New Media Management - Report

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Critical report submitted as part as the coursework for the module New Media Management (MA Digital Media)
April 2010

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New Media Management - Report

  1. 1. Reportby Maria Gomez Aguirre Student Id: 10003413 CMP001N New Media Management MA Digital Media London Metropolitan University April 2010
  2. 2. Maria Gomez Aguirre | 1ContentsIntroduction.......................................................................................................................................... 2Strategy.................................................................................................................................................2 Team communication ................................................................................................................. 2 Team Management...................................................................................................................... 4 Client Management..................................................................................................................... 5Conclusion............................................................................................................................................ 6Bibliography......................................................................................................................................... 7
  3. 3. Maria Gomez Aguirre | 2IntroductionSuperNewMedia Ltd has been commissioned the development of a web-based application forDigitalFashionForYou. The brief for this project explains that the application would be accessiblefrom the general public via internet and for the costumers in shops via kiosks installed in there.Signed off project plan estimates 4 months for the completion of the project, including planning,development, quality control and testing as well as specific milestones through the project cycle.However, the project is now 2 months into the development and no deliverable has been presented.This delay in the project, along with other issues like lack of team communication and organizationand loose of confidence the client has on us, has make the Board appoints me as new ProjectManager in order to have this project back on track.If things keep going on the way they are now, not just the project but the company can suffer someconsequences that include losing the client (and all projects they have commissioned us). Also, ourreputation as a company can suffer as the client is an important fashion firm and we have already amarketing plan going with the project. In conclusion, the failure of this project could risk futureopportunities and projects in the fashion industry and we need to do all we can to avoid thesituation.The following is the strategy I suggest to identify and find a solution to these issues.StrategyTeam communicationClearly, one of the reasons of the failure of the project so far is the lack of a clear and specificcommunication plan that the team can rely on. I have come out with a plan that follows:First of all, I am aware of the differences between team members, starting with languages, but forthe sake of the project, I have decided to assign English as the official language of this project,which means that all communication and documents related to the project will have to be written inEnglish.All day by day communication between team members will be made by email or by collaborationtool we will be using. In case of an emergency telephone communication will be used.In terms of email communication, we will apply the internal SuperNewMedia email etiquette (thatincludes not using the service to personal matters, using a conversational but courteous and not
  4. 4. Maria Gomez Aguirre | 3offensive tone and not attaching large files). Apart of this, the specific policy for this projectconsists of:  Using the subject line to indicate key information  Choosing the right recipients (only the people interested in the matter)  Limiting the message to one screen of text.  When receiving a message, replying to it in a maximum of two working days.[5]In order to choose a collaboration tool we need take into account the different infrastructure of allteam members. One of the most popular tools used for this is BaseCamp [3]. However I would liketo project.net [4], an open source web-based project portfolio management that offers us all thefeatures we need for the project (calendar, messaging system, time management, version controlleddocument management, task logs and a extended list of reports). The reason for choosingproject.net is based mainly in an open-source philosophy that I want to implement in this project.In parallel of that I will implement a meeting’s strategy that will allow the team to work better andmore organised.First of all, I will meet all the team members and explain them the situation of the crisis as well asthe measures I am planning to implement. To do so, i want to schedule a team-orientation session assoon as possible in our offices in London [1]. The reason why the meeting will be in London isbecause most of the team is actually in there. I will ask the three team members in Paris to comedown here and we will have the specialist in Hong Kong in the meeting via TokBox (an web basedvideo conference tool that allows to have up to 20 people at the same time) [2], as this person isalready engaged with other projects in the company and those will be affected if he came. Takinginto account the different time zones between, the meeting will be held at 8:00 GMT, what means9:00 in Paris and 16:00 in Hong Kong. This rule will apply to all the meetings we will have with themember in Hong Kong.The meeting will be also helpful to make the team members know me, know each other and eachone task and to be sure they understand the new working plan. The Production Assistant and I willbe in charge of preparing the agenda and to make sure everyone receive a copy by email withenough time to prepare themselves for the meeting.Secondly I would like to present how the communications are going to be made during the rest ofthe project cycle.Monthly, we will celebrate a meeting including all the members, to review the general status of theproject Ideally this meeting will follow the same structure that the introductory one (describebefore), having the Paris team coming to London for the day and the Hong Kong based specialist
  5. 5. Maria Gomez Aguirre | 4attending via TokBox. If this is not possible, we are prepared to have a 3 conference.Weekly, I will hold a production meeting with sub teams’ responsible (the Creative Director, theTechnical Director and the Content Specialist). We will discuss how the week has gone and set thegoals for the following one. As the two directors are based in London and the content specialist inParis, the meeting will be via video conference with the directors and me in London and thespecialist in Paris. Production Assistant will prepare the agenda for all the meetings and distribute itin advance to the parts.To finalise with the meeting’s strategy, daily every team will have a catch-up meeting where theywill discuss the task that needs to be done during the day. These meeting will be done in personwhen possible or by phone. In the special case of our member in Hong Kong, he/she will send anemail to the Content Specialist at the end of each working day indicating the progress done andhe/she will receive another daily email with the task for the day from the Content Specialist.Reports of these meetings will be sent to me and the production assistant.I believe all these measures will lead us to a successful project.Team ManagementAs the current situation of the project does not let much space to be able to reach a solution with therest of the team (which would be my normal approach), I have decided to lead the team using amore authoritarian approach, that is, presenting the decision I have made and the strategy to followto reach successfully the end of project to all team member in the first meeting we will have. This,however, will not prevent the team to ask me questions regarding the plan, which I will be morethan happy to answer (Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H. Schmidt define this leadership behaviouras “Manager presents his ideas, invite questions” [7]).Although I understand that this situation is not ideal for the team members and their creativity(because of the stress injected with the crisis), I want to let them know that I am part of the team byusing an “empathetic approach to motivate them”.[8] To implement this I would like to have one toone session with each one of them every two week. These sessions does not need be extend in time,half an hour would be enough. Team members would be able to ask me any doubt they have aboutthe project and explain their personal feeling about it, as well as suggest new ways of improve theirwork environment and give constructive feedback on their job. In a management point of view thesesessions will help to create an atmosphere of trust, which would improve the well being of theproject.Other ways that I am intended to implement of help creativity and to build a better team are:  Team building sessions: to be held every month, coinciding with the monthly project
  6. 6. Maria Gomez Aguirre | 5 meeting explained previously.  Making the whole team visible to everyone, by creating a map with every member in their location and distribute it to all members. [6]  Inspiring them to start conversation non-related to the project, by using the collaboration tool (project.net) and creating a discussion group where all team members can post anything they want, as long as it is not directly related to the project. To keep alive the participation I will post every day a list of news that hopefully will create some conversation between the members.  Reward strategy: every month and if the team has reach the goals for that period, they will be reward with different things like extra days off to be taken after the conclusion of the project, shopping vouchers, etc. Also, at the end of the project, we will celebrate the success of it by having a team building weekend in a location to be confirmed, where we can analyse the project as a whole, celebrate the good decisions and learn from the bad ones.Client ManagementThe client has pointed out that is not happy with our level of expertise in e-commerce (an importantpart of the project) and is definitely losing the trust on us. To solve this I will propose them asolution for the e-commerce module that I am sure they will like.As SuperNewMedia has not enough experience and knowledge in the sector, outsourcing thedevelopment and integration of the e-commerce module will be the best soution. I suggest twodifferent ecommerce solutions providers and I will let the client to choose. Those are: ActinicBusiness Plus [9] and SiteWizard [10]. Both of them are based on the UK, which makescommunication easier and have all the features we need, like easy to install and use, customisedtemplates, wish lists, voucher and coupons support, etc. Also they are two of the most used andleading ecommerce solutions providers in the UK and have more than 10 years experience and alarge list of clients in the fashion industry that includes The Dance Locker(www.thedancelocker.com) and Plain Lazy (www.plainlazy.com).I will have a meeting with the client where I will explain our new strategy and the steps to fullysuccess in the completion of the project, which includes a tailored solution proposal provided forthe two ecommerce providers named previously. Once the client decides which one to go for, I willorganize a three part meeting with both the client and the ecommerce provider company.In order to recover the trust and the good relation with the client, in the meeting I will have withthem, I will present a communication plan which includes: weekly reports in the project status (seeApendix A for a status report template), demos and milestones to be delivered every month and a
  7. 7. Maria Gomez Aguirre | 6specific plan to handle change requests (as the time left is really tight, we really need the client tohave a clear mind of what the way from the beginning and have them realize that any change attowards the end of the project will have a huge impact in terms of meeting the deadline).ConclusionI believe that in moments like this, when you have a project in risk and a close deadline to meet, theproject manager needs to take responsibility and apply all measures in his hands to lead the projecttowards a success. Based on this a more authoritarian leadership approach like the one I intentimplementing is essential.It is fair to say that all the amount of stress going into the team members and the nature of a virtualteam itself can affect negatively in the team and cut the creativity. That is the reason why I want tohelp the team to have a better relationship between each other and to improve the workenvironment, so their environment will be as good as it can and the creativity will flow.When client is losing the trust on you, you need to reassured them that you are doing everything inyou are hand to get over the situation. I will gain the trust back by exposing them the action planand by having a constant communication and report routine. However, client might not like the newplan, in which case I will need to have a better understanding of what their desire is or I will try toconvince them of the benefits of the plan.In conclusion, I believe in this project, its members and in the new direction I want to implement.As a project manager I am ready to lead them forward and by the end of the process, have asuccessful team and a happy client!
  8. 8. Maria Gomez Aguirre | 7Bibliography[1] Deborah L. Duarte & Nancy Tennant Snyder. (2001) Mastering Virtual Teams. 2nd edn. Jossey-Bass.[2] TokBox Inc. TokBox for business. Video chat and video messaging [online] Available from:http://business.tokbox.com/ . Date accessed: 11/04/2010[3] 37Signals LLC. BaseCamp. Project Management, collaboration and task software. [online].Available from: http://basecamphq.com/ . Date accessed: 11/04/2010[4] Project.net. project.net: Open Source Web-based Project Management Software, ProjectPortfolio Management Software [online] Available from: http://www.project.net/ Date accessed:11/04/2010[5] Louellen Essex and Mitchell Kusy. (1999). Fast Forward Leadership. Pearson Education Ltd.[6] Free Management Library. Team Building in Virtual Teams. [online] Available from:http://www.managementhelp.org/grp_skll/virtual/teambild.pdf . Date accessed: 11/04/2010[7] Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H. Schmidt (1973). How to Choose a Leadership Pattern.Harvard Business Review, May-June 1973. Pp162-180. [online] Available from:http://hbr.org/1973/05/how-to-choose-a-leadership-pattern/ar/1 (accessed 11/04/2010) andhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/6893779/How-to-Choose-a-Leadership-Pattern-Tannenbaum-and-Schmidt (accessed 11/04/2010).[8] England, E. & Finney, A. (2002) Managing Multimedia: Project Management for Web andConvergent Media. 2nd edn. Harlow: Addison-Wesley.[9] Actinic Software Ltd. Actinic Software Plus [online]. Available from:http://www.actinic.co.uk/ecommerce-software-for-businesses/products/actinic-business-plus.htmlDate accessed: 11/04/2010[10] SiteWizard. SiteWizard ecommerce solutions. [online]. Available from:http://www.sitewizard.co.uk/ Date accessed: 11/01/2010

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