this is not something you should use in place of a charter or in place of a work breakdown structure. It's sort of the next step.

This is really's a communication tool. It's a transparency tool. It keeps everybody on the same page. We have a To-do section. So maybe some of those tasks that you had, you can put them in here. You can list all the sub-tasks out underneath it, and you can assign them to somebody in Basecamp. And when they complete them, they check a little box so everybody knows it's done.


There's a calendar; you can put a ton of stuff on here - milestones, kick offs, meetings, discussions, whatever may be, and same idea. Once it's passed it gets marked off so everybody knows it's done.

Basecamp has something called Writeboards. It's kind of like Google Docs. It's really a collaboration space where anybody can start one and then you just have this giant discussion. So people can...we did one for a survey. We posts some survey questions and then we asked people for feedback.

So here is what they said, "Well, you know, those 10 things are great, but let's ask them these other five things." Then someone would say, "Well, number four doesn't really matter because it is," and it just helps to facilitate conversation because you can't get everything done in meetings and there's less people kind of interact with staff, whatever. Sometime the other day, at night, on a weekend, whenever they have time they can jump on here and see what's going on.


We do not use the time tab, but you can keep a time log of stuff you're doing in Basecamp. We do that really more through the charters and the work breakdown structures, in our weekly meetings, and our project manager is very good at documenting all that stuff for us.

And the files tab is a big one too. We put everything on here, from meeting notes, to focus group notes, to surveys, to the charters. We did a project last year, we had vendor demos. So we put all the criteria up here. We put the RFIs up here, the RFPs up here, which is request for information and request for presentation from vendors. So it's great.

It makes everything very accessible to people. So again, it reiterates that good communication and transparency stuff. ScreenFlow, is another one we've used. This is for Mac. I don't think it's for PC.


But there's a ton of screen capture software out there for people. We use this for usability testing and for bringing new system in. And again, we used it for vendor demos. That was a big one. We had three major Web portal vendors come and we had a team of about 40 or 50 people that were involved in the planning of that. But not all of them can make the demos.

So we recorded them, we saved them, we uploaded them to a workgroup space, a way we can access them, and it was great. It worked out really, really well. You can use stuff from ScreenFlow like the call-to-action stuff where the whole screen goes dark and you just see a little white dot around the mouse or something. You don't really get into that, but there's some cool stuff you can do with it.

And Wunderlist - Wunderlist is a pretty cool little tool. Even if you don't use it for your project, I would say, use it for yourself. It's pretty fun. I think it's pretty fun.


And this is a universal tool. So you can use it on your iPad, on your iPhone, on your iPad. It runs Linux, PC, Mac. You can also use it through the Web. And it syncs which is great, so you can have a multiple devices or multiple clients, and all of your to-do list will sync. And everybody needs a to-do list even if you have stuff documented through charters and work breakdown structures.

You still need your own to-do list. You still need to prioritize it for you plus, we all have other stuff going on. It's not like our projects are our only thing. We still have systems to manage or for an admissions we have some new students or registrar's office, wherever it may be. So it's really helped me out a lot and it's a good collaboration tools.

Once you make a list in Wunderlist, you can print it, you can email it to somebody, and you can share it with somebody, which is cool. You can personalize it a little bit, there's like some different backgrounds and stuff. So this is just a view of it.


I'm being on aesthetics, so I like to use tools that look good, and I love this. Here's a little demo list I made. You can start stuff, which I bring in to the top. You can assign a date to a task. There's a little section where you can write notes about that task. You can sort it by stuff due today, by stuff due tomorrow, next seven days, you can look at stuff that's been done or start, which is this little thing there if you want to...something important you need to remember.

And then up at the top, here we have these little things. We can print a task. We can email a task to somebody or we can share with them. Somebody does I think need an account at Wunderlist to have it be shared, but they got a nice little email. So if I wanted to share something with you, type your email, it sends you a nice little invite. And then my list appears in your client which is nice. So that's a nice little collaborative thing that could be done.


All right, so I don't want to go into too much. It's really hard to cover project management in 45 minutes. So that's why I just wanted to focus a little bit on the soft skills, free documents you can probably start using right away, and some tools. Some tools you can explore, have fun with. Basecamp is free, Wunderlist is free, ScreenFlow is not free, but I know there's probably a screen capture software that is free.

With Basecamp, I think you get your free account. You can have one project, two Writeboards. I forgot exactly how much space you have for storage, but then it goes up from there. We have an organization-wide account so we can have an unlimited number of projects. That's why we dump everybody in there. So it's something to think about.


A few things I'd like you to take away from this presentation. Put some sort of structure project management in place. Even if it's within two or three of you, even if you're a one-person shop, sometimes it can help to document stuff out this way. It also protects you. You can show people what you're doing. Your documentation about what you're doing.

If you're a one-person shop and you do this, people might be impressed that you're doing this. Positive staff equals a productive staff, so do little things every so often if you are a project manager of a team. Little things can go a long way. Again, we have launch parties, we have little gatherings after work. One of our project managers came around and dropped off little candy at everyone's desk like an Easter bunny.

And even now, like coming out of a meeting and having little like where there's originals or something. It's small but it's like, oh, they care. That was sweet. It's little things. Communicate, keep one's communication open. The second you don't, your project, again, can fail. Communication really is a key.


Document everything. We document everything, between the charter, the work breakdown structure, the network diagram, stuff on Basecamp. We try to have everything in writing. So again, everybody knows what they're doing, when they're doing it, other departments know what we're doing.

And use innovative tools. We live an age where there's really cool stuff out there to use. So find something to use. Reach to your department. If you're going to do it and we all have to probably do project management in some fashion, we might as well make it fun in the process. Make it fun.

I don't know if anyone has heard of Gimme Bar. It's kind of like a new bookmarking thing, bookmarking service. Instead of having links - this URL is coming right back in a second - but instead of having links, you can drag images, you can drag texts, you can drag videos, so it's more of a visual bookmarking service.

So this is where I've put everything that I've talked about in here. I put the work breakdown structure, a guide to filling that out; a blank charter, a guide to filling out the charter, this presentation is up there, there's links to the book, that book "The Happiness Advantage" of positive psychology stuff.


Link to the Wunderlist. And then down there in the right hand corner, I didn't show that screenshot but that's a list of all of our project team members. So project manager, the IT lead, what they do.

Audience 4: [Indiscernible]

Alana Riley: Yes. It's right there. And that last thing is a zero, not an "O".

Audience 4: Yeah, I found it.

Alana Riley: Yeah, something about...there's something about kittens come up. Something we heard about kittens comes up. So it's a zero, it's not an "O". It's a zero. I'm going to put this back up a sec. I just want to show it because it can be confusing.

If you click on the image that's in there, once you get to this site, you'll see this little grid, you click on a box, this is what you see. If you put on the image, it's just going to bring you to another window of the image.


I think if you click on it again and you get to where I want you to go, but you can...the easiest way is to just click the link up there, the from link, and it will take you to a document, it will take you that service, it will take you to that website, whatever.

So there's the link and that's all I have. So are there any questions? Yes.

Audience 5: I want to know what happened during a project, somebody's project.

Alana Riley: People get upset. We've had projects submitted that we either don't have the resources to do or without a scope or sometimes, it will be they want us to do something that really need to be something that they need to handle on their budget. We have a course evaluation system. And people that come to us saying, oh, we really want this tool and this tool and this tool. We want to do this, we want to do that. Well, that's really something that it's bigger than just saying, sure, let's do that. You have to get a lot of resources in place. You have to make sure you have a budget in place to do that in your department.


So we work with people to resolve that if it's something we can't handle or we can't schedule at this time for whatever reason. We'll give you reasons why and then we'll work with you so you can resubmit it.

Audience 6: Have you ever been in a situation where the project is just kind of stupid?

Alana Riley: Yeah. I don't know if I'd say stupid, but we have, in fact, they're so poorly managed even with all of this in place, and that can be very frustrating, but I think probably other departments in the college had to say...oh, this is going to be recorded, isn't it? I'll talk to you later.


Alana Riley: Yes.

Audience 7: When coming up with the work breakdown, you reach out with those modules?

Alana Riley: We meet with the project team and say, "OK, we're going to put in a new Web portal. What is it we have to do to get that?" We have to research something. We have to make sure the infrastructure is in place. So we talk to the people that are going to be doing that. The infrastructure will talk to the technical team.


The research will talk to, well, probably me in the portal...I was portal admin, so I'm doing some research on the portal. So we talk to that person and say, "Given what you have on your plate, how long is this going to take you to do?" And we always try to go a little bit over. So if you know it's going to take you 10 hours, maybe estimate 12, 13 even 15. You want to give yourself a little room. So we go right to the subject matter experts for the time estimates.

Audience 8: At one point where the progress is slow enough where taken all the time to document all this stuff.

Alana Riley: Well, I think it depends. I try to document everything out even if it is small. I guess at the very least, you really need to think who you need on it because a lot of times what happen in a project you'll start out in one spot, and then where you end up is very different. And you end up needing help from other people they may not have thought you needed help from. So I guess it's probably up to your best judgment.


I mean, if it's really, really tiny like...I don't know. I can't think of an example. It's really small maybe you don't need to do all this, but I think the majority of projects should. I think it protects you, especially if somebody comes to you and says, "I really need you to do this now. Well, I can't. I'm doing this right now. This is due on Friday and this is my priority." So I guess it's kind of dependent.

Audience 8: I tried to implement Basecamp in a previous position. Nobody would use it because it has a log in. Maybe they felt like it was one extra thing they do in their life. Did you have that struggle and how did you get over it?

Alana Riley: I can't say we did, but I did the majority of the work. Me and project manager did the majority of the work in here. And we really try to use that message utility. Well, it's just kind of like an email. So we did all of our stuff in messages and then we sent it out to people's emails. So they were getting it right in their email inbox. And if there's something that they really wanted to interact with, then they could click on it and go. We send files to them that way. So they click on it and then they log in and went to download the file.


The Writeboards have actually been pretty successful. We have a taxonomy and design team using one right now who's developing the taxonomy in the information architecture for a new Web portal. And they're excited to get in there because they have a say in what's happening. So sometimes, if you market it like that, this is a collaborative space we're trying to change stuff, we're trying to do new cool stuff, your voice can be heard here. So use it. Sometimes it's in a way you market it.

Audience 9: Do you have any resistance and negative receptions at your process that equate to approval or is it advocacy or red tape and how do you work through that?

Alana Riley: We try to be...I have one minute left, so I've got to go quick. Honestly, we try to be as open as possible. The project manager I work directly with is very blunt. She wants the negative feedbacks, she wants the positive feedback. We can do it anonymously. So when you get that survey, you don't have to put your name. You can just be a feedback item, but I think honesty is the best policy as long as you're doing it in a way that's not going to get you fired, but we do try to be honest as much as possible.


So I would encourage you all to take that back and try it, but we can talk more. All right, I think I'm out of time, but tweet me or email me if you have any other questions or come and grab me, and thank you.