THATCamp Lehigh Valley–Project Management

The final workshop today for THATCamp Lehigh Valley 2013 will be on project management, presented by Sherri Yerk-Zwickl, who is the Director of Project Management and Web&Mobile Services at Lehigh University.  She gave her presentation a great title:  “How to Survive when You are Volunteered to Lead a Project.

What is a Project?

A project a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.

A project is temporary!  Even if some projects feel like they never end, they will at some point.  They should have unique goals and add value.

Project Management, then, is the application of the knowledge, skills, and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently (from  Sherri will be focusing on the techniques and hopes to give us ‘just enough’ project management techniques.

A lot of the challenges of the projects is having a common understanding of what we are working towards.

Project Management

Traditional PM involves 5 stages:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring/Controlling
  • Closing

Documentation is important in project management.

Some Planning Steps are crucial:

Charter/SOW (What)

  • Objective: what is the point of it all
  • Context: Why we should do it and what its connected to
  • Goals: what improvements should occur
  • Deliverables: tangible items to reult
  • Scope: what’s in/out

Work Breakdown Structure (How & When)

  • How do you eat an elephant?  One piece at a time.  That’s what work breakdown structure is breaking down the project into smaller pieces.
  • Sherri likes using post-it notes and puts them on a project wall.  Generate ideas and components of the project.
  • Then need to organize these components and even break them down more.
  • Assign times to each of these tasks/smaller pieces.

Stakeholder Analysis (Who)

  • A stakeholder is any one who has an interest in the project.
  • Power vs Interest Grid:

    Power Interest Grid
    borrowed from:
  • Determine where in the grid stakeholders would fall.
  • This information informs how you are going to communicate with them.

Communication Plan (Huh?)

Stakeholders need-to-know:

  • routine items (tasks, progress, etc.)
  • budget
  • risks and/or issues

The method and the frequency would may vary depending on the stakeholder.

We’ve covered primarily the ‘planning’ phase of the project.  It is important to put a great deal of focus on the planning.  Now you can execute.  Let’s tackle the project.  And remember every project needs to end.

Closing a project:  what was the good, the bad, and the ugly, and the (what should we do different the next time) part.  Here is where documentation is very helpful.  Avoid the temptation to skip the documentation, especially on those ‘solo’ projects.  Documenting your experience from a project can help inform you and others for future projects.

Some Useful Resources:

And Sherri will graciously share her Prezi and materials on the THATCamp Lehigh Valley blog very soon!

Who’s ready to tackle a new project?


  1. peeter

    January 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Ok ok no issues.Better i will suggest u

  2. siana

    January 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Oh iam sorry ,actually i was asking abt agile scrum trainning?

  3. peeterpattinson

    January 9, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks Siana,
    but i have already provided that in preveious comment

  4. siana

    January 9, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Peeter,

    Good info ,but i would like to know abt some PM sites would u suggest?

  5. peeterpattinson

    January 9, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Hi i think a PMP certification is very recognized these days, and if you have the capabality you should try to aim for a PMP certification. There are also a lot of useful resources on the web; most of which are free..One of the useful resource is avaialable pn

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