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BOOKENDS April 2018, Volume 1, Issue 2

FEATURE ARTICLE: Project Management and Academics

As students we become familiar with time management. Do I go see “Black Panther” or do I write my Chem 101 lab results? Do I finish reading this chapter, or do I start my mathematics homework? Getting tasks done is essential to any career. When you apply time management to a group of people it becomes Project Management. There are many schools of thought on project management. This has become a formal area or research for business schools since the 1950’s as organizations like Toyota and IBM tried to find the best way to allocate time and resources. An interesting facet of project management is the applicability of PM techniques used by one field, say grocery store stocking, and its utility in an unrelated field like auto manufacture. Academics have done research on project management, but don’t always apply project management to what they are doing. We’d like to use this issue of the library newsletter to highlight the importance of project management, and suggest a few resources to get you thinking how you can apply these techniques not only to projects, but to research, and even how you organize your study group.

Filipa Anzalone, a law librarian at Boston College of Law, gives an excellent overview of the importance and use of project management for dealing with change in her clearly named article Project Management: A Technique for Coping with Change

 Here are some primers on PM techniques being used in business and universities right now:

 

The list could go on. There are many approaches, based on the needs of an organization or from refining established techniques to meet the needs of new teams, project management is very much a practical art. To master it requires putting in the effort and starting with small projects so you have an idea how to work with big projects.

by Kevin Martin

CONFERENCE REPORT: Information Literacy Network – Gulf Cooperation Council Spring 2018 Symposiums

 

March has been very busy for Librarians at KU Libraries and beyond. A lot of work has gone into organizing and presenting at the ILN-GCC Spring Symposiums held at ZU Dubai and NYUAD. Both symposiums used the 3-3-3 presentation method (3 minutes, 3 slides, 3 references), which proved very successful and a welcome approach. These events help bring together Instructional Librarians from various backgrounds who have a special interest in Information Literacy & provide a much needed platform for sharing best practices and the latest in the field. The survey feedback revealed the importance of networking through such events in the region; one commented, “I really enjoyed the style of the symposium. It helped  me to learn a lot more about what people are doing at different universities than a more traditional style set up of only a handful of speakers. I am all for continuing symposiums in this style!”.

Our guest speaker for NYU Abu Dhabi event, Dr. Janette Wright, Dean of Libraries at UAEU, presented on a detailed redevelopment project ‘Reimagining the University Libraries’ for the UAEU Libraries. She shared her vision of a complete physical and services overhaul, which will see the libraries become the center and integral part of the culture of Al Ain and beyond.

by Patricia Jamal

TOP WORKSHOP IN MARCH: Research Data Management

Research Data Management

Three workshops were held in March on the document of Research Data Management. These sessions were held on Main Campus and the Masdar City campus. Attendees came from all three campuses to learn more about the topic and discuss ways KU might be able to implement RDM practices. This discussion touched on broad areas such as what policy might look like to more immediate matters such as implementing a data storehouse. Also identified, in the course of discussing basics such as file management and naming conventions, was the need for students to learn basic project management during their under graduate experience. The theme of this month’s newsletter is project management resources. The Library is also looking at what resources it can bring in and what workshops might be offered to help meet this need.

If you’re interested in learning more about Research Data Management there is an excellent, and free, online course at Coursera. Also, the library will offer further workshops on the topic to get into the nitty gritty of data management over the summer.

If you have recommendations for resources or workshops the library should provide, contact us at: libse@ku.ac.ae

TECHNOLOGY BYTES: Team Gantt

Project planning is a critical skill in business and academia. One free resource to help learn and practice project planning and management is Team Gantt. This online tool helps you identify tasks, assign them to team members, and visually understand what is involved in completing a project. Key features include:

 

Simple Project Planning – Users create tasks online. Once the tasks are created, a drag-and-drop feature allows the user to place the tasks in any order or priority on the list. Task durations can be lengthened or shortened as needed. The online Gantt chart also allows dependencies so that tasks are done in the proper order.

Easy Progress Tracking – This web-based Gantt chart software has features to easily track the progress of each task or resource. Percent completed can be updated online. Filters allow the user to see the tasks assigned to a particular team member. It can also be filtered by date to see which tasks are critical.

Flexible Team Collaborating – Team Gantt is more than a project scheduling software with flexible features that allow teams to collaborate in several ways. Comments can be made on each task. Files can be uploaded and attached to a task. People involved in a project can see these comments and files real-time. No more waiting for emails that may or may not come. In addition, a daily email reminds all members who have important tasks for the day. The software can also be accessed with mobile phones and integrates with popular calendar applications such as Outlook and Google Calendar.

Learn more about Team Gantt and the usefulness of Gantt charts at the Team Gantt website and on Lynda.com.

by Kevin Martin

MANAGE YOUR ENERGY

Most us know a lot about time management, and surely have heard about anger management too. We are doing our best to try and manage our time to achieve more, while trying to keep some time for themselves to enjoy their families or even to relax alone. Recently, I read a book about work and how to manage difficult situations and how to excel at our jobs.

One chapter of the book was about how to "manage your energy". As employees, we need to bring plenty of positive energy to what we do at work. We have to look after ourselves physically: make sure we stay fit and healthy, don't stay up late, don't overeat or skip exercising, etc. We also must not neglect our mental energy. The author said "What time of day you work best? What environment makes you most effective at work - quiet, busy, pressured, noisy?" We are all different and may not have total control over our working day, but we can make sure that the tasks that need the most concentration get allocated to times when you're best able to concentrate.

The author also mentioned emotional energy, and how we need to separate our personal life from work life. "If things are going badly in your home life, try to bolster your emotional mood before you go to work so your job and colleagues aren't affected", (i.e. keep your home life at home). If you are under pressure at work, you'll need to come up with ways to keep your energy levels up: have a break, go for a run at lunchtime, try to talk to the person who's bothering you, talk to your boss about your worries.

Finally, your spiritual side needs room to stretch, in order to feel energized. Only you know where you stand on this, but make sure that your job isn't cramping your spiritual energy or in the end both you and the job will suffer.

It's your job to make sure that energy
is there when it's needed

By: Asma'a S. Assim