PMI HONOLULU, HAWAII CHAPTER ANNOUNCED PARTNERHSIP WITH PROJECT MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE EDUCATION FOUNDATION (PMIEF) IN HAWAII: TAKING OUT THE CHAOS OF HOMECOING PLANNING
By Dr. Joslyn Sato, Director of Academic Outreach, PMIHNL
In early September 2018, McKinley High School’s Student Council Advisor, April Nakamura informed me that her student council team performs many school projects with short timelines and limited resources. One of their biggest projects, Homecoming, is a crazy period because not only is it in the first quarter but also the students have many activities they need to coordinate and perform.
A few words stuck out; “crazy period” and “activities”. Immediately I thought “Schedules”!!! I began to investigate what the student council was using and what we could enhance or improve. Through my collaboration session with April, we developed a draft of an enhanced project schedule tool for the student council team to use. We selected pertinent information and made it simple for the students and for April. In addition, we discussed status reporting to streamline communication and ensure that project tasks were briefed so actions could be taken proactively.
After our session, April shared the scheduling tool with her student council team and spent an entire day developing the tasks and activities, resource scheduling, and other details to plan out the Homecoming project. After introducing the tool as their Event Management Template (EMT), and a few weeks the student council members began to understand the tool and process that was implemented. According to April, “Now that Homecoming and the craziness of first quarter is over, I can 100% say that the project management template made my life at work a lot easier and allowed my students to stay on top of things. There were times when I thought something was missing, we couldn't be this prepared with time to spare. The only thing that was missing was the final moments of stress right before an event.” April was excited that not only did she see the benefit of the scheduling tool but also that the students informed her that they, “knew what to do next, and when they were done with their tasks they'd look at the status of others on their team and was able to jump in and help them out, too.” As for improving student follow-ups and the time spent tracking down task status, April would review the EMT 1-2 times a week and focus on providing student support for items marked red or yellow.
As project managers, a project schedule and status reporting are just part of our daily operations. But for others unfamiliar with project management, a simple tool like a schedule and a simple process of reporting status is a huge improvement for minimizing the craziness and overwhelming feeling of last minute actions. What impressed me the most was that not only did the students from McKinley use the tool for one of their largest projects but did so within a short time period; and saw the benefits!
For the McKinley High School Student Council, this common tool was a new way for the team to plan, to manage, and to achieve project success. Their experience and feedback form their testimonies on the benefits they gained show us how valuable project management can be even for our keiki.
“The Event Management Templates (EMTs) gave out team a clear and detailed visual of our status in accomplishing our ultimate goal of each event. The system kept us organized and on track, leading everyone into the right direction. The EMTs were introduced to our executive council in the midst of hectic preparation for homecoming week. Thankfully, the templates were easy to get accustomed to and made a complex occasion seem fairly simple. As Ms. Nakamura would say, “homecoming week is like drinking form a fire hose.” Although that is true, the EMTs helped us condense an erupting firehose to numerous water fountains – making it easier for our team to handle the overwhelming situations. We thank you, Ms. Sato, for the valuable gift.” ~ Jett Kaler
“My name is Karla Sales, a student body from McKinley High School. During our homecoming week, we had to plan events throughout the whole week from dress up days to our prominent traditions. Basically, it was event on events type of week. However, thanks to the Event Management Timeline that were introduced just few weeks before our homecoming week. It helped us target the small details that we needed accomplish. Having the EMT was a big help for our council, as well as our advisor, because it was a communication in a paper. Whenever we did not know what to do, or we were stressed out to think about every small detail we just had to write it down into our EMT, for everyone to see the status of our event or if we needed to help one another. Having to see the tasks that needed be done was more stress free than thinking about it in our heads. I believe that the Event Management Timeline was a big portion that helped our homecoming week events ran smoothly. Without it, I know that we would have missed the small details of our events.”
“I feel that the EMTs were very helpful in showing us what needed to be accomplished and what tasks people were struggling with for each event. It made communication within our group much easier, and so this allowed us to get things done on time and to have to stress too much at the last minute. I really enjoyed using the EMTs through updating my status and checking on others, and I feel like a lot of people should learn how to use this project because it does make working in groups a lot easier. ~ Madison Cristobal.
We (in the profession) often take our practices in scheduling for granted and think of them as the things we do “at work”, but what we do with what we know and what we share with others to help them organize and plan out their tasks become practical skills that can be used by anyone at any age with any experience … even our School Student Leaders!
A special thank you to April Nakamura for learning the tool and integrating in within her student’s projects!
If you know of a school, teacher, advisor, or student group that could benefit from learning about project management or integrating project management within their projects please contact me at AcademicOutreach@pmihnl.org.
Empowering Teachers and Students with Project Management
By Dr. Joslyn Sato, PMP
Director of Academic Outreach & PMIEF Liaison, PMI Honolulu Chapter
Academic Outreach kicked-off 2019 empowering K-12 teachers and students with project management knowledge and skills. Project Management can become overwhelming for non-project managers. When you start applying project management to a classroom or curriculum, the complexity and various aspects become even more daunting. But having a little guidance, some fun, and encouragement can help both teachers and students embrace and use those pieces of project management that matter most to their project.
Building the Skills of Our Students
During January, our Director of Academic Outreach participated in the Wahiawa Youth
Wellness Ninja Summit. The summit was an opportunity to educate and develop student representatives from the Wahiawa schools about wellness to make school days
healthier. As with anything we learn, we always look for the opportunity to apply. The summit required the Wellness Ninjas and their Advisors to take back a project, which was to conduct a poster / video contest. Rather than having the activity planned and executed by the Wellness Ninjas and their Advisors’ current practices, this was an opportunity to introduce simple fun project management tools. An hour was spent defining the scope, identifying tasks to build as schedule, and developing a status tracker. One Advisor even commented that, 'The project management portion is full of such important skills for the keiki.' By leveraging what we know, we can empower others with the same success. The Wellness Ninjas and their Advisors left the summit with an actionable plan that leveraged scope, schedule, and tracking to ensure project success.
Educate & Empower Our Teachers
Teachers are continuously provided new methods, standards, and other requirements to incorporate within their teachings, limiting time for them to explore beyond the classroom walls. Campbell High School’s Teacher PDD provided a great opportunity to leverage the connection between academic and professional environments. Most teachers already do 'projects' and apply some form of 'project management'. During the one-day workshop, teachers began to see the connections and opportunities for further project management integration. Thus, sparking ideas of enhancing existing tools, looking at an assignment differently, and finding the benefit for themselves and their students. The workshop also provided time for teachers to receive one-on-one feedback for their specific needs to allow them to leave the workshop applying project management within their classroom. Empowering teachers with project management tools, allows them to empower their students to succeed in their projects and optimize the project’s learning experience.
The possibilities are endless with project management integration in the academic environment. Even a simple enhancement to an already existing tool or just awareness about projects from our eyes as project managers can make a significant impact. But until the unknown becomes known to the Academic Environment, the students and teachers are missing all the benefits project management provides.
If you are in the K-12 academic environment or know someone that is, check out the Project Management Institutes’ Education Foundation for free resources at PMIEF.org or contact our Director of Academic Outreach, Dr. Joslyn Sato, PMP at AcademicOutreach@PMIHNL.org.