There are enormous examples in different literature about humankind quoted as involved in projects, some date back to few days, some others a few months, few hundred years, still some date back to thousands of years. Project is not limited to only construction, erection of plants involving big machineries; anything that is governed by the following may be termed as project:
· Having a single, definite goal and objective
· It is unique, i.e. doing something different than was done earlier
· Temporary in nature
· Has a start and end date
· It involves unfamiliarity and risk
Based on the above characteristics, the following activities which do not make use of huge machines/and/or plants could also be called as a project.
· Remodeling of home
· Conduct of assembly election
There is one common thing in all the above, they are unique activity and have a definite start and end date. Moreover, one has to first make up his mind for such activity, that is, one has to conceive an idea about it which is the first phase of any project. The other phases of the project will then follow. So is about every project.
A case study was undertaken in which we thought of conceiving the project idea a little different way than is described in the text. The idea of the case study was to take a non-traditional approach, so a number of experts and persons at other level were involved in the project idea thinking process, i.e. to collectively think of a common task that could be undertaken later by the organization. The complete idea conception was to use many of the following activities.
i. Sharing Idea with Others
ii. Connecting with others
iii. Exploring viewpoints
iv. Democratic and open house Approach
v. Administrative approach
The purpose of sharing my idea was to make others aware of my viewpoint and also to explore their viewpoint on this topic. Of the above six different tasks only four were used in this case study, these were i.e. sharing idea with Others, connecting with others, exploring viewpoints and democratic and open house approach. The administrative and reasoning approach was dropped from the case study.
A challenge was thrown open to the experts; experts of different domain were invited at a common platform to think about a project idea which could have some applications from their area of specialization. Everyone was asked to work out and think towards what the project could be, and share their idea. The purpose of this exercise was:
i. To Conceive a group (common) project idea
ii. To define a correct, clear and precise word statement of the problem
iii. Define project objective based on the response.
The response of the interaction with the experts was collected; all the members as an individual are the experts in their own field, but when asked to think collectively on a common theme showed a unusual but somewhat expected response. The response is shown in the figure-2.
Figure 2: Response from participants
The figure shows that 40% of the participants were positive and showed interest in collective and collaborative project but could not submit their idea, 20 % of the participants who are working at lower level were happy about their involvement is being asked. The rest 40% of the participants either did not show any interest for one or the other reasons or required some more time and interactions to actually know what is expected of them.
The experiment was carried out on a small group of experts, so, the outcome cannot be generalized for every group or every situation. However, it was learnt from the above activity that, involving everyone in the project idea conception is not a good idea. The project conception may be done at higher level in the project hierarchy. Experts can be involved in other phases of the project such as planning, control phase, and execution phase.
Dr. Ravinder Nath Rajotiya
Dr. Ravinder Nath Rajotiya