This APA style reflective essay covers the concepts of strategy and project management in an IT or computer science class. This paper discusses the importance of staying engaged in a course, using strategy, and applying these new concepts in a professional atmosphere.
Reflection on Strategic Engagement and Project Management
In today’s hyper competitive globalized economy it is essential for individuals and organizations to have a precise strategy. Strategy begins with a mission but is supported by the context of knowing one’s place in the market. Strategy is the roadmap for organizational success, and while it is not a business model it is the lifeblood of how the model flows through business choices. Strategy enables employees to maintain a holistic vision of their organizational goals, which act as an anchor for employee’s to envision creative new ways of achieving these goals. This is a form of dynamic strategic partnerships which will help cultivate success and organizational commitment.
Strategic engagement with the course
The concept of strategy helped me stay engaged with the course, the professor, and my classmates because it is empowering. Much of what we learn is something we must take in passively, but with strategy we can make it our own and give back actively. I am excited by challenges, and find my best ideas come when I am free to conceptualize in my own way. The concept of strategy is one I am familiar with from playing games. Learning and practicing strategy helped me see IT as a type of emergent game, and this challenge helps keep me engaged and on the lookout for how I can uniquely contribute. Seeing something rather serious as a game is a good way to stay productive through not getting locked up by fear or possible failure. This class helped me prepare that mindset.
Applying strategy professionally
In the past it was enough for corporations to take care of strategy and employees to follow organizational lead. However, the power players in today’s information technology field are those whose personal strategy is in alignment not only with their company but with the emergent flow of the market. Information technology is the fastest growing and evolving field today, and this requires technicians to be constant students on the pulse of the newest applications. In this sense strategy is knowing what has come before, what is emerging now, and what is likely to push the market changes in the future. I will apply strategy through embracing being a lifelong student of the best-evidenced based approach in the IT field. My development is not dependent on the growth of the market, but will be aided by my strategic absorbent perspective towards knowledge. For me this means an observation of IT case studies as well as new technologies.
Project Management is the process of working with the strengths and limitations of each business context in order to make the best of resources, skills, and opportunities. The Project Triangle is the matrix of Scope, Time, and Cost in which the management must occur. If any two of these elements are chosen without the third leg the project is likely to be a failure. Project Management is supported by applications (Microsoft Project, Atlassian Jira, Podio, Smartsheet, Basecamp, etc.) which will help flush out the context and application for complex projects. Unlike organizational goals, project goals are held only for the time and goals of the project in question. Confusing this may lead to a disproportionate investment of organizational resources into a project. This has been done in the past in ways which undermine the longevity of organizations.
Engagement with the Course
Project Management helped me stay engaged in class through envisioning the class as a microcosm. Overall we were a shared organization, but when working together on projects we were able to engage with each other differently. This was stimulating, and required the use of many supportive interpersonal skills. The essential elements of project management (Project management, Project team, Project cycle plan, and Common project vocabulary) give form to the project emergence. Project development does not rely upon one person, but on teamwork. Learning this helped me see my classmates in a new way, as people with shared goals and the differing skills to accomplish them.
I was surprised when we worked on project management elements that there were not as many classmates that desired to be leaders, and many who wanted to act as support. I was among those who wanted to take a supportive position, and I learned that this was because I was not yet confident enough to believe I could keep everyone on the same vision of completion. Maybe this is because I am still learning the format, and maybe it is because leadership is not the strongest place for my skills. This class was helpful for working out some of these dynamics in practice and in preparation for employment.
Applying PM professionally
Project development is where the strengths of the individual meets the creative potential of the team. Information technology specialists do not always have the best people skills, but effective project management requires this. I acknowledge this may be a challenge for me to apply in the field, and will have to practice developing greater skills of teamwork. Working in this class was helpful for showing me how integral this was to success, and though it is difficult to accept limitations I must if I am going to grow. Knowing when and how project leadership vs. teamwork is needed may be one of the most sensitive aspects of project management. Having leaders from each department working on the project may be a good way to balance this equation.
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