Unit 6: Managing a Successful Computing Project
This unit is assessed by a Pearson-set assignment. The project brief will be set by the centre, based on a theme provided by Pearson (this will change annually). The theme and chosen project within the theme will enable students to explore and examine a relevant and current topical aspect of computing in the context of a business environment.
In order to ensure that client expectations are met in terms of requirements, deadlines and the estimated cost, the work to deliver new computer systems or services to business organisations, or to revamp the existing ones, is always organised in projects. Therefore, skilful, knowledgeable and experienced project managers have always been in demand. It is projected that 15.7 million new project management roles will be created around the world by 2020.
The aim of this unit is to offer students an opportunity to demonstrate the skills required for managing and implementing a project. They will undertake independent research and investigation for carrying out and executing a computing project which meets appropriate aims and objectives.
On successful completion of this unit students will have the confidence to engage in decision-making, problem-solving and research activities using project management skills. They will have the fundamental knowledge and skills to enable them to investigate and examine relevant computing concepts within a work-related context, determine appropriate outcomes, decisions or solutions and present evidence to various stakeholders in an acceptable and understandable format.
LO1: Establish project aims, objectives and timeframes based on the chosen theme
- Project management:
- What is project management and what does it involve?
- The key stages of project management.
- The advantages of using project management and why it is important.
- Initiation of the project and project planning phase:
- Scoping a project − defining objectives, scope, purpose and deliverables to be produced.
- Steps and documentation required in the initiation phase.
- Developing the project plan, including planning for timescales and time management, cost, quality, change, risk and issues.
- The work breakdown structure.
- Use of Bar and Gantt Charts for effective planning.
LO2: Conduct small-scale research, information gathering and data collection to generate knowledge to support the project
- Project execution phase:
- Selecting appropriate methods of information gathering, data collection and material resourcing.
- The distinct phases which support a coherent and logical argument.
- Use of secondary research to inform a primary empirical study.
- Qualitative and quantitative research methods.
- Field work:
- Selecting a sample of the consumer market, businesses or individuals (those who meet certain characteristics relevant to the research theme) is used to gather data (qualitative or quantitative).
- Sampling approaches and techniques, including probability and non-probability sampling.
- Ethics, reliability and validity:
- All research should be conducted ethically − how is this achieved and reported?
- Research should also be reliable (similar results achieved from a similar sample) and valid (the research should measure what it aimed to measure).
- Analysing information and data:
- Using data collection tools such as interviews and questionnaires.
- Using analytical techniques such as trend analysis, coding or typologies.
LO3: Present the project and communicate appropriate recommendations based on meaningful conclusions drawn from the evidence findings and/or analysis
- Communicating outcomes:
- Consider the method (e.g. written, verbal) and the medium (e.g. report, online, presentation).
- Both method and medium will be influenced by the project research and its intended audience.
- Convincing arguments:
- All findings/outcomes should be convincing and presented logically where the assumption is that the audience has little or no knowledge of the project process.
- Developing evaluative conclusions.
- Critical and objective analysis and evaluation:
- Secondary and primary data should be critiqued and considered with an objective mindset.
- Objectivity results in more robust evaluations where an analysis justifies a judgement.
LO4: Reflect on the value gained from conducting the project and its usefulness to support sustainable organisational performance
- Reflection for learning and practice:
- The difference between reflecting on performance and evaluating a project − the former considers the research process, information gathering and data collection, the latter the quality of the research argument and use of evidence.
- The cycle of reflection:
- To include reflection in action and reflection on action.
- How to use reflection to inform future behaviour, particularly directed towards sustainable performance.
- Reflective writing:
- Avoiding generalisation and focusing on personal development and the research journey in a critical and objective way.
- Many studies result in generalised findings. Research which has its basis in a specific field such as Human Resource Management (HRM) and in a specific context should avoid generalised conclusions.
- Outcomes should be specific and actionable.