Kicking off an e-learning project is exciting—you get to meet the client, make design choices, and work with a talented team. But once a project starts, the momentum can sometimes lag. Sometimes this slowdown is a result of changes to the project plan, a challenging review cycle, or a miscommunication, but other times you find yourself behind schedule without knowing why.
The good news is, with a little planning and critical thinking, you can avoid common pitfalls and keep your project moving! Read on to find out how.
1. Use a Flexible/Iterative Process
While having a plan is important, your ability to adapt the plan to meet client needs and address unexpected changes is just as crucial. Using an iterative process to manage your project lets you continuously gather feedback and quickly adapt.
For example, say you get feedback asking you to make changes outside the scope of your initial plan. If that happens, you’ll want to consider a few things:
- What you would need to be able to apply them. Do you need extra time? More money? Both?
- How far outside the scope the requested changes are. Will it require months of extra work or just a few days? Do you need to significantly raise the budget or just scrape together a tiny bit more?
- How critical they are. For example, if the requested changes relate to compliance or safety measures, odds are they’re critical enough that you’ll need to find a way to incorporate them. But if it’s just a question of personal preference, it might be okay to decide not to.
Once you’ve answered these questions, get together with the project stakeholders and make a decision about whether or not to apply the changes. If you decide to apply them, remember to adjust your project plan accordingly.
For more information on iterative and agile project management, check out this article: SAM, A More Agile Approach to E-Learning Development.
2. Maintain Open, Transparent Communication
Communication is the single most important factor in project success. As a project manager, it’s your responsibility to provide the right information, to the right people, at the right time. The best project managers know the level of information each team member needs and selects the most effective communication method.
For example, anything that impacts your timeline should always be communicated to your primary stakeholder. You can avoid bottlenecks in the flow of information by identifying how your stakeholders prefer to communicate—email, phone call, text, etc.
When it comes to other team members, a best practice is to touch base with each of them on a weekly basis. One way to do that is to schedule short meetings to share project updates. In these meetings, encourage everyone to reach out if they need help or any further direction. If you notice certain team members seem lost and aren’t proactively seeking help, make a point to check in with them more often.
Another great way to make sure everyone has all the information they need is to use a project management app—like Trello or Basecamp—to track progress and create a central location to find project information.
3. Establish an Effective Review Process
One of the most common project roadblocks is an ineffective review process. According to this survey of e-learning developers, they spend a whopping 40 percent of their time iterating courses with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). But it doesn’t have to be that way. The two main things that cause an ineffective review process—miscommunication and difficulty tracking feedback—can both be easily resolved by using an app, like Review 360, that centralizes feedback.
Instead of communicating feedback in an endless spreadsheet, stakeholders can leave their comments directly in the course—making it easier for them to do and for you to understand. It’s a win-win! And if other stakeholders disagree with a comment or if you need further clarification to fulfill their request, inline responses make communication super-easy.
For more tips on how to simplify the review process, check out this article: 5 Steps to an Easier E-Learning Course Review Process.
Flexible project management, open communication, and an effective review process are all key components of e-learning project success. Following these tips will help keep your project going and ensure you meet your deadlines.
For more project management tips, check out these articles:
- 6 Agenda Items for Your E-Learning Project Kickoff Meetings
- 3 Tips for Building an Effective E-Learning Project Team
- 3 Ways to Ensure Your E-Learning Clients Keep Coming Back For More
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