Project Management Plan
Agency: Super New Media Ltd
Client: Global Kids Ltd
The Production of an educational CD-ROM for a major UK children’s publisher.
The Business Case
It was required by the client Global Kids Ltd that an educational cd-rom be produced. The agency Super New Media Ltd initially has to put up a business case to the client as to the objectives, essentially so every one is on the same page. No project should be initiated without an agreed business case. Questions need to be answered such as why is the project to be undertaken, e.g.: to produce an educational cd rom resource for Key Stage 1 & 2 pupils in primary schools. It has to be specific to the subject geography. Some background needs to be offered such as how we got to this point, what was the analysis, market or otherwise and the rational for the product or project to be undertaken. Usually a SWOT analysis is done that is Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats; this can add to the business case and adds to the market research of the product and project. Another aspect of business case building is the system SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic Time bound). This system outlines the further tools and options available to develop a robust business case. Whereas the PM owns the PMP the sponsor owns the business case, in al circumstances there must be no ambiguity about what deliverables are required and what the key performance indicators are. Alsbridge (2008) The BC (business case) is normally detailed in a formal Statements of Requirements or Work Briefs. ATOS Consulting (2007)
The Team Requirements
There are various studies surrounding team building for project, e.g.: Tuckman model, Chimaera Consulting Limited Tuckman Model (2001) and Belbin’s Team Roles Belbin (2008). In Tuckman there are four stages forming, storming norming and performing. And mourning if a team is dissolved. Chimaera Consulting Limited Tuckman Model (2001) With Belbin it states that the creating of a group is very important for success and fro teams to be successful. Each skill must complement and aid each other. It was discovered that groups formed by highly intelligent people didn’t perform as well as those with mixed ability people involved. Belbin (2008) In the case of the cd-rom team and its requirements this would have a blend of personalities, given the different team skills and people needed. This would give a good blend to the team and would help it be successful. With highly expert consultants mixing with young designers and other creative people such as the video and audio contractors this team would be able to traverse any difficulties and resolve problems and lot easier than a team of experts could, so my team in my PMP would stand more chance of being successful due to the personality types involved on the cd rom production and project. It is I think a question of developing team networks very quickly at the beginning and keeping levels of conflict to a minimum all problems must be I think resolved very early on so as to not jeopardise the project
Software & Hardware requirements
Most software used in cd rom production would be made by Adobe, formerly it was Macromedia but Adobe bought out Macromedia and merged the product line with its existing products. The actual cd-rom production would be created with Adobe Director and this software can be used to import multimedia, such as film, text, graphics and audio. It also has the ability to create interactive environments using its own scripting language e.g.: Lingo. To create the audio for the product the team would use Adobe Audition, for graphics the ID would possibly use the Adobe Illustrator package to produce the graphics. For video production it is required that the video producer use a video editing piece of software such as Adobe Premiere he can the produce and import video into this software and then output as a compressed format such as QuickTime, mpeg , or avi so that the ID can import these assets into Director. It is essential that the multimedia producer and the video producers use a high end PC or MAC that has sufficient memory for editing video as this can be a memory intensive process. In some cases dual video cards are used so that the designers and editors can put the main editing window on one screen with all the ancillary screens that affect the data inputted to the right monitor. This helps the designers work more effectively with what can be immense levels of data especially when adding various multimedia to the Director programme. Adobe (2008)
The Project Management Plan
My PMP (Project Management Plan) was essentially started prior to the planning meeting scheduled for the 1st May 2008. This is because in most PMP’s the Project Manager has to work out the deliverables, and resources needed prior to creating the PMP. Other aspects such as cost and time are applied to the equation to produce the project management triangle as above, given that all the pre-requisites in place the objective is to deliver the project on time and to budget using these methodologies, this ensures that the project sticks to the deadline and also stays to the allocated budget from the stakeholders e.g.: The clients who have a vested interest in the design company sticking to their quotes. These methodologies also allow quality assurance to be built into the process with quality management being introduced.
Each task is called a deliverable and a time constraint is allocated to each deliverable or task. This is called the Work Breakdown Structure or WBS.
• 1. Planning
• 2. Video production
• 3. Scriptwriting
• 4. Audio production
• 5. Translation services
• 6. CD rom production
• 7. Testing
Each deliverable had to have a team assigned to it and I had to allocate this. In the Planning stage I allocated 1 week to plan the production with all the relevant professionals meeting for the duration of one week. These included:
• Project Manager
• Video Producer
• Test Manager
• Music Producer
• Script Writer
• Finish Manager
• Content expert 1
• Content expert 2
• Interactive designer
These meetings would include initial brainstorming sessions.
In my plan and after the initial planning stage for all concerned to familiarise themselves with the plan. I commenced the production of the cd rom with the scriptwriting, the script writer would work alongside one of the content experts to decide what narrative should be made, I assume from this script that the audio production would commence once this aspect was finished. The audio production would commence on the 2nd of June as there might be other music to produce such as sound effects and other diegetic music as well as possible music theme tunes. Filmsound.org, (2008) I assigned the PM and the QM (Quality manager) to this job as they would need to work out the copyright issues such as IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) associated with any music usage. If commercial music is used then it has to be ‘cleared’ via the record companies and music publisher’s agencies such as PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) or in the USA the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). PPL (2000), RIAA (2008). It would be the PM’s job and the QM’s to ensure that the music was not infringing anybodies rights and that it could be used in the CD-Rom. According to PPL if the music was produced by the music producer employed by the company then the copyright is owned by the music producer and he would just have to give his permission. However if the music producer was a freelancer and usually they are on these kind of projects then the music producer owns the rights so the PM would have to get him to assign his music to the Cd-Rom and possibly would have to negotiate a fee for the usage. PPL (2000), UK Intellectual Property Office, (2006).
When the all the audio production had been completed and signed off by the PM and QM, I would outsource and start the translation of all the assets produced by the music producer. I managed to find a company to translate the audio assets and I have allocated one month for their services to complete. I would outsource to Linguistic Systems Inc, (1999). On the 1st of September I started the video producer working and more or less allowed him to have some autonomy on the production of any assets as I believe they would be minimal given that the main assets are text and audio based with interactive games included. I started the cd-rom production on the first of September and the Interactive designer would start to put together all the assets from the translators and music and video producers using Director. Macromedia, (2008) The PM, QM would be involved and it would be at this stage that I would introduce the content experts to work full time with the ID on the pedagogy and interaction process for the children to make. I also presume that aspects such as learning objectives and curriculum would be advised upon by the experts and that would aid and help the interaction.
Quality procedures, Testing and provisions for De-briefing
• After this critical stage the product could be user tested by the Test Manager and again an expert would be assigned to this aspect due to the nature of the product. I would like to think that the psychologist would have been the expert involved in this stage to further ascertain the interaction and results of the test in accordance with the products specifications.
In the user testing stage the Test Manager and the Content Expert would be supported by the ID (Interactive Designer) in that if any repairs or changed needed to be made then the ID would be at hand to do this. This was something I didn’t calculate into the original PMP and in hindsight I should have include the ID in this stage as well.
The goals of Usability testing are as follows:
• Efficiency — How long does it take people to complete basic tasks? (For example, find something to buy, create a new account, and order the item.)
• Accuracy — How many mistakes did people make? (And were they fatal or recoverable with the right information?)
• Recall — How much does the person remember afterwards or after periods of non-use?
• Emotional response — How does the person feel about the tasks completed? Is the person confident, stressed? Would the user recommend this system to a friend?
Norman, D (1988), Norman, D (1990)
Risk assessment and controlling the risk
Risk assessment and control is aided by maintaining a risk log, reviewing the containment of the risk and determining any emerging risk. By monitoring and controlling the risks involved and tricky areas of getting the project to a conclusion are resolved. If you maintain a risk log then this document is vital to the success of the project. Essentially risk management is all to do with planning, who should take responsibility and the tasks involved. Usually a risk officer is assigned to large projects. Sometimes very large projects use a risk database to track any problems or keep tabs on progress to alert any team members to any potential risk. Crockford (1986)
An interactive cd-rom in English has been created utilising content supplied by Global Kids Ltd. 2D illustrations have been provided by SNM and included in the project. Textual content was provided by GK as well as photographic images from their archives. Voice over’s and narrative was produced by SNM and the pedagogy was influenced by GK’s content experts. Translations have been made of the English version of the narrative into French and Spanish by SNM. Interactive games have been produced by SNM to be included in the cd-rom along with some supporting video to introduce some aspects of the cd-rom. The product was user tested by SNM on children at Key stage 1 & 2 in local primary schools and the results presented in a report to the client. The product will be presented to the client further to being signed off. Interactive design covers most aspects of complicated software driven devices such as found on mobile phones, web pages and other electronic devices. Interactive designers have to undertake a great deal of user based research in the process of creating their work and in games and educational work it is imperative that the user testing is carried out on the year group it is designed and aimed at. The two main factors that Interactive designer s uses are the usability of the device interface and its affective influence on the user. The critical interactions associated with Interactive Design are:
• (Form goal) determine the function
• (Form intention) tell what actions are possible
• (Specify action) deduce actions necessary
• (Execute action) perform the action
• (Perceive state) tell what state the system is in
• (Interpret state) determine meaning of state
• (Evaluate outcome) tell if goal has been achieved
Norman, D (1988)
New design has to be at some point influenced or guided by psychology in every aspect of design and development to fit people’s needs. The initial form goal is, ‘what is it for’? The form intention is, ‘what part to move’? ‘Which part to hold’? And the specific action relates to, ‘how will it move’? ‘How to use it’? Other psychological factors in HCI and especially related to website interaction is how intuitive is the interaction, thus reducing mental processing. Above all further to the psychological interaction with the design, user feedback is paramount in-regards to the visibility, the sounds provided, and also tactile sensation. The feedback can be subtle and involve all these aspects in differing respects. Feedback can be overt such as ‘power on lights’ to click of keyboards’ etc..It seems that if the HCI is not intuitive and labels and instructions are used then this is itself an admission of failure on the designer’s part. Norman, (1990)
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Gantt Tracking Sheet – CD Rom Production – SuperNewMedia Ltd