Wednesday, 6 July 2016

EDUC6145 Project Post-mortem

PROJECT:  LMS Analytics

Within my organization, our learning management system generates good information for instructors within each course we teach.    It tells us about student logins, time spent viewing content, number of discussion postings, quiz attempts, grades, and so on.  This information is valuable to instructors and enables us to identify and help our at risk students.  We can also learn what aspects of our courses have higher student engagement and which content is rarely accessed or viewed.

Management was interested in this information aggregated across courses, programs and departments. They wanted to know which courses/instructors were "making good use" of the learning management system.   The goal of the project was to determine how to access and report this information.

It was frustrating because the project requester could not define what "making good use" meant.  Yes we could determine that Instructor A had 4 discussion boards in their course and Instructor B used 7 quizzes in their course but this information was quantitative.

The project was a non-starter (failure) because the business need was ill-defined plus there were many constraints and too many assumptions.  We concluded that the desired outcome to the business need as currently stated was not technically feasible.  

In the future, enlisting a project champion could help figure out why the project should or must be done.  We would need to identify drivers that would benefit from the project and determine their real expectations and needs. (Portny, 2013).


Portny, S. E. (2013) Project management for dummies, 4th edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  1. Vida-
    It sounds like that project wasn’t thought through carefully. A little extra planning and maybe they could have come up with defined objectives. Maybe looking at discussion posts across courses and departments to see how much participation occurs, or quizzes. Comparing discussions to quizzes is like comparing apples and oranges. They are completely different, and like you said quantitative measurements. I think a team could be created to lead a project for your learning management system and come up with a better way to assess the courses.

  2. Vida,
    In our resource, The Project Management Minimalist (Greer, 2010), he proposes phased questions which seek to answer "post mortem" review questions of specific areas of the project. In your example above, it sounds like the requester and the individuals involved in the project did not correctly identify the project deliverables and correctly document the needs and use cases of these deliverables. If you were to be the champion of this initiative, should it get resurrected, how would you handle this phase of the project and what would you do to ensure the improvement of the analysis phase?

    Best, Dennis

    Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.