That Blue Square Thing

Applied ICT A Level Unit 8 - Project Management

Note: this page applies to the AQA Applied ICT A level specification. This exam was withdrawn in 2012, with final exams in 2013. The content will be retained as an archive and because it has some stuff that might be quite useful for someone or other

Mobile phonePart 1 - Introducing the Project

Unit 8 doesn't work in the same way to many of the previous units. Because it’s about team working the portfolio needs to reflect this. Not everyone has to have the same evidence or do the same jobs. That’s OK.

It doesn't follow an obvious Markgrid order. It's more important to write the portfolio up in a sensible order to reflect the project and what happened during it. This is going to involve a lot more narrative writing than is usual (i.e. telling the story).

Note: The term "The Project" refers to the thing the group produced for the client. You need to keep this in mind. It's the focus of everything - you simply evidence the skills and so on as you worked through the project.

Once upon a time...

Describe how you began the project.

You probably sat down, had a meeting or two, identified a client and something that you could produce for them. The client needs can be described and the purpose of the project can be dealt with here as well (AO2 row 4).

At this point someone probably met with the client and some sort of job specification was arrived at, perhaps in another team meeting. A list of project objectives probably followed from this (AO4 row 1 part). There might be a set of client needs related to this as well. In an ideal world this would have led to a set of evaluation criteria (AO4 row 2 part).

These things need to be the same for every member of the team.

PDF iconJim's project objectives might be worth a look to see the sorts of things that are worth including

PDF iconJim's success criteria should help as well

I've talked about minutes and e-mails quite a lot already. You will have created these between you. It would be helpful to be able to refer to these during your write-up. It would probably be a good idea to have them in an appendix at the end of the portfolio. You can then refer to "the meeting on 25th December (see appendix)…" for example. The more you refer to meetings in ways like this the better.

PDF iconYou may well find that a Meeting Log is absolutely essential to help you all make sense of what went on and when it occured

Team Roles:

At some point in all of that, job roles would have been assigned. This might have happened before the client was contacted or during that process or after it. You need to describe these (AO2 row 1). These roles should focus on project management skills. Some tasks may be shared – for example, it would be very helpful if chairing and taking minutes of meetings and creating agenda were jobs that everyone took their turn doing. A meeting which set this principle up in the first place would be useful.

You might talk about some basic time planning in this section as well – there may well be an overall deadline for example and you could come up with a list of jobs that will need to be done (probably in a meeting, perhaps in an e-mail exchange).

You might want to consider a contingency plan – you might have had a meeting early on to discuss this and to say what would happen if one member of the team had to drop out for a period of time. You might want to describe the contingency plan at this point (AO3 row 3 part) but this might be in another section of the portfolio in more detail.

PDF iconJim's contingency plan might be worth a look to get a few ideas for the sorts of things to include

You might want to think about your pre-existing skills and knowledge at this point. There's more about this in Part 2, which is where you might want to write it up.

Personal Objectives:

A skills audit will help you set personal objectives – skills and knowledge you wanted to develop during the project as well as any other objectives you may have had (AO4 row 1). Soft skills like working effectively or skills linked to your own role in the project would make good choices here.

You can then set success (or evaluation) criteria for these objectives as well (AO4 row 2).

PDF iconJim's personal objectives could well be worth a quick look to check that you're on the right sort of lines. Of course, your personal objectives will be based on your skills audit, not Jims!

Planning the use of ICT:

You should also have thought about how you planned to use ICT at this point. This might be "hard" ICT (like Flash) or softer ICT like communicating and keeping records of what’s gone on, the use of common templates/agreed formats for agenda and minutes, using collaborative documents, using shared pen drives/user areas and so on (AO3 row 1). There might be contingency plans related to this as well (AO3 row 3).

PDF iconJim's ICT planning section is probably worth a look for a few ideas

It would be a good idea if you had a meeting to agree on things like file naming protocols and responsibilities for things like backups and keeping versions of files (AO1 row 5). This might relate to specific job roles or might be something that people share.

You will certainly need to have had a meeting to decide on things like sizes for Flash animations and the like – although this will probably relate to the group objectives and evaluation criteria discussed above.

PDF icona PDF version of these notes with some expanded comments

Summary:

In this section you should address:

This should all refer to minutes of meetings and/or e-mails where possible. This will provide some evidence for AO1-2, AO1-5, AO2-2, AO4-3, AO4-6 and AO4-7.

You should probably look at That Blue Square Blog for all the really good other A Level stuff.