Thursday, 15 July 2010

Reflecting on Reflecting - PRINCE2 and issue logs

Of course there's nothing new under the sun, and whilst filling out an issues log this morning (for a PRINCE2-supported project I'm currently working on) I was taken to writing this short post on reflective learning.

I don't know how much you are aware of PRINCE2 but if you are going to be working on a UK/Westminster government contract then it is pretty much expected that you will follow the PRINCE2 method. If you're interested then take a look at the UK's Office of Government Commerce (OGC) website, here.

One aspect of the method I'm particularly keen on is the issues log. Anyone involved in the project can add an issue to the log. These are the curve ball problems from colleagues - can often come at you from nowhere and bring a project to a dead stop until they are resolved.

Issue logs are simple affairs, often just a spreadsheet with columns for description, target resolution date, &tc. The column I'm most interested in (from an educational point of view) is the oft-forgotten one at the end: Closure Comments.

Closure Comments is the project manager's opportunity to reflect - hopefully sensibly, coherently, and with a critical eye - on how that issue came to be missed, how it was resolved, and why, if necessary, the target date for resolution was missed.

It's the part of the job of project management I find the most interesting and challenging: having to justify to everyone - including myself - the decisions I make.

But it's a very powerful teaching technique I also apply to teaching math (if you've Googled me then you'll realise I wear lots of hats - hence the name of this blog). For instance, I could ask: "why did you factor a quadratic that way?" or "tell me at each step of adding two fractions together what you are doing and why you are doing it".

Have you tried this technique in your teaching? What have been your experiences?

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