Research as a project: A good start is half the work done; David de Jong
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Research as a project: A good start is half the work done; David de Jong

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TIL/T&P Masterclass presentation by David de Jong on his MSc project and about project management. December 2011.

TIL/T&P Masterclass presentation by David de Jong on his MSc project and about project management. December 2011.

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Research as a project: A good start is half the work done; David de Jong Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Research as a projectA good start is half the work doneDavid de Jong (CiTG, T&P)30/1/12 TIL/T&P Masterclass 7 December 2011, 15:45 – 17:15 Delft University of Technology Challenge the future
  • 2. Overview•  Introduction•  Preparing your project •  Finding a research topic •  Defining your goals •  Phases and steps •  Risk assessment •  Planning•  Managing your project •  Starting and planning •  Communicating•  Questions and discussion Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 2
  • 3. Introduction•  What is a project? •  Temporary endeavor •  Defined beginning and end •  Achieve a particular goal •  Usually constricted by time and/or funding Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 3
  • 4. Introduction•  Most projects are unique as the goals are often different •  A project can however be broken down in smaller, more familiar and uniform activities •  These activities can be worked out independently •  A project should be broken down in such a way that every phase uses input of the previous phase and provides output for the next Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 4
  • 5. Introduction•  Prerequisites for a successful project •  Clearly defined goals and conditions •  Good communication external and internal •  Proper insight in possible risks •  A realistic planning (or budget) •  Thought out carefully at the start (of each phase) Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 5
  • 6. Preparing your project - Finding a research topic•  Orientate on subjects •  Talk to coordinator, (assistant) professors, PhDs and companies •  Look at the bulletin board •  Search on internet•  Get an idea of the scope and desired quality of a graduation work •  Read/browse through other graduation works •  Talk with friends that have graduated/are busy graduating •  Tip: Ask friends that have graduated for tips and what went well and what went wrong during their graduation work Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 6
  • 7. Preparing your project - Finding a research topic•  Define what type of research you want to do •  Tip: Assess your strengths and weaknesses •  Theoretical – Practical •  Programming/modelling – Investigating •  at TU Delft – at a company – at a government authority•  Read some articles of your subject areas of interest Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 7
  • 8. Preparing your project - Finding a research topic•  Pick your subject area •  Tip: If you are not really enthusiastic about your subject, choose something else. You are going to be stuck with it for 7 months•  Read 10 – 15 articles on the subject •  What type of research has been done? •  What do we know about the subject? •  Which recommendations for future research are given? Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 8
  • 9. Preparing your project - Finding a research topic•  The macroscopic fundamental diagram •  A macroscopic relation between accumulation (number of vehicles in a network) and production (number of vehicles reaching their destination Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 9
  • 10. Preparing your project - Finding a research topic•  Type of research done •  Research mostly focused on predicting the shape of the MFD •  Create MFDs from real data •  Conditions for finding MFDs•  Recommendations for future research •  Applicability to inhomogeneous loaded networks •  Application of the MFD for perimeter control Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 10
  • 11. Preparing your project - Defining your goals•  Define your research question •  What do I want to know about this subject •  What is the scientific and practical relevance of this/these questions?•  Define your research results •  Answering your research questions (of course) •  When are you satisfied? •  What would be your perfect result? •  Tip: Defining a perfect result helps you to focus on whats important and what is not Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 11
  • 12. Preparing your project - Defining your goals•  Research question •  Is it possible to implement perimeter control strategies using a simulation-based MFD and can this improve traffic flow in an existing network? Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 12
  • 13. Preparing your project - Defining your goals Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 13
  • 14. Preparing your project - Defining your goals•  The perfect result •  My perfect result is a model that is independent of the underlying network and can be used to test perimeter control strategies for different networks/cities Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 14
  • 15. Preparing your project - Phases and steps•  Phasing your project •  Conditions: •  Every phase uses the output from the previous phase and delivers input to the next •  Every phase should start with questions that should be answered in that particular phase •  The end of every phase should have a product that can be used for a go/ no-go (or intermediate meeting) •  Try to phase your project in such a way that when the work in that phase should not be satisfactory, that the work to be redone is minimalized •  Try to have approximately 4 – 6 phases Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 15
  • 16. Preparing your project - Phases and steps•  Phasing your project •  After phasing your project, breakdown every phase in multiple steps •  Try to create these steps in such a way that they contain similar activities •  Use your workplan to describe in detail what you are going to do in every step. •  Tip: Write active! This is what I am going to do, this is what I need and this is the result I aim to obtain (try thinking of your workplan as a contract!) Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 16
  • 17. Preparing your project - Phases and steps•  Phase 0: Finding a subject and start-up•  Phase 1: Literature study•  Phase 2: Creating the framework•  Phase 3: Applying the theory to a test model•  Phase 4: Applying the theory to a real network•  Phase 5: Reporting and presenting Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 17
  • 18. Preparing your project - Risk assessment•  Determine your risks •  What do you think can go wrong? •  What does this mean in time or quality of the product? •  Can you control these risks (internal or external)? •  What measures are you going to take?•  Adapt your phases and steps to explicitly incorporate these control measures Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 18
  • 19. Preparing your project - Risk assessment•  Risks •  The result is not in line with the expectations •  Write intermediate reports after every phase and create go/no-go for the next phase •  General miscalculation of time •  Closely monitor time spent on every step •  Further detail the planning after every phase •  Insufficient data •  Use another network/city •  Start collecting data as soon as possible Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 19
  • 20. Preparing your project - Planning•  Plan your project •  Calculate time needed: •  After creating all the steps, estimate the time needed per step (in days) •  Try to break down every step as far as possible to accurately estimate the time needed •  Make your planning •  Plan your thesis, based on the estimated time per step •  Estimate buffer time for every phase, based on the complexity of the phase and your risk assessment •  Tip: Do not use Excel, but Microsoft Projects! This gives you much more insight in the relation between all steps and exact milestone dates Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 20
  • 21. Preparing your project - Planning Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 21
  • 22. Preparing your project - Planning Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 22
  • 23. Preparing the project - Planning•  Warning! •  Your time estimation will probably exceed the time available (140 days). Do not shave time, but downsize or exclude certain steps! Your planning will probably be too optimistic in the first place. Too much work in too little time will give stress and/or highly affect the quality of your work! •  Otherwise accept that your taking more time than necessary Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 23
  • 24. Managing your project - Starting and Planning•  Starting your project •  If done correctly, everything you are going to do is already worked out in your workplan •  All there is to do, is follow your workplan•  Managing your planning •  Try to keep track of the time spent at every activity and compare with your estimation •  Evaluate for yourself why certain things were done faster or slower and review/update your planning Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 24
  • 25. Managing your project - Starting and Planning Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 25
  • 26. Managing your project - Communicating•  Communicating your progress •  Try having a meeting with your supervisor every two weeks and inform him/her on: •  Progress •  Planning •  Actions •  Decisions •  Deviations from your workplan •  Risks•  Tip: Place yourself in the position of your committee/supervisor from time to time. What do they know, what dont they know, what do they want to know? Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 26
  • 27. Managing your project - Evaluating•  Evaluate your progress •  After finishing a phase, take some time to reflect on it •  What went right? •  What went wrong? •  What do the results from this phase mean for the next phase? •  Do I have to make adaptations to my workplan? •  Discuss this with your committee/supervisor •  When making adaptations to your workplan, make it an official decision Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 27
  • 28. Questions and Discussion Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 28
  • 29. Tips•  This is your graduation work and it should reflect your goals. Be aware of people pulling on your work•  Allocate about 10% of the total time for overhead (administration, mailing, meetings, et cetera)•  Only send something out when you think it is good. If possible move your hand-in dates if it is not•  Be open to your committee and supervisor, they are there to help you. Do not conceal things if they are going wrong•  Make notes of every meeting, you will need them Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 29
  • 30. Tips•  Organize your folders at the start of your thesis and systematically name your files•  Systematically archive all incoming and outgoing mail and documents•  Always duplicate your files. You would not be the first with a failing USB-stick•  Plan appointments with your committee about two months in advance•  Be pro-active. There is a lot that needs to be organized and you are the one that needs to do it Masterclass TIL/T&P: Research as a project 30