In group chat on our chosen social media ‘WhatsApp’,

In this review, I will be critically reflecting on my individual
experiences, considering what I’ve learned, understanding what I could have
done differently and what skills and attributes I will take forward on my next
project. Project management can be defined in many different ways, however, I
have chosen a definition from APM’s website reading “project management is the
application of process, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve
the project objectives.” I have chosen this definition because I believe it
directly relates to my project as we all have different skills and experiences
that we were able to bring to the project in order for it is success. For our
project, we decided to focus on the ‘Importance of Project Life cycle’ because
it was a theory that interested us all, and I thought it was cleaver to link
carrying out a project whilst learning about stages of carrying out a project.
I will be discussing three topics that I believe to be crucial in project
management, in order to achieve our success criteria: Communication, Time
management and Risk management.

 

Effective communication
is essential in a group project for success. Communication is simply the “act
of transferring information from one place to another”. When we communicate, we
are trying to share information, an idea, or an attitude among the team
involved in the project. There are many platforms in which we communicated;
social online platforms, email, group meetings and OneDrive.

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As a group before this project, we knew of each other, but
had not worked together before. Therefore, in the beginning stages of the
project, I was slow to respond in our group chat on our chosen social media ‘WhatsApp’,
due to not being comfortable inputting my ideas or knowing my role in the
group. We were in Tuckman’s “forming stage” of his development model. I became
dependent on a confident member of the team, who naturally took on the project
manager role. However, this quickly changed after a few group meetings, and I
became much more confident offering ideas and participating in group chats. I
have learned that it is important to communicate from the very beginning and to
avoid starting communication online as I think it is important to meet your
team first building from a face-to-face relationship then developing online
chats.

Social information processing theory explains the “development
of work relationships in computer-mediated environments. Although online
interaction may take time before becoming effective as compared to face-to-face
communication, it is a good communication tool.” (Lewis, 2007) Online
communication allowed me to constantly keep up to date with what was happening
in the group and give my input. Another great thing about the WhatsApp group
chat is that if I was struggling with certain aspects of a task, which occurred
occasionally, I was able to get an immediate response from my team guiding me
through it. If I didn’t have this platform, it would be very time consuming,
starting a task and having to wait until the next team meeting to clarify any
misunderstanding, most likely causing a deadline issue. However, our WhatsApp
group chat occasionally proved to be issue as I couldn’t be on my phone all the
time, resulting in some conversations not having an immediate contribution and
having to play catch up later, at times prohibiting my input. Another issue
with online group chats is potential for misunderstanding, as messages can be
understood differently as you cannot hear the tone of voice or interpret body
language. Despite this issue, WhatsApp actually has a voice recording option allowing
us to send a voice note on the chat, enabling us to hear tone of voice. This
was often used by myself and my team to prevent any misinterpretation. The
business world I am learning and developing in, has many different ways of
communicating, with a rise in ‘computer-mediated environments’ so it is
imperative I am able to use online chats and emails as a channel of
communication, as I will be using this on a daily basis when working in a
business full time.

As our group was establishing our roles, I was not confident
speaking up and often conformed to an idea when there was a potential issue to
prevent conflict. This is referred to a ‘Groupthink’ which is a communication
theory by
Irving Janis that
explains the “behavioural pattern to avoid conflict and reach to a consensus
without a critical analysis of the issue” (Binder, 2007). However, I began to
understand the importance of communicating any issues I had, as it is
key to trying to improve the project. Ideas build and become more creative and
interesting when they have had group input even when conflict is involved. If
every team member conforms, we are not going to develop a successful project.
It is important to accept constructive criticism and not to take it personally,
as it shows passion for improving the project.

Communication was often hindered for me using the OneDrive
as I found that it proved difficult with my laptop preventing me from editing
online, so I often had to download uploaded work, update it and re-upload it
again as a second version of the document. This caused confusion leading to a
couple of occasions whereby there was a lack of communication and myself and one
of my team were both using the same template, however, she was editing the
document online and I had downloaded it. I have learned it is very useful
having a place online where the group can upload and view each other’s work,
also being able to edit and make changes to it, however in the future I will
use the ‘Google drive’ as opposed to the ‘OneDrive’ as I believe it to be more
reliable.