Manage the Project/alx

From Open Pattern Repository for Online Learning Systems
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Manage the Project
Contributors Christian Köppe, Thomas de Cortie, Ronald van Broeckhuijsen, Gerard Bosma
Last modification May 16, 2017
Source Köppe (2012)[1]de Cortie, van Broeckhuijsen, Bosma & Köppe (2013)[2]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

You started working on a project that includes a variety of tasks. You have been debriefed by the instructor and know what is expected from you. You received a deadline, resulting in a time-span in which you will have to complete the project.


The project cannot be finished successfully if you are running out of time due to unfinished tasks.

Unaware of Workload. The group does not have an estimation of the time needed to complete the amount of work. One possible consequence of this is that at the end they run out of time.

Unknown Project Status. A group member is not sharing information — about her work progress, problems, decisions or the work she does — with the group. This results in that the group is not aware of the current status of the assignment.

Wrong Priorities. A group member is working on a task which is of less importance at the current moment of the project.

Task Dependencies. A group member cannot finish her task, because she needs the result of another task.

Decision Making. A decision by itself is not good or bad but if only one group member makes all of the decisions alone or members decide for themselves, without sharing their thoughts or taking the whole group in consideration. This could lead to conflicting choices and could even result in the group having to redo the work completely.


Therefore: Use project-management to control the variety of tasks and to improve the efficiency of the group.

In a project, different responsibilities are involved. These could be categorized and specified as a role. To those responsibilities, tasks could be assigned. For instance, the role of team leader would hold the responsibility of planning, organizing, monitoring and motivating. His tasks would be to arrange meetings, keep track of progress among the group members, define tasks- and work products and put them into a schedule. Or the role of a front-end developer would hold the responsibility of usability, design, development and documentation. Her tasks would be to design and develop software interfaces and to write user documentation. Or maybe the group shares most of all the responsibilities. But it always starts with a pile of work that has to be done. Managing that pile of work and Spread Tasks Appropriately (Spread Tasks Appropriately) could increase the efficiency of the group significantly. By Regularly Check Requirements Fulfillment (Regularly Check Requirements Fulfillment) you could check if the current work done meets up the defined criteria.

You should make a decision about how you are going to manage the project. By choosing a project-management methodology, for instance PRINCE2[3], SCRUM[4] or OpenUP[5], it will give you an appropriate and structured approach on project management. Project-management methodologies like the mentioned ones prescribe roles and their responsibilities, but also specify work products which you could use to support your team to achieve your project goals. Switching to a project management methodology requires all team members to participate in this process. This often involves extra meetings and documenting what progress is going to happen and what progress has already been made. But by doing this, the status of the project is more understandable for everyone. It will also help the group to improve and manage their project as a team. Only if you are experienced with team managing or if your team has been working efficiently together, you could also use your own way of managing the project.

Using a project management methodology successfully requires to have some knowledge about it. If the group, or some of the group members aren’t familiar with the chosen method, they will have to do some extra studying to gain this knowledge. This might cost some extra time.


A group of students got an assignment for 10 weeks. After a week no one knew what the status was or what needed to be done. Two people worked on the same part and one delivered nothing. In the third week there was a mid-term assessment. This resulted in a bad grade, because the products that were delivered didn’t meet with the requirements.

So the group decided to manage the project in order to reach a better collaboration. They sat down and discussed the problems. Based on this they worked out a schedule, defined task and who’s responsible for these tasks and arranged meetings on every Wednesday. They also started to use an online tool with an issue-list, to report the problems they encountered. During the weekly meetings, work-parts and the issue-list were discussed. Upcoming tasks were divided, by applying Spread Tasks Appropriately (Spread Tasks Appropriately), and the schedule was adjusted if needed, also applying . Regularly Check Requirements Fulfillment (Regularly Check Requirements Fulfillment). In the end the use of this project-management contributed to a better final grade.


  1. Patlet first mentioned in Köppe, C. (2012). Learning patterns for group assignments: part 1. In Proceedings of the 19th Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP 2012). The Hillside Group.
  2. Pattern published in de Cortie, T., van Broeckhuijsen, R., Bosma, G., & Köppe, C. (2013). Learning patterns for group assignments: part 2. In Proceedings of the 20th Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP 2013). The Hillside Group.