[AIESEC] Project Management & Effective Communication Training

After having several problem with choosing the right place, Project Management & Effective Communication Training was decided to be held this afternoon at AIESEC office, Jl. Sukasenang V no 14. The session was conducted by Dea Gendyna (MCVP Finance 11/12) and Olga Melinda (LCVP Comm 10/11). Unfortunately, I could only attend the first session and half (well, less than a quarter in fact) of the second session before I had to go home. But I have to say that I’m so glad that I came because it was a great session indeed.

As a newbie at AIESEC, I was practically ‘blind’ about many problems and projects at AIESEC. I don’t really have much clues of what other functions, beside Communication, are actually doing and I think this session open my mind more (even though that’s not the purpose of the session. haha).

Ok, the first session was about Project Management and the speaker is Dea Gendyna, who currently become the member of AIESEC Indonesia. One thing about her, she is a GOOD speaker. I think she can really engages the audience and I like the way she was not using too much slide during the presentation, instead she used the white board. It gave the feeling that she really know what she was talking about and thus makes us believe it was true. The fact that she’s a confidence person helped too.

Dea opened her presentation with a question, what do the audience think project management is. Then she specified it with if we had to describe project management within a word, what would it be. Some said it was Process, some Result, and other said it was Noun, etc. She said all of them might be true, but for her project management is Application. Something that is not only a knowledge (or theory) but already put into action. Project Management is also about 3 things, which is On Time, On Budget, and To Specification. Here she said that during our daily life, consciously or not, we actually do project management. Start from the time we woke up and have our own schedule of what we are going to do that day and what we have to achieve. Then she used that as the example of most of the explanation that she was going to tell us latter. She said that On Time and On Budget are what our superior is going to use as measurement of how successful the project is. But To Specification is what the team members going to use. So by fulfilling those 3 requirements we are successful in fulfilling our responsibility to both the upper authority and to the partners. Something that is usually forgotten by many leaders.

After that she mentioned something that is usually ignored by almost all LCs in Indonesia when they are making a project, which is risk management. Whereas in professional world that is one of the most important thing. If some plans do not work out, what are we going to do? Are there some alternatives? Working on the project that is held by student organization doesn’t mean we are free from the responsibility of doing that because we though we are not that professional and many things should be flexible. She also gave us the statistic which she got from internet about what factors that usually make a project become a failure. They are:

50%   poor definition of requirment

17%   poor risk management (what is the external factors?)

15%   poor scope control

14%   communication problem (the biggest problem in AIESEC LC Bandung)

3%   lack of qualified resources

After that Dea told us about Triple Constraint Management which should be considered every time we are doing a project. They are Time, Money, and Scope; which are the most flexible, the moderate one, and the less flexible. By doing the triple constrain management we will know which we should prioritize and the goal can be reach easier by more effective method.

According to her experience, there are 3 main problems in all Indonesia’s AIESEC LC when we are doing the project. They are too large team, weak & untrained leader, and poor progression. She mention that usually people think more members means faster and easier job, but that also mean more burdens being placed on team leader. AIESEC is an organization that focus on not only the end goal of the project but also the learning experience that all the team member should get. Making a larger team means the leader has more responsibilities of making sure that everyone in the team get the experience and learn about it. However, most of the time we become too focus on the finishing the project and therefore unconsciously denying the right of the team members. Many studies said that normal person usually can only handle 5-7 people. That means when we are making a team, it’s better if we have less members but more effective works. She also said that if, for example, there is a leader that has 5 managers, and then each manager has 5 staffs. Who is the one that has most burdens? From whom that the communication problem will most probably arise? It is the manager. He/she has responsibilities to make sure the project is done (to supervisor), each team member has their learning experience (to underlings), and has good relation with other functions in order to make the project run smoothly (to other managers). With that much members on the team, the possibility is the manager will abandon one or to of the responsibilities. And that is not the project should be.

One of the motto in AIESEC is giving same leadership opportunity to everyone within the organization regardless of their experience. Dea said it is a good one. However, we also have to make sure the one that is chosen should be able to learn fast about the project and able to control the team. Or else, again, the other team members will not gain the learning process, which is their right. This is also related to the next problem which is poor progression. At the first meeting, usually the we will have complete team members. Then at the second meeting some people are missing, and so on until at the end the one who work are only a quarter or even just 10% of the real number of the members. Usually we will immediately said that happen because other members didn’t have the commitment. However, most of the time it was because of the slow, or even no progression at all. We met at the first meeting and talking about what we should do, and then at the second meeting we were talking about the same thing, and so does at the third and so on. That makes some team members loss their goal and therefore become demotivated. They found no meaning and nothing to learn here and then just go away. Or at the other case, the leader make all the decision by him/herself and therefore make other team members unappreciated. They feel no need to discuss anything because they are treated as worker not partner. They feel no connection with the project and then choose to waive it. So in here, the progression and the communication have to be maintained well.

After that Dea asked all the audience to form a group of 2 and then give each of us a project. We had to decide 3 main goals, 2 main events within 2 months, the structures of the team member, and the timeline. All of that has to be done in 15 or 20 minutes (I forget T_T). Then she chose 2 groups to give the presentation and there were feedback from her and other audiences about it. At the end of the session, she showed us a video that related with the materials.

That is from the first session, and after that we had a break before starting the second session (Effective Communication) with Olga Melinda. Unfortunately I could only stay for several minutes before being picked up by my mom, so I can’t give any review. But I’m sure the session is also a great one and I hope there will be this kind of event again in near future :))