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 This exam was withdrawn in 2012, with final exams in 2013.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 4 - ICT and Teamworking

Working in a team on a joint project is a job that can be made easier by the effective use of ICT tools.

You need to show how you've used ICT tools in your work on the project and to manage your part in the project effectively.

Specifically this addresses:

This can all be linked to new and pre-existing skills and pre-existing knowledge (AO1 row 3, AO3 row 5 & 6). It's easy to show you've been proactive in developing new skills (AO1 row 4), for example, by providing evidence of having sent e-mails asking for assistance from a colleague or used web forums to find answers to queries. This is also great evidence of communicating effectively (AO2 row 2) and can be used to show that you have provided ICT support to someone else (AO3 row 2).

As usual with unit 8, that's lots of AOs all tangled up together. The key is to tell the story of what happened in the project and weave the use of ICT into that story. There are some elements that need to be addressed a bit more systematically, but that's easy enough to do later. First tell the story.

Planning how to use ICT - AO3 row 1

This does need a section towards the front of the portfolio - in fact, I already talked about this in Part 1.

The key here is that the plan needs to be written in the future tense. This is really important!

The plan is for your part of the project - so make sure you restrict it to that.

ICT Tools to use:

1. Using templates for minutes and agenda:

This is easy to do. Someone needs to set up outline documents for agenda and minutes. These should probably use the sorts of layouts shown in the example documents. They should then be saved as template files. This means that when the template is opened it can't be changed - instead it has to be saved using a new filename. This means the template is still available.

Templates look different to regular Word files:

Screenshot of template fliles

It would also be a good idea if you made decisions about how files are going to be named and where they're going to be stored. Someone should probably write up some sort of document to tell people this - you can see an example of a file naming protocol in the screenshot. This helps to show evidence of standard ways of working (AO1 row 5).

2. Using E-Mail distribution lists and contact entries

Distribution lists allow you to create a way of sending everyone in them team an e-mail at the same time. This is a really helpful project management tool for people to demonstrate.

You can do this in Google Mail:

  1. click on Contacts (on the left)
  2. click on New Group...
  3. name the group ("Team Biscuit" or similar...)
  4. click on Other Contacts (or Most Contacted - or a combination) on the left
  5. tick the people you want to add to the group
  6. click on the Groups drop down button
  7. select the group you just created and click OK

Now, to send an e-mail to everyone on the distribution list you need to go back to your Mail section and Compose a new message. In the To box simply type the first few letters of whatever you called the Group (tea for example...) and then choose the Group name.

Easy!

It would also be helpful to show evidence of having used elements of e-mail such as attachments, suitable subject lines, cc: and perhaps bcc: and so on.

You can also add some detail to the contacts:

  1. click on Contacts
  2. click on the person's name
  3. edit away - try the little button next to their name for instance, or add some notes. Or a picture of a duck

This is all good evidence for effective communication as well as using project management tools.

3. Using online collaborative documents

Google Docs can be an effective way to work collaboratively on a specific document, especially if it's mainly text based (Google Docs doesn't particularly like layout stuff).

It can also be a good way to share Office documents such as Word files. People can then download them and work on new versions. This is particularly useful if you need to get feedback on a document or if people need to write different sections of a document.

It's probably not a good idea to make documents public by the way. It seems easy to lose content if you do this!

4. Tracking Changes in Word documents

Again, as a way of seeing what other people have said about your document, what people have added or what's been deleted, tracking changes is very useful - and an excellent feature of software to develop or new skill to develop.

This works particularly well for things like letters to clients that need checking or changing by others or if you're in charge of documentation etc...

5. Using a shared online calendar

Google calendars can be shared between multiple users. This might be a good way of keeping an update on meetings and other scheduled events.

There may be the possibility of reminders being sent as well, which could be Quite Interesting to play with as a project management tool.

5.5 Using Tasks in a calendar

Tasks screenshotWhen you get your google calendar thingy up and running you'll notice another bar on the left called Tasks. Hit it and you'll get a space on the right of the screen where you can record tasks you need to do. This is an excellent tool for using for monitoring your progress through a set of tasks - particularly your individual tasks.

You can reorder tasks by dragging them up and down and tick them off when they're done. There are buttons at the bottom of the sidebar which will do other things as well. Well worth playing with...

This is a really important tool. It shows you're using ICT to manage your aspect of the project - the key pointer for AO1 row 2. Use it. Now.

6. Using specific Project Management software

The project manager will need to use Open Workbench to deal with the overall project plan. This requires some learning of new skills and will probably be eased by arranging a meeting with a consultant of some kind.

Once they have a project plan it might be communicated partly via a shared online calendar.

7. Using Social Networking sites effectively

It is entirely possible to use stuff like Facebook or Flickr to help manage your project. It might be helpful to use Chat features, for example, to ask for and receive help on something - Google Mail allows you to do this as well (and to save a record of the chat which might be helpful).

You might share an image - say a template for something - via Facebook or Flickr as well.

If you use it, and can find good evidence of having done so effectively, then it's worth thinking about including.

Summary:

You should be able to show evidence of:

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