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Project Performance Improvement—Dominic O’Brien

Project Performance Improvement
This paper explores the challenge of sharing knowledge across a team within the context of a broadcast industry project, demonstrating a shift of thinking (metanoia) in learning. During the project a Collaborative Design Model of regular individual and group reflection was developed, that assisted in expanding the level of shared knowledge and creativity within a team. The model shares the outputs of individual reflection with the whole team which then acts as a catalyst to drive innovation that can benefit the project. Hence the model is a key foundation for building a learning organization that can generate deeper knowledge. A critical part of the model is the use of a time linked semi structure management approach, a form of light touch supervision. This supervision style provides a clear definition of objectives, regular monitoring and direction without overpowering the team. This allows for the growth of a creative environment in which innovation can flourish. The benefits of this approach are examined in the paper and include creative problem solving and tacit knowledge sharing.

Author: Dominic O’Brien
Review status: Postgraduate assignment (University of Technology Sydney)

June 1, 2013

Internal Work Package Handovers and Effective Knowledge Transfer—Russell Dunn

Internal Work Package Handovers and Effective Knowledge Transfer
Work-packages are often handed over or transferred internally peer-to-peer within the project team, such as when team members leave the project, or when management re-shuffles responsibilities. This paper reflects on the apparent shortcomings experienced by the author when using traditional dot-point style handovers, by identifying and analysing the knowledge transfer process at play. The distinction is made between information and knowledge when considering the underlying importance of harvesting the team member’s tacit knowledge obtained from in-depth involvement and association with a particular work-package. When attempting a smooth transition or handover of a complex work-package, context and purpose are found to be key elements required to be explicitly conveyed in order for the receiving peer to achieve empowerment with actionable knowledge and the capacity to act. A pragmatic approach is taken to develop high level tools and recommendations that could be implemented within a project team environment when aiming to optimise a smooth and effective transition while mitigating the adverse effects of lost project knowledge due to poor knowledge transfer practices.

Author: Russell Dunn
Review status: Postgraduate assignment (University of Technology Sydney)

July 25, 2012

Learning through Reflection while implementing an Agile software development methodology—Beatrice Ngo

Learning through Reflection while implementing an Agile software development methodology
This reflective report explores the topics of ‘reflection’ and ‘learning through reflection’ within the context of the project environment within one of Australia’s major telecommunications companies (hereby referred to as ‘The Company’).

The project was to develop and deploy a comprehensive new software development methodology within The Company; a methodology based on the Information Technology paradigm of ‘Agile Software Development’.

Implementing Agile methodology within The Company involved:
—Industry and vendor engagement to develop a comprehensive ‘best practice’ Agile methodology and framework which also met the specific needs of The Company.
—Training for staff within the large Information Technology department of The Company.
—The implementation of new metrics and measures to reflect on, and validate the success of, the new methodology.

The Agile methodology implemented within The Company incorporates a significant amount of reflective practice in the form of ‘retrospectives’. A retrospective is “a meeting held by the project team at the end of a project or process to discuss what was successful about the project or time period covered by that retrospective, what could be improved, and how to incorporate the successes and improvements in future iterations or projects”. The retrospective process:
—Is an example of Social Learning.
—Is an example of Experiential Learning.
—Is not an example of Problem-Based Learning.

The Company achieved several benefits through the use of reflective practice in the form of these retrospectives – such as:
—Increased trust within the project team.
—More effective reflection on work performance.
—More effective project debriefings.

Through reflection over time, The Company learnt various lessons in terms of ‘common ailments’ regarding their Agile projects, and suitable cures for each issue.

‘Learning through reflection’ could have improved the outcome of this project in various ways, such as:
—Allowing the project team to achieve ‘double-loop learning’.
—Allowing team members to learn from their failures.
—Slowing the pace of learning, allowing proper comprehension.
—Allowing ‘deep’ learning to take place.

Author: Beatrice Ngo
Review status: Postgraduate assignment (University of Technology Sydney)

July 25, 2012

Reflective Practices in Agile development of the On-Demand Virtual Lab—Phi Bang Nguyen

Reflective Practices in Agile development of the On-Demand Virtual Lab
The focus for this paper is to investigate reflective practices in an Agile software development project – The On-Demand Virtual Lab. It aims to understand how Agile development has been used in a technically complex ‘proof-of-concept’ project.
This paper uses a systems thinking approach to understand the components of this On-Demand Virtual Lab. Both using a hard systems approach to understand the technical issues, as well as a soft systems approach to understand the personal issues.
The investigation found that there were weaknesses in understanding the complexity and length of this project. There was a lack of support from management, as well as a lack of knowledge transfer.

Finally, the paper presents two reflective tools, known as Agile-Jazz and Agile-ECG that have been demonstrated to be beneficial for teams involved in complex projects. Agile-Jazz is an enhanced management structure, which brings stakeholders together to reflect and understand the problems, and seek solutions together. Agile-ECG classifies the reflection into Emotions, Cognition and Growth – providing a convention to reflection and aiding discussion within the team.

Author: Phi Bang Nguyen
Review status: Postgraduate assignment (University of Technology Sydney)

July 25, 2012