Critical reflection on working with number of colleagues

3188 words (13 pages) Reflective Nursing Essay

13th Feb 2020 Reflective Nursing Essay Reference this

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Being a Project Manager for a Software Company, I need to work with different individuals at various levels of the Organization. Ensuring delivery of the Project on schedule and as planned is the most important thing for a Project Manager. Each Project is unique in its own sense, and due to the dynamic nature of the Projects no two days are the same. Project Success is achievable only by creating a synergy within the team; Projects are made successful by the coming together of People (as a team) with a common purpose. Making sure the team’s goals are common and are aligned for success, are one of the most important tasks for a Project Manager. This is achieved through effective communication both above and below in the organization, Communication is the skill that Project Managers Live by! Since I work with a company that favors change and encourages adapting the best practices for Organizational Success, Change is constant. Within a constantly changing environment only the ones quick to adapt survive the others struggle! That is where I come in as a Change Agent. Our Organization thrives on its Customer Centric Practices one such Project Specific Process is Agile Project Management. Agile Principles and Practices would further strengthen the Company’s delivery capability, help compete with the best Companies in the Market and there-by increase Customer Satisfaction. I was part of a Steering Committee that would liaison this change. When it was announced that the Company will implement Agile across the Organization, we got back mixed reactions from each Project team, which is the case with any change. To streamline this situation we planned to take a Staged approach in implementing this Process. I was made in-charge of the first Agile Implementation Pilot for the Project. We were given a Product Development Project with a Team of 10 people, the Project was planned to be completed in a span of 3 Months using Agile Methodology. Given below is the Team Structure (Reporting Order).

The Team was a combination of experienced and fresh talents. As I was already SCRUM Master Certified It was decided I would train the team and see them through this Project to Success. After much consideration and discussions we agreed for the SCRUM Process implementation. The Picture below shows how the SCRUM Process works.

Image Courtesy – Agile Scrum Blog

http://agilescrum.biz/agile-planning-from-enterprise-vision-to-team-stand-up-part-1/

Agile Process is people centric and relies on self organizing Teams. In this particular case the Team had never worked with each-other, leave alone working on a new concept like SCRUM. The Challenges were up-font

From my initial discussion with the Project Group it was not too difficult to identify the following points.

The Older (in terms of Age) members of the team commanded they be heard and accepted for everything

The Younger (in terms of Age) members felt the Older team members to be very authoritative

Although this mixed team had complementing skills (Technical) required for the Project Success, no sense of knowledge sharing was first seen

Once the discussion was complete, I figured out that this GROUP needs to be taught to work as a TEAM, else the Project and the Process is doomed. I believe a Group is different from a Team in terms of how they work & connect with each other. In a Group, optimal through-put may be restricted because of individual inhibitions or because of the environment they are put in (outside of their comfort-zone) which is not the case in a Team. Teams are more effective in the putting to use each other strengths and helping address each other’s weaknesses, they stand -up for each other and there is always a way to work around the differences. In a Group, this spirit is found missing. As per the Company my Role was defined as:

Manage Project as per Schedule

Estimate Time lines and communicate with all Stakeholders

Manage Risks in the Project and escalate them as required

Publish Status Reports to the Customer and Top Management

Manage a Team of Developers, Testers and Build Engineers

Implement Agile Practices (SCRUM) and report findings

However the Objectives I had to achieve were

See through the transition of team from traditional project delivery methods to Agile Methods

Implement Agile Process as part of Organizational Change

Manage a team of individuals who had never worked with each other or had any Agile experience

Address and resolve Team issues as required (team compatibility, competency, other issues)

Ensure Project Visibility using Agile Tools (Stand-up meetings, Reports, Burndown Chart, Demos)

Delivery the Project as per the estimate and get feedback from the Team, Management & the Customer

Because I am a people’s person and having managed Projects for the past 10 years, I know the exact people and process challenges that come up while working in such a complex Project eco-system. The Process implementation would comparatively be an easy task to making sure the team worked together to create results. I like to address issues at a Grass Root level, my observations and solutions are listed below.

The Older (in terms of Age) members of the team commanded they be heard and accepted for everything

I held discussions with the Senior Teams (elder team members) and the junior members (Younger Team members) of the Team separately. The issue was that because the Senior Team members had greater amount of experience with the Technology that was being used in the Development of the project when compared to the other members in the Team, they had a feeling they were the major contributors to the Development. While this was a vital point, I didn’t see it hold well on a Team Level.

Solution

This gap can be addressed by paring the more experienced with the less experienced using a Buddy Program. The Buddy Program would help build and strengthen skills within the team through mentorship at the same time create camaraderie in the team. The Progress was measured using planned skills reviews and assessments. Week after week I saw the skill gap reducing and team getting along just fine.

The Younger (in terms of Age) members felt the Older team members to be very authoritative

Since the younger team members were relatively new to the Software Development industry, they had not worked in a Project hierarchy before. Being juniors and still fresh out of the College they had little exposure to Corporate Culture, it was easy for them to confuse Experience to Authority.

Solution

I spoke with the Training and Development team to organize a Orientation Program for the Junior members of the team which would help them understand the various nuances in a Project and the Corporate Culture. This helped them understand that what was being discussed in the Project Meeting was not a “order” that needs to be followed unquestioned, it was an opinion, a point of view which was open for discussion. This change of perspective helped them realign their attitude. The Change was instant and future Project discussion and important events simply changed for good.

Although this mixed team had complementing skills (Technical) required for the Project Success, no sense of knowledge sharing was first seen

Solution

The Buddy Program and the initial orientation program helped the team embrace the situation they were in and the challenges that came with it. Week after week, the Project Team followed the Agile Process to the book, I made sure it was fun all the way and the results were astounding. The Product was developed as specified by the Client and was delivered as per schedule. The Teams came out of the Project with a lot of learning and new knowledge.

What I would do different.

The only thing I would change in the way things were done is the way Change was initiated and implemented.

For an organizational wide change Training and awareness of the members is very essential and is the deciding factor between the success and failure of a Process. Although the management made a right decision to run a Pilot Process, it relied too much on non quantitative methods to implement a new Process across organization. To change is good; however aggressive change needs to be well planned for. Planning the events of Change needs to be planned in such a way that we capture challenges earlier in the implementation rather than in the end.

2. Produce a ‘portfolio’ which shows transferable management skills which you have developed over the course of the program. This should contain: The original skills audit and PDP. This should be included within the appendices and summarized within the main body to the report; A review of the resources and activities used to develop those skills. You should comment on how useful these resources and activities were in developing the identified skills. If additional resources and activities were identified post the submission of the original PDP you should also comment on these; A review of the skills developed;

Detailed evidence to support the portfolio. This should be included within the appendices. [40 Marks]

Word Count – 871

This assignment (Formative PDP) has also been uploaded to TurnITIN

As a Project Manager and as an individual I feel that I have been pretty successful in making sure I am one among the best at whatever field I choose to be in, my past achievements and accomplishments confirm that. Reading is my favorite self enhancement tool. I am an audacious reader and like to be pretty current with all the things around me, be it work related interests or personal life I am always on the lookout for ways to better myself which I believe will give me an edge over those around me in every walk of life.

Definition for Transferable skills

Transferable Skills are skills developed over a period of time through experience, which can be readily used in a work place or in personal life. They are directly related mainly to one’s ability to perform tasks/activities that may transcend subject boundaries. They are the essential tools for one’s success and survival in the continuously evolving facet of business. Knowledge by itself cannot guarantee success; it has to be channelized efficiently & effectively to obtain desired results

Skills can be developed through various means, as long as we are focused and disciplined and driven by objective there is always a way to address our not so strong points and transform them to our strongest points. Nothing is perfect; it takes a lot of dedication and some effort to be something we plan to become.

I always follow a variation of Deming Cycle to achieve results for anything I do. Instead of the Usual “Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle” as describe in the Deming Cycle, I add an extra step before the Plan, called “Identify”, this will help to make sure our objectives are clear and focused on achieving results. This is a sure-shot way for me to evaluate options, have a progress plan and know what to do when nothings working.

Deming Cycle with a slight variation

Here are the various ways in which Learning and skill enhancement can be achieved.

Active learning

Learning through Extra-curricular activities

Active learning:

Assignments or projects directly or indirectly related to the objectives, On-job learning

Debates, group discussions, case studies

Group work, Team work specific to Projects in the Organization

Seminars and presentations inside and outside the Organization

Laboratory, workshop or field based activities for review and enhancement of skills

Learning through Extra-curricular activities:

Social and cultural activities

Team building (Common Interests Groups, Community of Practice)

Exchange ideas and views through Online Blogging or Forums

Peer reviews, getting suggestions from Family Members

IDENTIFY PHASE

Areas of Improvement I found upon analysis using the PDP tool.

Being an Indian, English is not my native language. Although I went to good schools who teach through English medium, influences of my Mother Tongue (Konkani) were always seen throughout my pre-college days. I didn’t even know there was skill gap when compared to English speaking students from the West.

We always end-up being what our formative years in education make of us. Although Communication is my strongest asset among other skills, I picked good enough Oral Communication Skills for the Job on the way to being a Project Manager in a Software Company. However, I have a habit of writing long winding sentences; sometimes my written skills convey diluted meaning. Hence using the UOW-PDP Process I identified that the skills I would mostly like to work on are:

Communication skills (oral, written)

Presentation skills (oral, visual, audiovisual)

Communication skills detail

Develop skills in crisp written & verbal communication

Communicate effectively in a format appropriate to the audience

Report practical procedures in a clear and concise manner

Write clear & concise, non redundant linier information flow

Read critically and write fluently for a range of audiences

Participate effectively in group discussion or debates

Conduct interviews that are characterized by patience & attentive listening

Respect the role of staff & co-staff members regardless of degree or occupation

Presentation skills detail

Present clearly & effectively any topic

Give accurate & clear oral summaries

Make oral presentations, using appropriate media for target audience

Make oral presentations to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Show effective graphical presentation skills

PLAN PHASE

Ways to increase vocabulary

Contextual analysis and Verbal Patterns used by more experienced people in the Industry

Reading and writing according to Standards set by Ivy League Colleges

Writing practice (Summary and Paraphrase) from Abstracts

DO PHASE

• Used the library and commonly available IT resources

• Read relevant material and attended workshops (books, eBook, seminars, training Programs)

• Use available presentation aids to present clearly & effectively any topic

• Analyzed obstacles & plan to achieve goals through long-term and short term Goal planning

CHECK PHASE

Review of Written skills through peer groups, family members and implementation of suggestions

Take up essay writing, paraphrasing challenges available on the internet to improve writing skills

ACT PHASE

Continuous review and critical approach towards own work

Constant feedback from peers and family members

Take-up more and more writing assignments till near perfection is achieved

Implement changes to learning patterns through observation

Using these steps, I plan to achieve the results that will immensely reduce the skill gaps identified through PDP.

Write a critical reflection on the process of skills development you experienced. [30 Marks]

Word Count – 589

Skill Development is a challenging endeavor. It’s a constant and ongoing process, in order to develop a particular skill it’s not enough to identify or know what skill we would like to improve or develop, we also need to be aware of the various factors that affect the process of Skill development. I found that there are many cycles of analysis and improvements that we need to go through before producing the right results. I always rely on a variation of Deming Cycle to achieve desired results. There are many processes and strategies we can follow to develop or enhance our skills. However Processes are just guidelines that can be followed, they don’t address the bottlenecks there can be because of Human Nature and the influences of our surroundings.

The various factors that I feel affect Skill Development are

Will power

Discipline

Time Management

Work Prioritization

Right resources, tools and approach

Ways to measure progress

Usually many people easily start with any kind of skill development; very few really see it through to the end or pursue it long enough to reap the results. Once we have identified what skill we need to improve or develop, we need to introspect and understand the pros and cons of this plan and figure out if it affects any of the important activities we do on a day-today basis. Analyze if we have what it takes and willing to go the distance. If we are able to control these factors along with the right process any skill is pretty much achievable.

When I first decided to take up Project Management I expected it to be a Role which plays with fancy Project Management tools and delivers Products. Only after keen observation and analysis I realized that Project Management is about getting people to work in order to achieve results. Communication is a key skill; it was at the center of all the things in a Project, I found that language, knowledge and personality matters a lot. That is when I starting paying attention on Communication Skills, both written and Oral.

I laid out an elaborate plan on how I was going to achieve these desired skills.

First decide the time frame between which I would like to achieve results

Make up my mind and stay focused at this task, I created a time table

Once the time table was created, I knew the exact amount of time I would put into this effort

Check if I have access to the resources and tools that would enable my learning phase

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Figure out if there were sources to benchmark my present level and track progress of my skill level

Sometimes I would feel plain lazy and be off-focused and would not have the motivation to continue, other times I use to feel lesser important tasks to be most important. To counter this I asked my mentor to keep pushing me to be the best by constantly challenging me and motivating me at times when I was not so strong. This started reflecting in my work, the Management asked me to make presentations and write proposals for Critical Projects. I have gotten to a point where I am seeing the results. There are always better people than you elsewhere in the world, this keeps me motivated to keep pushing my levels further.

I am now working towards writing effectively; I hope to make it there before the planned end date.

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