Friday, March 9, 2012

Project Management in the Primary School

There is a Portuguese proverb “De pequenino é que se torce o pepino” (the cucumber twists when little...) that fully applies to the idea behind the “Projetto dal futuro”, an initiative of the PMI Northern Italy Chapter (PMI NIC), lead by Walter Ginevri, its current President.

The Project aimed at the transferral of Project Management good practices to the primary school world.

The main product of this Project is a methodological kit that summarizes the experience and its results and may serve as a didactic guide to its global dissemination in primary schools, while being totally coherent with the PMI foundational Standard PMBoK (Project Management Book of knowledge).

Besides the methodological content the Kit illustrates and resumes, the experiences lead in three schools in Milan, both private and public, in 2006 and 2007, presenting some pictures of the project management techniques used.

PMI has been supportive of this initiative since its start.

The original Italian Kit is published on PMIEF (PMI Educational Foundation) site, along with the English, French, Spanish and Portuguese (PT) versions. All this work has been done strictly on a voluntary basis. Moreover, the use of the kit in subsequent experiences in primary schools must also be previously approved by PMI NIC and conducted by PMI Volunteers, namely certified PMP´s, who will perform the role of tutors for the entire dissemination project.

The kit incorporates 77 pages on a notes format, where the upper part has a slide format and the lower part the explanatory notes. Thus it is ready to be used to train the involved school beneficiaries (teachers, students, etc.).

Technically the kit presents some basic concepts of project management (project definition, life cycle, etc.) and identifies the main project phases and tools to use, in a very simplified language.

The proposed tools are mainly graphic, inspired in visual programming in order to facilitate learning and collaborative use: brainstorming and mental map (creation phase), activity tree (WBS) and project calendar (planning phase), project traffic lights - activity status (execution and control phase) and the project tale for the closing phase.

The advantages of using this kit are diverse and have been identified in the experiences conducted in the Milan primary schools. The teachers have recognized it as a tool to “teach how to learn”, facilitating activity planning and control, organization of learning through project management techniques and valuing teamwork and cooperative learning. The students also identified as advantages teamwork learning, auto organization, motivation to participate and creativity and responsibility stimulus.

After the kit translation on a voluntary basis, the PMI Portugal chapter is now committed to replicate the experience in Portugal and is in the midst of the process of selecting an adequate candidate for this purpose.

Isabelina Jorge, PMP
PMI and PMI Portugal Chapter associate and volunteer

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I'm very proud to present you this post by the very first Portuguese guest blogger here on Ah-Ha-Moments, Isabelina Jorge. Isabelina is a Project Management consultant who owns Uidiu, a Portuguese Project Management company, and is assisting PMI and the PMI Portugal Chapter as a volunteer.
She also trained many Portuguese Project Managers, including some Project Management Professionals.

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