Villanova Friday, Week 2: Personal Productivity

Last week, I started the Maximizing IS/IT Team Effectiveness course with Villanova University. The online course has a weekly live session, but it’s held in the middle of my night, so I’m not able to attend.

The sessions are recorded, so this week I listened to the transcript of the first chat. It was a pity I hadn’t been able to stay up that late and take part as it sounded interesting. The combination of phone, text chat and slides seemed to work OK, once people had worked out how to get their microphones to work. The group discussed who was a great leader and why. Humility and selflessness came out as good leadership qualities, and President Obama was suggested as a great leader.

Joan Knutson, the course facilitator, said that it’s unusual for people to put forward people who are living as examples of good leaders. I suppose that it is easier to look back historically over an entire career or life and see what a person has contributed, and the responses to that. However, as project leaders, we don’t have the luxury of being able to wait until we’re dead for people to think we’re any good! Hopefully the course will give us the opportunity to develop leadership skills now.

Logging in to the class website, I noticed it automatically defaulted to showing me all the course info for Week 2. Confession: I hadn’t listened to the last two lectures from last week (although I’m ahead on the reading, thanks to a long train journey). So I had to go back and finish those before starting this week’s lessons.

Luckily, a lot of those were about personal effectiveness, like managing time bottlenecks through prioritisation of tasks and being disciplined when responding to emails. Like many project managers, I think I’m pretty good at time management, so I did some other work while Joan was talking at me.

It’s the end of Week 2, which means there is a test. Last time I took the test, I failed. This time, I used the reference books, took my time and scored 90%! Very happy with that.

Reading time: a couple of hours
Lecture time: 1.5 hours (and there are still 4 lectures I haven’t played)
Class chat time: 20 minutes listening to the half the recording, which was 40 minutes long
Doing exercises: Erm, no time!

Disclosure: Villanova have provided me access to the course at no charge in exchange for me writing about it.