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Project Management Skills

Project Management Skills

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In this lesson, students examine the project management skills needed for the successful implementation of site based initiatives.

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Implementing Site-Based Initiatives

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Source: Globe, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Thinking Person, Clker, http://bit.ly/1EmDSQV; Fence, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1IlUIGx

Video Transcription

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Hello there and welcome. In this lesson, you are sure hear about some strategies and tips that are familiar to you. If so, consider this a refresher on some of the most important skills needed for successful management implementation of site based initiatives. Let's get started.

I love to tackle big jobs. In fact, I sometimes take on a bit more than I can chew. If you're a homeowner, you might be able to relate. One thing I've noticed over the years is that having the right tools to do a job makes all the difference. I've been guilty of trying to do a job with the wrong tools in order to avoid additional expense.

And I will tell you that strategy usually backfires. Here's an example. Recently, I had to power wash, sand, and re-paint my fence. I didn't have an electric or power sander so I decided to do it by hand. That was a big mistake. Weeks later, I could already see the fence peeling again. I should have bought the right tool for the job.

Let's begin with SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that helps to create solid goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, identify who's responsible, and timely. SMART goals can be used to help guide an individual or any team toward improvement. For example, a teacher might want her students' reading scores to improve.

An administrator may want to increase the number of classroom walkthroughs they conduct. Or a grade level team may want to pilot a new science program with fidelity. In all cases, the SMART goal format will help these users identify a specific, attainable, and relevant goal and the tools to measure progress on a set timetable.

As an administrator, I reviewed many goals and some common reasons for asking for revisions are the goal is too broad or too narrow, attainment is unrealistic or overly ambitious, the measurement tools are unreliable, or the goal is not connected in any way to the teacher's role or their students' work. If any of this criteria is not met, it will be very difficult, if not impossible to follow it through with fidelity.

Next, we'll look at a plan, do, study, act cycle of inquiry, also known as a PDSA. SMART goals are larger than PDSAs and include many action steps. It's a good idea to break those steps up into their own short cycle plans and using the PDSA model can do that for you. Listed here are the steps of the PDSA cycle.

Plan. What goal needs to be met. Do. The actions needed to meet goals. Study. The measurable results. And act based on those results. If you're working in a site based management system, you are given the level of autonomy at the school level to create goals toward continuous improvement. And PDSAs are only one way to do that.

For example, a teacher may notice that their students are struggling with fractions. They might create a PDSA with their class in order to do something to help improve their understanding. Another example may be a group of teacher assistants, having noticed an increase in behavioral issues during lunch, want to implement a system of praise and rewards.

I personally used a PDSA recently with a group of teachers that were struggling with instructional pacing in math. We compacted lessons based on the remaining school calendar and used the existing assessments to measure the impact. Any gaps that needed to be filled were addressed throughout intervention blocks. A plan, do, study, act will go a long way in helping students and teachers keep a growth mindset and monitor progress.

As researcher Cassie Erkens states, what gets measured gets taught. And a PDSA helps keep us on track to do that. RACI is a tool that can really help with accountability. It allows the team to identify the members responsible for each phase of the project or initiative. Like the others, RACI is of course an acronym as well.

Each letter represents a specific role that members must fulfill. Let's take a look at them. Responsible. This is usually a shared role because the scope of the work involved. These individuals are responsible for completing the task. Accountable. This person is the one ultimately responsible and is given the authority to basically chart the course and have the final say for the team.

This is usually a principal or a teacher leader. Consult. The consultant is consider the expert who offers their opinion and knowledge before final decisions or actions are taken. And the last row is inform. These are the individuals that are notified after the action or decision is made.

I've often been in situations where too many people involved in an initiative can be counterproductive. I'm all for collaboration. But without defined roles, you can find yourself going in circles. Using RACI can provide the perfect balance a PLC needs. Welcoming enough to include various voices. However, not too large that the process becomes disorganized and inefficient.

Here's an example of a RACI chart to help organize the information about a school's initiative at improving behavior on the playground. Notice the letters that identify each individual's role and responsibility. Similar charts can be used for implementation of an updated curriculum or program. This type of chart promotes accountability, collaboration, and transparency.

A RACI chart or something very similar can be used any time a team is working on an initiative, like implementation of a curriculum or program. It can even be used when executing a budget for small business. So it's time to go ahead and do a quick recap of what was covered here. We looked at three valuable tool site based management teams should be familiar with.

They are SMART goals, PDSA, and RACI. And whether you are a facilitator of a team or you have a strategic, tactical, or operational role, an understanding of these tools and how to use them will be a great asset to your professional learning community. Here's today's food for thought.

Conduct an online search for samples of each of these tools in order to get a deeper understanding of them. Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be extremely helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources that you want. Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Project Management Skills"

(00:00-00:17) Intro

(00:18-00:54) The Right Tool

(00:55-02:03) SMART Goals

(02:04-03:40) PDSA

(03:41-05:32) RACI

(05:33-06:26) Summary/Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Creating Collaborative Action Teams: Working Together for Student Success

This guidebook includes resources and suggestions for establishing, running, and supporting collaborative teams.
http://www.sedl.org/pubs/fam18/Guide.pdf


Strategies for Creating Effective School Leadership Teams

This useful guidance document from the Vermont Department of Education offers best practices for establishing school leadership teams for the purpose of continuous improvement.
http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-PLP_Strategies_for_Effective_School_Leadership_Teams.pdf