April 30th, 2019
Coming back to university was simply better than I expected, despite waking up tired, I still felt good and positive. You know why? simply because there’s only one more week left before final submissions! I can’t wait! and I’m excited because I will likely be working for a friend full-time on https://znotes.org/
Which I mentioned previously in my freelance post that I have designed and developed their website. The founder, who has been a friend of mine since high school, has been having great success with his platform. He wants to hire me full-time to design upcoming products for their site, which includes a class platform and a coaching platform. He’s also a student based in London, who is studying his Masters in maths currently.
Over Summer I will also be writing my dissertation, so clearly, I will be quite busy over summer. These are the highlights of this post, however, the main subject is a presentation that is being prepared by my team and myself of the Broads Project.
It’s been a long Easter break, 3 weeks and I felt every day of it. Usually, holidays pass very quickly for me, but this time it was the opposite. But now that I am back it’s time to perform well and prepare for the hand-ins. I am looking forward to being productive and I do hope the presentation goes well.
Tuesday 30th April 2019,
Image of the team: Zach, Chloe, Corrina, and Jason – Naomi was unfortunately ill and had to go home.
The day started off with a meeting involving everyone including my lecturer Jamie and Amy who is a tutor within the Graphics department. The meeting was based on preparing for what’s coming next, and this was the presentation that will take place at NUA on Friday at 1:30 PM. The broads project and our thoughts have also been shared, each one of us gave an opinion and thoughts on the broads project so far and how the collaboration has gone. I and my colleagues all felt that the collaboration was positive, however, what we felt was lacking is someone from my colleagues should have been a project manager.
Why did we feel this way? because with a project manager things would have been more organized. I believe every single one of my colleague felt that the work we have done has gone through disorganization and matters were slightly confusing. My colleagues felt that we were sort of working on Autopilot mode because there were many periods of time where people were just doing their own thing to contribute to the project. In other words, a lack of communication summarizes the issue.
There has also been a slight miss-communication from the Broads Authority because we asked for certain content to be present in the app, however, due to things being busy, Jamie, my lecturer, worked hard on coming up with content by researching different animals and species that were put into the app. I completely forgot about the Broads Authority having to pass the content to us, so we can place the information in the experience. The reason why I forgot is that during doing my work on the project, I was really focused. I have this habit of when I am focused on doing my work, I completely forgot my surroundings and sometimes the things that people would say would come into one side of my ear and then leave the other. Something I need to work on myself honestly because I know this could affect my overall performance in the future within a work environment and in the industry.
Concluding the meeting and final thoughts, Jamie has asked us to rate the collaborative experience from 1-10. Here are the ratings that I remember from every one of my colleagues.
- Corrina, 8/10: She stated that this was her first time in a collaborative experience and she enjoyed it very much so far.
- Jason, 7/10: Great collaborative experience and he had a great time, however, the appointment of a Project Manager would have improved the experience of this collaboration.
- Naomi, 6/10: Working as a team for her was excellent, but the whole experience was hurt due to a lack of management and leadership. If I recall correctly, she stated that someone should have been a Project Manager to delegate the work and make sure everyone is up to schedule.
- Chloe, 7/10: Same and similar thoughts as the others.
- Zach, 7/10: He enjoyed the experience, but said a Project Manager would have been an excellent idea.
To conclude, I, also myself have rated this experience 7/10 because I believe that with a Project Manager, it could have been Jason for example, would make the experience more realistic and delegated. But really, I am overall happy because it’s the first time I work on a project within a collaborative environment. Certainly would like to do something like this again in the future, should the opportunity arise, I will take it.
Project Management Benefits
According to BrightHubPm, here are some of the benefits of project management.
- Better Efficiency in Delivering Services: Project management provides an easy-to-follow “roadmap” that leads to the completion of the project. Once you know where to avoid bumps and potholes, you’re going to work smarter and not harder and longer.
- Improved / Increased / Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: The client happily walks away whenever you get a project done on time and on budget. And you’re going to see a happy client again. Smart project management provides the tools for continuing this customer/manager relationship.
- Enhanced Delivery of Services Effectiveness: The same strategies that enabled you to complete a project successfully will serve you many times.
- Within your team: Positive results not only command respect but more often than not inspire your team to continue searching for ways to perform more effectively.
- Better Flexibility: Perhaps one of project management’s greatest advantages is that it allows flexibility. Safe project management allows you to map the strategy you want to take to see the completion of your project. But such an organization’s beauty is that you can take it if you discover a smarter direction to take. This alone is worth the admission price for many small to medium-sized enterprises
By implementing fundamental strategies for project management, you will narrow your focus, achieve desired goals and achieve those goals within specific time and cost perimeters. The final result is that everyone comes out with a winner – which can be the best benefit of all for project management.
Now, the presentation that we worked on a lot today has made significant progress in just 1 day…
The video above shows all the slides that we have done so far. Here’s how we exactly organized the slides as of today:
- Introduction and the core pages of the app
- Animation slides, the animations, and transitions between each page
- Experiences: the grid system, the 360-degree experience, the nature finder, and the map
- User testing and results
- Project challenges, next steps, and limitations
- Wayfinding, Campaign, & Website
Because it’s the first day being back, I don’t have much to comment on myself and my performance. But I believe I have been quite productive today and the quantity and quality of work that has been done have been solid. Certainly, after today, I’m quite optimistic that the presentation will go very well and I’m expecting a great performance from everyone in my team. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that things may go wrong at times, even when you have planned very well and did what you have to do.
This ends Tuesday 30th April.
Friday, May 3rd, 2019
The day began at 10AM where my colleagues and the design students were working and finalizing the presentation at sa07. We had bits and small pieces to put together to conclude the presentation and then practice rehearsing. From 10AM to 1:30PM we were preparing the presentation and then we headed to Logans to grab a sandwich.
Image of the presentation in powerpoint
Jason and the rest of the team worked hard on putting the last pieces of the presentation together, however, Jason was struggling to make the powerpoint file-size small because we had a lot of videos and gifs. The other issue is that powerpoint is not optimized to handle that many videos or files. Therefore it would occasionally freeze and lag. To me, I thought that was ridiculous and shocking because Microsoft Office is a powerful software that should be able to handle these kinds of situations, but in disappointment, we had to think of a way to minimize the file-size of all videos and clips. Jason continued exploring to find a solution and he then resorted to using Adobe Media Encoder. Most clips have been converted to mp4. But then, another issue occurred. Some clips were not converting successfully and I don’t recall why.
A solution was to use https://ezgif.com/ – which has the capabilities of converting gifs and short clips to mp4 video formats. The results were very positive. The website converted 2mb and 10mb gifs into 910kb mp4 videos that were great quality. That honesty solved most of our problems, however, things took a slight twist at the actual presentation with the Broads Authority members and team, which I will be mentioning later in this post. By the time this has all been sorted, it was around 11:30AM.
Rehearsal time, we all stood and made sure that we know which slides we will all each be talking. One by one we all spoke for our slides and then midway through we noticed a few things that can be improved in the contents of some slides. E.g the part of the presentation where the animations/transitions of the screens were shown, each animation had its own slide. However, we all thought that it would be easier for myself and the viewers to comprehend if all the animations were together in one slide. That’s one example, other examples involved rewording one or two phrases etc…I was feeling positive and at the same overwhelmed because no matter who I present in front of, there is always that surge of energy within myself that is waiting to be released. But this is where I become a slight nervous wreck, and when this happens, I have been taught pinching yourself helps a lot. This is because when you feel pain, your mind starts to think about the pain rather than presentation, so you calm down.
After rehearsal practice, we all headed to Logans to grab a meal and then head back to the student lounge to sit and eat. It was a great time because I felt like we were an actual and a proper team. We are all committed to the work we do and have done so far. This made me think that I would really like to experience more collaborations in the future, and this time, for sure there would be a Project Manager to allow delegation and to make the arrangement of the work and roles easier, as mentioned in this post earlier. During my meal, I was thinking about how well I am going to do in the presentation because I wasn’t nervous at all, and I already knew what I was gonna say because it’s all about improvising.
To improvise successfully you just need to talk about the work you have done according to what slide is being presented. It’s easy, right? however, when you actually present things just change and unexpected situations occur, which I will get to very soon. By the time we finished our food and had multiple conversations, it was 1:09PM if I remember correctly. We then headed to the presentation room, which is located in the ideas factory building of NUA.
Image credits: Google Maps
The Presentation: Broads Authority, Phase 2
My initial thoughts that this presentation room is excellent, it looked very professional and there were great snacks on the table. Cake, tea, chocolate cakes, and various other things that gave me the feeling of a business/industry standard presentation room. As expected, this is, after all, a professional presentation.
Image credits: Jason Brown, Location: Presentation Room
Upon getting into the presentation, we settled down and performed the presentation setup. A few minutes later, the Broads Authority members have joined us as well. It was time to buckle up, at least that is what I was thinking, and be prepared to present. I wasn’t nervous at this point, in fact, I was rather excited and I wanted to get the presentation over with so I can relax and calm down a little. After the Broads Authority members came in, about 2 minutes later, Jamie my tutor, has also arrived. Everyone sat down and we all introduced ourselves, and we then had about 2 minutes or so to get tea and anything else that we may like to eat/drink.
I really enjoyed how everyone was so welcoming and easy to talk to. That made the atmosphere less stressful and less serious for myself. There was also humor and jokes going around, which allowed me to feel relaxed a little.
Finally, it was time to stand up and move to the presentation viewer…
It was time to present! levels of nervousness remained the same and I gripped myself. I had to tell myself that it will be fine and I will be able to present just fine. Jason started the presentation with an excellent introduction and thanked the Broads Authority for coming today and joining us. He spoke the intro slide. Then it was Naomi’s turn to talk about Phase 2 and was happened overall. Basically, everyone spoke their slides perfectly fine, until it was my turn to speak. The moment the Animations slide comes in, boom, the presentation crashes and says the following “Microsoft Powerpoint has stopped working”. Remaining calm and trying to relax, Jason restarted the presentation several times and still crashed – at this point, my momentum was demolished and destroyed. However, then a B.A member has stated that we could just run the presentation in regular view, rather than in “Slides Mode” or “Presentation Mode”.
Upon doing this, the presentation no longer crashed. I did my best to speak as normally and present at my best, but I felt after speaking, my words were simply gibberish and meaningless. It could just be me overthinking, however, it’s what I felt. When you encounter situations like this, you just need to remain calm and continue presenting, but it wasn’t that simple, unfortunately. What makes it funny is how this happened before previously at the Broads Authority, phase 1 presentation, a similar situation has occurred. The presentation would crash or simply stop functioning. Unlucky right? or rather the fact that I cannot put videos or clips that represent the work I have done.
Continuing the presentation, everyone was performing the rest of their slides perfectly fine, and I did my best with the remaining of the other slides that I had to talk for.
At the end of the presentation, I felt degraded because of what happened. But then I asked Zach and Jason if they think I performed well, and they honestly believe I did. It took me a couple of minutes to accept what they have said because I was in self-doubt. When it comes to important events like this, if one small thing goes wrong, it can bother me hours and potentially days, even weeks. But for something like this, I’m just going to take it as learning material that I can expand upon, and I will be applying the experience into future events like this.
Upon the presentation being finished, the broads authority members were very impressed and pleased with the work we have shown. To the point that they wanted a copy of the presentation to show other B.A members as well. This made me feel more comfortable and less stressed about how the presentation went. Maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself after all? I can take this as experience and learning material to apply further into other presentations in the future.
After the presentation, the B.A members opened the digital experience/app on their phones and have had their shots at it. They really enjoyed the grid experience, the swiping, and the animations. Jason asked if the animations were overwhelming, while I was standing with him. The B.A member(s) said no it wasn’t. They thought it was rather pleasant to look at and very enjoyable.
An image of a B.A member trying the digital experience
After the B.A members have tried out the digital experience – they have mentioned opportunities in regards to working with B.A and other projects they are working on. They have even mentioned contributing and working on this project even further next year. This took my interest and I wanted to learn more. However, before I do I would like to give it a lot of thought and see what my options are. Including other opportunities.
I’m happy overall and I’m thankful for this great experience and the opportunity that the Broads Authority has given us and NUA. I enjoyed this collaborative project and I have gained a lot more experience in team-working, ideating, discussing, and much more. This could have not happened with Jamie my lecturer as well. He has worked on everything to make this happen as well. Jamie is an excellent tutor and mentor and I cannot wait to see what 3rd year is holding for us.
Moving forward, I’ll be preparing for hand-ins which is taking place on Friday. I am really excited because that will bring the 2nd year course to an end. It was a great year and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve become a better designer and a developer overall. Thanks to the course and all the units/projects we have done so far. 3rd year will be a challenge for sure, especially writing my dissertation over and then coming up with a final major project.
So yes, there is a lot to do and that will be my focus, preparing for deadlines!
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Development, C. (2019). Why Project Management Matters – What are the Top 3 Benefits of Project Management? – Continuing Professional Development. [online] Continuing Professional Development. Available at: https://continuingprofessionaldevelopment.org/project-management-matters-top-3-benefits-project-management/ [Accessed 30 Apr. 2019].
Distribution One. (2019). The 4 Main Benefits of a Dedicated Project Manager | Distribution One. [online] Available at: https://distone.com/dedicated-project-manager/ [Accessed 30 Apr. 2019].
Windsor, G. and Windsor, G. (2019). 6 Benefits of Using a Project Management Solution. [online] BrightWork.com. Available at: https://www.brightwork.com/blog/6-benefits-of-using-a-project-management-solution [Accessed 30 Apr. 2019].