Smart Projex:

Project Management Basics for School Administrators

Author: Suzanne S. Davenport

You’ve just finished spring break. End of year festivities are quickly approaching. Classes, teachers, coaches, staff, and the needed contracts for next year are being decided. You are working on the upcoming budget. Renovations are about to get started on one of your facilities.

Suddenly, COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) is now the only talk in town. Schools and businesses are closing. People are being laid off. And childcare is impossible to find.

You have heard about project management for years, but all of your project managers (if they are called that) are untrained and flying by the seat of their pants. You feel like there are teams everywhere, working on projects, but does anyone know what is happening?

People are now working from home, and you are wondering how the heck your teachers are going to be able to effectively teach in that unfamiliar and technology focused world.

You are wondering which projects to focus on. You don’t have a clear handle on the critical deadlines. People assigned to activities keep rotating, as staff begins to contract the virus. And you don’t see the end of this on the horizon.

Some things you do know:

  • Your staff is now working from makeshift offices in their homes. It’s not fun. They are having a hard time focusing with all of the distractions and without the personal touch.
  • Your school has always prided itself on its ability to personally connect with students and that is challenging in this new world of social distancing.
  • Time is money and some things you are doing seem to be adding value. But it’s difficult to evaluate which things are adding value or how much value.
  • During the good times, you have successfully met big deadlines, somehow, but you still missed a lot of others. Your team seemed exceptionally stressed during the week or two before a major deadline. Other activities seemed to fall through the cracks when these big deadlines were pressing on everyone.
  • Volunteers frequently fail to deliver; you don’t know what to do about that. But you do know that when it happens, it takes a major toll on the staff.

Maybe it’s time for you and your team to understand the basics of project management.

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