Final Paper Likwa Moyo Capella University TS5335 – Project Leadership and Management Instructor: Dr. Miriam Masullo Date: March 15, 2013 Abstract Zambia, like many third world countries, is facing scarcity of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and leadership in this technology. While advances in the ICT can support self-directed interactive learning, organizations that recognize the macro challenges of responding to the ever-changing demands of technology, are turning to leadership concepts that adapt to societies’ socioeconomic demands.
This project examines the application of leadership to the eLearning model within the education settings in a third world nation. eLearning (eL) is the use of ICT e. g. Internet, computer, tablets (iPads, etc. ), mobile phone, Learning Management System (LMS), TV, radios and others to enhance teaching and learning activities. Table of Contents Introduction to the Mo-Mart Digital Learning Project Plan Section 1 – Project Selection • 1. 1 Project description • 1. 2 Background • 1. 3 Project team members, titles, ; their roles 1. 4The Stakeholders • 1. 5 SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Oriented—project timeline • 1. 6 Anticipated challenges Section 2 – Organizational Leadership Assessment • 2. 1 Theory of Leadership vs Management I (Identify and compare the key characteristics and practices). • 2. 2 Studies Directly Related to Leadership Aspects for Achieving Success for the Project (Analyze Leadership in an eLearning environment: Is investment in good leaders a cost-effective way to improve learning? . • 2. 3 . The Leadership Assessment Instrument (Conduct and provide chosen metric to assess leadership potential of the project team members). • 2. 4. Theory of Leadership vs Management II (Evaluate and compare the effectiveness of leadership and management practices. Analyze best practices in leadership effectiveness by selecting appropriate instruments. Use the selected instruments to assess the success of the practices. Section 3 – Best Practices and Measuring Success 3. 1 Determine Leadership best practices (Identify the types of “best practices” in leadership over time and how they apply to modern business today). 1. Reflection on project experiences related to the developmental stages of teams (Developing an innovation strategy and policy 2. Best practices in evaluating the success of your team in completing each stage (Encouraging initiative and a willingness to take responsibility) 3.
The effects of role conflict and role ambiguity in each developmental stage (Applying best practices to develop high potential talent) 4. “Groupthink” and consensus building (Defining the elements of best practices and how they will address the challenges faced by the eLearning project) 5. Identifying which stage of team formation groupthink is most prevalent (How to use best practices within identified leadership potential) Section 4 – References Section 1 – Project Selection 1. 1 Project description
In 2008 the Ministry of Education in Zambia was looking to create an education environment that better matched the developed nations’ use of multiple channels of communication to present information to children. Empirical evidence suggests that computer-oriented imagery can be effective in learning a wide range of topics such as mathematics, language skills, history, and sciences (Bean, 1990; Parker, Brownston ; Ruiz, 1993; Svantesson, 1998; Macaulay, 2002). The Ministry of Education is aware of emerging technologies and their associated methodologies are impacting all stages of education and training at an exponential rate.
The Mo-Mart Digital Learning project, an interactive-based learning initiative is offering the Ministry of Education new opportunities to reach and motivate hard-to-engage learner groups and support differentiated and personalized learning. In particular, the project is interested in children’s authoring experience with digital media and is developed to facilitate the application of a pedagogy approach which develops cognitive and interpersonal capabilities rather than one which concentrates merely on instructing with the aim of enabling learners to acquire knowledge, understanding algorithms. . 2 Background In the 1950 period, South Korea and Zambia were roughly at the same economic level. Sixty years later, South Korea is one of the world’s most economically advanced nations today while Zambia is still struggling economically. The difference is due almost entirely to a half century of investments in education, development experts say (International Herald Tribune, 2003. ) Like many developing countries, high rates of unemployment in Zambia, especially after completion of middle and high school, point to poor external efficiency (Achola, 1990).
Other factors contributing to problems with the successful implementation of educational policies have been a poor economy, inadequate supply of teachers from kindergarten level, problems with curriculum relevance, and an entrenched debate about the effectiveness of what is the best leadership style in the educational arena. There is a demonstrable connection between education and development,” said Steve Packer of the “Education for all Global Monitoring Report,” which tracks governments progress for the UN education, cultural and scientific progress, but it requires sustained leadership to address the needs of tudents from diverse backgrounds. With an eye for reform, the Mo-Mart Digital Learning project understands that education is an important aspect of human life. However how that education is received into a child’s way of life is depended upon the way it gets passed on. As the need to understand which style of leadership will work best, notes Rajeeve (2011), that there is no single best way to lead and inspire in the field of education. Different projects involving educational institutions view leadership strategies differently, as certain situations, features and actions seem far more favorable than others at different levels and times. . 3 Project team members, titles, and their roles The Project Team structure includes: • Project Sponsors and Stakeholders • Project Manager – Likwa Moyo • Project Analyst – Kilby Lungu • Business Case Writer – Hope Kasese Project Sponsor and Stakeholders – The Ministry of Education (MOE) is responsible for providing elementary, middle, and high school education, teacher training and continuing education. It is also responsible at a policy level for university education.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, through the Department of Technical Education and Vocational training (DTEVT), offers training at technologist, technician, and craft levels in technically oriented programs. Project Manager – o Responsible for developing the definition of the project, ensures on time delivery, to budget, and within agreed specifications. o Ensures the project is effectively resourced and manages relationships with a wide range of groups (including all project contributors). Manages the work of consultants and allocates and utilizes resources in an efficient. Project Analyst – o Works closely with clients and analyzes the business process, policies, business requirements, and customer requirements; o Provides recommendations for business improvements. o Develops consistent standards and procedures, including templates and guidance in project initiation, risk analysis, information/configuration analysis, methods and tools, and quality assurance Business Case Writer – Prepares the business case for the team, collecting sections from team members, making sure sections flow between one another appropriately and follows writing and APA guidelines. 1. 4 The Stakeholders Mo-Mart Digital Learning has already identified the major stakeholder in this project: Ministry of Education. It is critical to document all relevant information with regard to their interests, involvement, and impact on project success. 1) Stakeholder identification is necessary in order to manage stakeholder expectations and to manage their influence on the project.
For example, the Ministry’s expectations can influence various aspects of the project, such as definition, changes, execution, deliverables, and ultimately the success. 2) Information about all the stakeholders for this project is in a document called the stakeholder register. This information includes or will include the following items: o Identification – For example, name, location, organizational position, project role (if any), and contact information. Assessment – Requirements and expectations coming from each stakeholder, and the part or phase of the project that is of most interest to this stakeholder. o Classification – All the stakeholders are classified as external to Mo-Mart Digital Learning, with main stakeholder being the Ministry of Education. 1. 5 Develop a SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Oriented—project timeline within the ten week course timeframe Table 1 – SMART timeline [pic]
The digital learning project will review the current position of eLearning in Zambian schools (Kindergarten – 4th grade) and present opportunities for all children, centered on eLearning content, the pedagogy of simulations-based learning, and the use of technology in teaching. At least five elementary school children will participate in the assessment and development session to be provided. The timeframe for this project is 10 weeks, with the initial meeting having occurred which identified the areas of possible growth, budget, timeline, and goal of the project. 1. Anticipated challenges. Although most children demonstrate a positive attitude towards eLearning, there is no known feasibility study or research that has been conducted in Zambia to provide hard data defining the scope of the eLearning solution for this project. Zambia is a democratic developing country in Southern Africa. Zambia is twice the size of the United Kingdom. According to UNICEF the total population in 2008 was estimated at 14 million, and of that number per one hundred populations, only six were Internet users. 40% live below the poverty line and 42% are illiterate.
Elementary, middle, and high school education is mandatory and provided tuition free. However, academic supplies are scarce, especially in rural areas. The initial program focuses on a limited, manageable number of primary schools in the impoverished areas of the capital city, Lusaka, and then spread out to rural areas. The lack of accessibility to reading books and modern infrastructures like computers and Internet is apparent. Why it is important to address the problem – The world is changing dramatically both in technological infrastructures and societies’ socioeconomic demands, observes Rajasingham (2009).
Strong leadership as noted by Fred Luthans (2005) need to be part of what’s going on, not apart from what’s going on. Leadership will be important as it has the ability to influence the eLearning team toward the achievement of goals. As eLearning slowly starts making its way into third world countries’ classrooms, Mo-Mart Digital Learning needs leaders to challenge the status quo, to create visions of the future, and to inspire organizational members to be all psyched up to achieve the vision.
Contributions to knowledge and practice – The insight into the educational system of Zambia, and the different research approaches that form part of the learning arena of the Zambia child provides an opportunity for students like me to consider the qualitative research alternative of traditional education and the value of developing an eLearning platform, while also making a contribution to knowledge, understanding and leadership traits within a cultural context. This paper does not seek to critique the criteria for what constitutes good learning initiative crafted by the Curriculum
Development Center (CDC) of Zambia or to argue against positivist research in the current educational arena per se. The learners of today are on the lookout for content that would suit them in terms of their taste, understanding level, learning curve, own preferences and their personal traits (Dekson D. E. et. al. , 2010). Mo-Mart Digital Learning’s position is that the learning process would be more efficient if we could satisfy the above needs of the learners through strong leadership, teamwork, negotiation, and problem solving.
Section 2 – Organizational Leadership Assessment 2. 1 Theory of Leadership vs. Management I (Identify and compare the key characteristics and practices). In a theoretical sense, leadership and management work hand in hand. But as Jason Hiner (2009) notes, sometimes the demand is for more vision and inspiration from leader, while other times it’s for more measurement and control from managers. In an environment where the task at hand is more routine, it tends to need management, e. g. production support lifecycle phases.
An environment where the task at hand requires more creativity or innovative challenges, it tends towards a leadership style more than management, e. g. knowledge economy environment. However, for an efficient production system, the traditional hierarchical management has still to be cognizant of the organization’s vision in order to align its efforts to its mission. When you lead, you are shaping the goal and in that visioning you are providing others the clarity necessary for all, including managers, to understand the end game.
The manager takes that goal works with the team and lays out the tasks to achieve that end game (mission). While managers optimize to reach more efficiency and more profit, leadership is more of a personality trait than task that can be learned. Most importantly, it’s really about reaching a balance between ethical and sustainable profit, without exploitation of people, and showing respect to the societies that allow the organization to exist. Unfortunately most CEOs are too busy feeding the shareholder monkey on their shoulder to have a vision for the future of all. . 2 Studies Directly Related to Leadership Aspects for Achieving Success for the Project (Analyze Leadership in an eLearning environment: Is investment in good leaders a cost-effective way to improve learning? ). Even for Mo-Mart Digital Learning project that will use part-time project team members, it must eventually face the fact that in order to achieve and maintain high quality, it is important to have continuity of leadership. It is planned that in order for continuity to be achieved, a core governing board of stakeholders will meet more than once a year.
Those in management leadership roles must make contact at least once a month, in the form of updates, e-mails, and action items. The project manager prides himself in high quality instruction, academic counseling and guidance. However, he also realizes the challenges of introducing eLearning in a third world country but endeavors to adapt with the cultural times. By creating the conditions that allow significant innovation to emerge, the Mo-Mart Digital Learning, or, more pointedly, the leadership acknowledges how the Zambian government has “dramatically under-invested in principal leadership in schools” (Wallace Foundation, 2009).
Through its leadership investment, the learning center aims to transform itself into a leading-edge eLearning institution that is recognized the nationally for its innovation, quality, and capacity for educating the most impoverished children. 2. 3 The Leadership Assessment Instrument (Conduct and provide chosen metric to assess leadership potential of the project team members). The Leadership Assessment Instrument (LAI, developed by Linkage, Inc. in partnership with Professor Warren Bennis, was created to assess the personal characteristics essential to leadership.
The LAI focuses on specific, detailed behaviors that are indicatory of the skills and competencies leaders need to be successful in today’s competitive business environment. [pic] Courtesy of The Leadership Assessment Instrument (http://www. briefacademy. com/wedo_assess_linkage. php) [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] Copyright 1997-2010 Assessment Plus, Inc. 2. 4. Theory of Leadership vs. Management II (Evaluate and compare the effectiveness of leadership and management practices.
Analyze best practices in leadership effectiveness by selecting appropriate instruments. Use the selected instruments to assess the success of the practices. Although effective leadership and management is an art, it is one that can be learned if you follow some basic principles, writes Josie Chun (2012). And since technology projects are generally a skills-driven field, the eLearning project seeks to use professionals with proven experience in leadership and/or management to provide demonstrated competency, or accommodate changes in an internal technical landscape.
Leadership and management are distinct skillsets that must be learned and perfected, and just as a great talent for golf won’t make you a baseball sensation, the best developer might not be an appropriate leader (Gray, 2012). Different management styles will suit different contexts depending on company culture, the size of the team or organization, the nature of the work or industry and the particular personalities involved.
Knowing and respecting the fiercely cultural nature of heads of community schools, selecting appropriate instruments of leadership effectiveness will be derived from negotiating and resolving issues as they arise across areas of the project and where they impact on other activities. eLearning project stakeholders recognize the value of individual community schools developing their own systems through a collaborative process involving a variety of government’s education board and donor agencies.
While this project has provided sample frameworks for leadership evaluation standards, no one approach or system is prescribed or suggested. Building upon research and the work of other non-governmental organizations and education association affiliates, the eLearning project manager will use the leadership skill templates as a framework for project manager and team with the ultimate goal of improving student growth and learning. Student growth and learning should be at the center of any leadership’s evaluation, as well as being the center—and driving force—of the project.
Section 3 – Best Practices and Measuring Success 3. 1 Determine Leadership best practices (Identify the types of “best practices” in leadership over time and how they apply to modern business today). 3. 1. 1 Reflection on project experiences related to the developmental stages of teams (Developing an innovation strategy and policy) – Have you ever been on a project team where team members all got along, they all had the right skills, and everyone worked hard and pulled together to get the project done? Not me but that does not mean those types of teams do not exist.
Experts still argue that most high-performing teams have some of the characteristics describes above. It is also hard for a project manager to guide a team toward high-performance if he or she was never part of a high-performing team. My project experiences have ranged from team’s struggle towards cohesion, project managers allowing team members to rise to their maximum potentials and expectations, team members being pushed and not led, carrot stick model where an incentive is there for the group to perform better than average.
From forming through to performing, team members know there is something to be gained for working hard. But in my experience, if you have a few non-performers on the team, they should be relocated or dismissed. It is unfortunate but as former Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001 Jack Welch notes, the project manager would be making himself or herself miserable and them too, dragging them forward on something they are not good at. Forming is the “feel good” stage where each person learns about the other team members, observes Andrew Makar (2011).
He goes on to say the goal in this phase is to develop a good rapport with each of the team members. Storming, the second stage in the developmental model brings out into the spotlight member’s boundary definitions, role setting or confusion, etc. As a project manager, it is critical to use the storming stage effectively so that other team members will see him or her as predictable, reliable and responsible. When the two key lessons (forming and storming) are adapted it progresses to the norming stage.
A method for communicating, discussing, and achieving team norms is to host a kick-off meeting with the immediate team and share how status reports will be collected, the cadence of key meetings, and how teams should work together. By communicating expectations, the team can agree on working practices (Makar, 2011). As for performing stage, you don’t have to wait for a lessons learned session at the end of the project to identify and discuss the best practices. This stage should be characterized by high levels of goal orientation, teams knowing what, why, and how of the tasks they are executing. 3. 1. Best practices in evaluating the success of your team in completing each stage (Encouraging initiative and a willingness to take responsibility) – For the current eLearning project, I strongly believe the success of the team that I am working with in completing each stage will be correlated to the project’s life cycle. If there will be some divergence from the majority of the project life cycle, it is important to discuss the minority viewpoint. Working to understanding the reasons for these differences of perspective will lead to rich discussions, focusing on specific questions associates with each stage.
Working on Teams Survey (1998) will be used to reflect as a team about the teams’ development. (See attached MS Word document — Survey: What Stage is Your Team in? ) 3. 1. 3 The effects of role conflict and role ambiguity in each developmental stage (Applying best practices to develop high potential talent) – Team formation takes time, and usually follows some easily recognizable stages, as the team journeys from being a group of strangers to becoming a united team with a common goal (www. indtools. com). While being part of a high-performing team can be fun, it can take patience and professionalism to get to the final stage. Each stage of team development presents its own special challenges, therefore when conflict arises; it is important that the issue is acknowledged and seek a resolution to even the most difficulty disagreement.
Addressing role conflict on the eLearning project will be difficulty because most of the roles provided to some occupants currently are laden with incompatible expectations because of donor-sanctioned emergent roles that are developed on the fly since they hold the purse-strings of the project. According to experts, role ambiguity is characterized by confusion about how performance is evaluated, how good performance can be achieved, or what the limits of one’s authority and responsibilities are (Saks, 2010).
As project manager of the eLearning project, it will be critical to build trust so that roles will give way to the communication of true interests of the team as a whole. 3. 1. 4 “Groupthink” and consensus building(Defining the elements of best practices and how they will address the challenges faced by the eLearning project) – An interesting aspect of groupthink in a team setting is getting the team to use the same language and work toward the same set of goals. Each team member’s ideas about the project are put together into one set of thoughts that the team can then share.
For example, bringing two virtual teams together can be difficulty but Wardell, president and founder of the Haddon Group; an IT consultancy based in Oakland, CA suggests the following steps to build groupthink: 1) Ask manager of each team to submit their main goals for the project and combine them to create one set of objectives. 2) Ask individual team members what those objectives mean to them and how they think the team should achieve them, with the goal of encouraging them to take ownership in the project and to be more committed. ) Last but not least, she would publish the project objectives on every document and start out every status, strategy, planning, or presentation meeting with, “If we are trying to achieve objective xyz, then…. ” On consensus building among a team setting, laws in Zambia do not guarantee stakeholders much of a voice prior to final decisions being made about technology projects. Through consensus Mo-Mart Digital Learning is hoping to engage the governing bodies in a timely manner to allow consensus building between stakeholders and the laws of the governing bodies so as to pave way for collaborative problem-solving thereby reducing risk.
As a best practice, consensus builds support since the stakeholders who have to implement decisions are more likely to be on board enthusiastically if they have a hand in making the decision. 3. 1. 5 Identifying which stage of team formation groupthink is most prevalent (how to use best practices within identified leadership potential) – As per Tuckman (1965), the stage of team development where group think is most likely to occur is in the Norming stage.
When I first embarked on the eLearning project in Zambia, I had to patiently go through the bureaucratic red tape of government just to talk to the right people – Director of Distance Educate (DODE), the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ), the Curriculum Development Center (CDC), the Technical, Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA). The initial processing was a life-changing event. Arrival into this whole new atmosphere was difficult. The objective of the first couple of weeks (which turned into months) was the “forming” of a team.
Once the preliminary stage of introductions began, most of the people became interested, and wanted to be part of the team; thus providing the beginning of a healthy team organization. By understanding each team member’s traits and motivational goal we have been able to establish our Leadership Committee, responsibilities, and overall goal through “Storming. ” Within both of these early stages, promoting the eLearning’s viewpoint remained a distant goal because each member remained independent from the team.
As everyday responsibilities became known by each member, it led to the planning and organization of our overall team goal, which was to learn, work, and make the Mo-Mart Digital Learning project a success, we have begun to build a sense of oneness. Within this stage of “Norming” our team has been working closer together, more like in groupthink mode. We have since learned about each other’s personal lives, educational strengths, skillset, etc. Relying on each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we getting to the point where it is ok to agree to disagree at times.