Smart Cities Challenge Final Proposal

Chapter 3 – Project management

March 5, 2019

 

Chapter 3 – Project management
 
Winners will likely have more than one project associated with their final proposal for each outcome, and multiple activities for each project. Many of these projects will have a technology component though some will not. This chapter serves as a step-by-step outline of your project management approach, and provides context for the other chapters that follow on technology, governance, engagement, data and privacy, and finances.
 

Provide a project management plan for the implementation phase, including:

  • Project scope, scheduling, sequencing, and dependencies
  • Resource assessment, including human, materiel, and financial (e.g. workforce capacity, infrastructure readiness, and related initiatives already underway) that are sufficient and appropriate to the achievement of outcomes
  • Strategies for:
    • Risk identification and appropriate mitigation
    • Procurement, including alignment with technology and partnership requirements
    • Stakeholders, including analysis of impact and influence
    • Communications, including strategies that promote community involvement and transparency and tailor to diverse stakeholders and projects
  • Monitoring, controlling, and reporting strategies and checkpoints for contingencies and course corrections, if necessary
  • Approach to sustaining projects beyond the lifecycle of the Challenge, if appropriate
  • Other details, as required

 

Evaluation criteria

  • Plan is detailed, complete, feasible, and well-suited to achievement of outcomes
  • Plan supports the implementation of projects
  • Risk strategy is thorough and adequately addresses key risks

 

Chapter 3 – Project management

 

Introduction

A Project Management Plan (PMP) is used to manage the implementation of a project through the formal documentation of any actions necessary to define, prepare, integrate and coordinate the various project activities. The PMP defines how the project will be executed, monitored, controlled, and closed. Project Management is an iterative process and as such, the PMP acts as a living document, which is progressively elaborated upon throughout the course of a project. As part of the finalist stage, our project team has developed a Project Management Plan (PMP) for the implementation phase of the project that includes the following:

  1. Project scope, scheduling, sequencing, and dependencies
  2. Resource assessment, including human, material, and financial (e.g. workforce capacity, infrastructure readiness, and related initiatives already underway) that are sufficient and appropriate to the achievement of outcomes
  3. Strategies for: Risk identification and appropriate mitigation
    1. Procurement, including alignment with technology and partnership requirements
    2. Stakeholders, including analysis of impact and influence
    3. Communications, including strategies that promote community involvement and transparency and tailor to diverse stakeholders and projects
  4. Monitoring, controlling, and reporting strategies and checkpoints for contingencies and course corrections, if necessary
  5. Approach to sustaining projects beyond the lifecycle of the Challenge.

 
The following chapter summarizes our team’s Project Management Plan, with reference to the appropriate chapter of the proposal that will provide supplementary information. When proceeding with the project, the information contained within this proposal will be restructured to serve as the various project management materials needed to guide the project team through the implementation of the project and beyond.
 

Project Scope, Scheduling, Sequencing and Dependencies

The scope of our project includes the development of 2,000 hours of Nishnaabe-language immersion videos, the content of which will be our core aadsookaanan (our sacred stories, our philosophical foundations, the building blocks of our Nishnaabe worldview). It is intended that this will create understanders of our Nishnaabe language who can then go on to successfully complete an additional 1,000 hours of STEM educational video, the audio of which is delivered in our Nishnaabe language. It is worth reiterating that the model being developed can be used for any other language or culture, the idea is to blend STEM education with tradition, to create leaders of tomorrow with a strong connection to their traditions and cultures. For example, the WaaWaa videos can be overdubbed in any language and be just as useful. It is our belief that this is truly a Canadian approach to developing Smart Cities.
 

This project will move Nishnaabe people from being mainly passive consumers of technology to being active, effective STEM-educated administrators, managers, and users of data who are able to achieve meaningful outcomes for themselves, their community, and other communities. Upon completing high school, our youth will have received more than 2,000 hours of mobile-enabled, online Nishnaabe-language immersion instruction in all of our core aadsookaanan (our sacred stories, our philosophical foundations, the building blocks of our Nishnaabe worldview).
 

Additionally, our youth will be nearly-completely able to comprehend spoken Nishnaabemwin, will have attained a basic proficiency in coding and robotics, and will possess a strong foundation in mathematics and science. All STEM subject videos and courses will be available under a creative commons license, in both Nishnaabemwin and in English. All of this education will occur in a blended-learning environment with a strong real-world participation component built into the program. The eLearning functionality of our community’s open source, mobile-enabled, Learning Management System (LMS), Open edX, facilitates the learning of the STEM subjects. And, the eAcquisition functionality of Open edX facilitates the acquisition of our Nishnaabe language. The entire educational experience is tied together with the meetup forum functionality of Open edX serving as a bridge between the digital, online world and the material, real world. Our youth are strongly encouraged and empowered to participate not only in online communities, but in the traditional Nishnaabe activities going on in the real-world community thereby bridging the gap between the online and real world. Based on this scope of work, the following project management plan has been developed to guide the project team through the implementation phase and beyond. This planning template can also be utilized by other communities when adopting our onboarding approach to a smart city.
 

It should be noted that this PMP is based on our approach to develop a smart city through the integrated delivery of our culture, language and STEM education; however, other communities that choose to replicate this approach will be able to tailor their project to reflect their culture and language. The products and outcomes of our project, including templates, videos, and curriculum will be made readily available in an open source and transparent format, to be accessed by any community wishing to replicate our approach to developing a smart city.
 

Project Objectives:

As previously mentioned, our project seeks to achieve the four (4) objectives or outcomes, listed in our Challenge Statement. These objectives are summarized below but are presented in more detail in Chapter One (1), Vision.
 
Objectives and Measurable Outcomes:

 

Scheduling, Sequencing and Dependencies:

To ensure smooth project delivery, project management tools must be implemented. These tools allow the Project Team to understand each task at hand and the relationship, or interdependencies, that they share in reaching project completion. Dependencies show relationships between successive tasks and outline what tasks must be completed prior to beginning another. Using dependencies enables the Project Team to establish a critical path for the project; highlighting key events that must be met to drive the project to completion. This critical path will be depicted visually in the form of a Gantt chart.
 

Often dependencies result from working with different internal and external stakeholders and, as a result, it is important to establish dependencies before project commencement. As dependencies increase the risk associated with project roll-out, a number of tools and techniques can be initiated to mitigate the effects that they may have.
 

As a starting point, internal and external dependencies have been considered to determine associated levels of risk. Please refer to subsequent sections and chapters for descriptions of associated risks. Likewise, the project implementation plans for all project components, presented in Appendix A & B, also show dependencies between activities. The Project Team have been, and will continue to be, assigned to specific tasks and respective dependencies. As the project moves forward, it is likely that further dependencies and subtasks will take form. To ensure the timeline is not affected by these changes, Bi-Monthly Project Team meetings will take place to proactively coordinate around these obstacles and re-establish the critical path. These meetings will be identified in the project schedule.
 

Project Components:

There are four main parts of this project, all to be hosted on the Open edX learning management system:

  1. eLearning, K-12 curriculum augmentations
  2. Meetup forum real-world connections
  3. eAcquisition, 2,000 hours of immersion video
  4. Bilingual STEM video – 1,000 hours of STEM course video

 

1. eLearning, K-12 curriculum augmentations

With respect to the augmentations to the existing curriculum, the project team has developed a detailed implementation plan to complete the following:

  1. Implement code.org curriculum in grades K-5
  2. Implement python curriculum in grade 6
  3. Implement Robotics curriculum in grades 7 and 8
  4. Implement CompTIA A+ curriculum in grades 9-12

     
    The project team will rely on existing and proven curriculum for the implementation of the K-12 augmentations. Teachers will be required to incorporate these curriculum augmentations as part of their existing lesson planning process. All curriculum will be implemented via blended learning and growth mindset approaches.
     

    In terms of the implementation schedule, the selected curriculum of code.org (for example), was selected as it provided “ramp up capabilities” meaning that kids being introduced to this curriculum for the first time in grade 5 will be able to complete “ramp up lessons” given that they did not have exposure to the K-4 curriculum. Similar, the 5-year implementation schedule for all other grades and curriculums will follow as similar approach, where necessary.
     

    Please refer to Appendix B for additional information regarding our project implementation process, timelines and outputs for eLearning, K-12 curriculum augmentations project components.
     

    2. Meetup forum real-world connections

    The Meetup forum functionality of the Open edX platform will enable students and community members to not only connect with the digital community, but also the real-world community, as well as the land and traditional activities. This mobile-enabled meetup forum functionality, provided by Open edX, will serve as the central ‘online gathering’ place which will facilitate the bridging and interfacing of the digital world with the material, real world. All community members will have access to each other via this online gathering place. This functionality is provided directly within Open edX and will provide our youth the opportunity to express their desire to attend a particular traditional Nishnaabe activity. Likewise, community members who are planning an activity will be able to express their intentions in the meetup forum functionality of Open edX, thereby providing additional options for our youth to take part in while remaining in the embrace of the real-world community network. As this is a function of the Open edX Platform, implementation will be relatively simple, requiring the development and provision of instructions to participants and encouraging participation, as part of our overall implementation strategy.
     

    3. eAcquisition and 4. Bilingual STEM course video

    With respect to the eAcquisition immersion video and STEM course videos, the project team has developed a detailed Implementation Plan to complete the following:

    • Reconstruct and write our core aadsookaanan
    • Produce Waawaa video (2,000 hrs)
    • Overdub Waawaa video and/or produce Nishnaabe-language immersion video (live-action or 2D-animated)
    • Produce bilingual (Nishnaabe-language and English-language) STEM video (1,000 hours)

     
    Please refer to Appendix A for additional information regarding our project implementation process, timelines and outputs for the eAcquisition and Bilingual STEM Course Video project components.
     

    To summarize, the approach taken in terms of the production of the Waawaa video and Nishnaabe-language immersion video and bilingual STEM videos has been to intentionally ramp up production over the course of the 5-year project implementation. The reason for this is to allow for review and critique of the first round of videos to allow the project team to adjust course and make any improvements, as deemed necessary. Likewise, it is anticipated that the production of Waawaa videos will become more effective over the course of the project implementation plan, and therefore our team will be able to increase output over the duration of the project.
     

    Based on our pilot studies we have identified that the level of effort to produce one hour of Waawaa video (not including overdubbing) can vary significantly. We have developed our scheduling and implementation plan with sufficient buffer and a ramp up timelines to mitigate this scheduling risks.
     

    Implementation Plans – Strategy

    These implementation plans have been developed through reliance on the Project Sponsor and Subject Matter Experts. Project Participants shall follow the implementation plan and schedule. The efficacy of the implementation strategy will be reviewed at each Bi-annual Advisory Team meeting. Should significant issues be encountered during implementation, the project participants shall notify the project manager who can call an ad-hoc advisory team meeting to review the plan and make any necessary course corrections.
     

    Gantt Chart

    A detailed Gantt Chart outlining each stage of the project, and all project participants and stakeholders, will be revisited and updated throughout the project lifecycle to ensure smooth transitions between project phases. A Gantt Chart is a PM tool that can be used to summarize critical stages of the project, dependencies and anticipated duration of tasks, as well as providing an effective resource for tracking progress throughout the project lifecycle. Gantt Charts show the progression and duration of tasks while also showing dependencies of different events within the project. This schedule will be reviewed with the Project Team before project commencement and regularly reviewed and revised as necessary to avoid schedule slippage, reduce redundancy in effort, and expedite successful project delivery.
     

    Resource Assessment

    As part of the Project Management Plan, it is necessary to assess the availability and capacity of resources to ensure they are sufficient to achieve outcomes of the project. Biigtigong Nishnaabeg has been developing our internal resources over several years, which has enabled us to be in a position where we can achieve the goals and outcomes of this proposed project. The resources identified as required to complete this project include:

    • Human resources with expertise in areas of language, technology, culture (elders), finances, education
    • Technological/material resources
    • Capacity building and related initiatives
    • Financial resources

     

    Human Resources

    Human resource management is key when implementing a project as this dictates the connection between the available workforce and the ability of a project’s strategies, objectives and goals to be achieved. The best practice for human resource management can be understood through the following six steps;

    1. Develop and Revisit project objectives
    2. Assess existing capabilities and capacities
    3. Estimate future HR requirements
    4. Determine job and resource requirement
    5. Implement a Human Resource Management Plan
    6. Evaluation and corrective action

     
    This non-linear process will be implemented by our team in completing the project and each phase can be revisited as needed, and at minimum at our Bi-Annual meetings.
     

    The Human Resource Management Plan will be used to provide guidance on how team members will be defined, staffed, managed, and eventually released throughout the project lifecycle. Each member of the team will be assessed based on the following:

    • Role – function assumed by person on project.
    • Authority – right to apply resources, make decisions, sign approvals, etc.
    • Responsibility – duties of work on project team
    • Competency – skill and capability required to complete assigned activities.

     
    One tool that will be developed is a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM). This method of project management assigns specific actions to each member of the team. Organizing the responsibilities of the team members in a RAM will allow for more organization and can be used to identify a gap in the project team’s ability to complete tasks.
     

    Project Roles and Responsibilities

    We have secured the necessary human resources for the successful development and implementation of this project. Biigtigong Nishnaabeg has a strong talent pool and exceptional human resources committed to this project. Broadly this includes

    • Community leadership (Chief and council)
    • Subject Matter experts
      • (in areas of language, culture and STEM)
    • Technical staff
    • Administrative support (finalizing)

     
    Current key human resources are identified in the table below:

     
    Other roles and responsibilities are described in relevant sections of this proposal, including Chapter 5 which provides the roles and responsibilities of the governance structure for Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation.
     

    Infrastructure/Material Resources:

    The infrastructure required for this initiative includes the eLearning, eAcquisition, and meetup forum functionalities of the Open edX platform. This online platform will be the primary method of delivering language and STEM training to the target audience. Other technologies/software include Code.org, Tynker.com, Lego.com, CompTIA A+ Exam preparation materials and curriculum, etc. Additional information related to technology resources are included in Chapter 4 of this proposal and will be available to the project team as part of the Project Management Plan.
     

    Capacity Building and Related Initiatives

    As part of the Project Management Plan, it is important for the project team to have a solid understanding of existing and ongoing initiatives that may influence the Smart Cities project. The project team has identified three (3) existing projects of particular importance to this project, and that should be monitored as part of the project management process. Project leads from each of the below initiatives are already identified as key stakeholders as part of the Smart Cities process and therefore will continue to be consulted over the course of the project implementation, and beyond, as outlined in our engagement plan presented in Chapter 6.
     

    • Language Project: ongoing project to capture and preserve the Nishnaabe language and more specifically the Biigtigong dialect.
    • Curriculum Development: ongoing project to emphasize cultural and land-based learning activities for K-8 students.
    • New School Project: The community has identified continued education, job readiness and skills training and development as a high priority. Biigtigong Nishnaabeg is currently in the process of designing a new elementary school and Business Training and Education Complex. These facilities can be used to promote this program and facilitate participation by youth and young professionals. By having this easy access to the target audience this will ensure that the program is adopted.

     

    Financial Resources

    This project will rely on the financial resources provided by the community, other participants and Infrastructure Canada, as presented in Chapter 8.
     

    Strategies for: Risk identification and appropriate mitigation

    With any given project there is the potential of risk throughout its lifespan. Risks can be any influence which affects the success of a project (i.e. in terms of budget or schedule). Therefore, risk management is an essential process of identifying, analyzing and responding to these influences that may occur, to ensure the project stays on track. Specifically, risk management involves identifying categorizing, prioritizing and planning for risks, with risks being identified as anything that could potentially impact the success of the project (deadlines, quality, or budget etc.). Throughout this project, risk management will be approached as an iterative and proactive process.
     

    The project team will revisit the Risk Management Strategy throughout the course of the project as needed to identify and monitor the potential risks during each phase of the project. Once a Risk Management Strategy has been finalized, deviation from the agreed upon schedule/budget/scope of work will be identified and promptly communicated amongst the project team so that corrective actions can be taken in a timely manner. It is the intent there will be regular project meetings held to monitor the progress made and to identify any potential risks.
     

    The initial Risk Assessment has resulted in the identification of initial project risks, and these are presented throughout our proposal. Key Risks and mitigation strategies are summarized in the table below (Additional risks are identified throughout our proposal):
     

     
    The goal of our risk assessment process is to identify, characterize, prioritize and document a mitigation approach relative to those risks which can be identified prior to the start of the project. The Risk Assessment will be continuously monitored and updated throughout the life of the project and will be communicated with appropriate stakeholder as per our engagement plan, presented in Chapter 6.
     

    Since mitigation approaches must be agreed upon by project leadership (based on the assessed impact of the risk, the project’s ability to accept the risk, and the feasibility of mitigating the risk), it is necessary to allocate time during each Advisory Team meeting, dedicated to identifying new risks and discussing mitigation strategies.
     

    Procurement, including alignment with technology and partnership requirements

    Our procurement strategy will follow our internal policies and procedures which mandate minimum requirements for service delivery, contract terms, First Nation involvement, etc. For this project the majority of procurement requirements have been established through development of this proposal and are the approach is relatively uncomplex in that they are with preestablished service and software providers, products and partners.
     

    Stakeholder identification, including analysis of impact and influence

    A stakeholder refers to any individual, organization or group of people with an interest in the project or the ability to affect its outcome. All stakeholders therefore have a vested interest in the successful outcome of a project. From previous engagement experiences on other projects, we understand the importance of including the diverse groups that will be impacted and/or could impact the project. We understand that this journey, especially the reclamation of our language and aadsookaanan, will potentially stir emotions resulting from historical impacts from cultural genocide. We further understand, that it is necessary to walk through these hurts together in order to move forward, heal and reclaim our culture and identity. This proposal required the input of everyone, as it provided another opportunity to build stronger individuals, families, community and a Nation.
     

    In identifying our stakeholders, we considered those who would be immediately impacted and those impacted according to our 7th generation principle (See Chapter 5). Various target groups have been identified and strategies established to facilitate meaningful engagement. As we move forward from development to implementation, we remain committed to developing effective engagement processes that build upon best-practices while creating new and innovative ways of engagement with the project stakeholders. Furthermore, expectation, assumptions and potential risks for each stakeholder will be identified through this engagement. Having an understanding of what is considered the most important outcome for the project amongst the different stakeholders allows project managers to tailor their approach to align with and meet stakeholders needs. Please refer to Chapters 5 and 6 of the proposal for additional details on our stakeholder management process.
     

    Communication Strategies

    Having the support and involvement of all stakeholders will add value to the project, not only through meaningful participation but to also allow for open dialogue and feedback throughout the project. The community engagement strategies completed to date for this project have focused on using our cultural practices to empower youth and community members in a meaningful way.
     

    Throughout the implementation stages of this project a number of these strategies, including community meetings, reporting, surveys, working groups and traditional ceremonies, will be utilized to ensure the continued involvement of the stakeholders at each stage of the project. Most importantly, knowledge sharing and discussions with community members, particularly elders, will be integral to better understanding our traditional Nishnaabe language.
     

    Engagement events (i.e. working groups, community meetings) will be advertised to community members and the general public through the appropriate channels, including but not limited to social media, newsletters and event bulletin boards. A full Engagement Plan for the project can be found in Chapter 6.
     

    Monitoring, controlling, and reporting strategies

    Monitor and Control Project Work is the process of tracking, reviewing, and reporting the progress to meet the performance objectives defined in the Project Management Plan. The key benefit of this process is that it allows stakeholders to understand the current state of the project, work completed, budget, schedule, and scope forecasts.
     

    Each member of the project team will be responsible for monitoring the schedule and tasks completed under their supervision. Thus, information sharing and regular communication amongst the project team will be a key component for success.
     

    Should the project team be unable to complete tasks in the allotted timeframe, corrective measures will be implemented immediately, to ensure the project continues without significant delay. Corrective actions may include more frequent project update meetings/conference calls which will allow the project team to collaboratively adjust the internal schedule of the project to ensure all tasks can be completed.
     

    Bi-annual and annual reporting will be conducted and presented to stakeholders throughout the duration of this project, as per the communication and engagement strategy. Bi-Annual reports will coincide with the financial reporting aspect discussed further in Chapter 8.
     

    In terms of reporting to be received from Teachers, reporting to the project team will be completed in the form of summarized and anonymized data, following an agree to template. Reporting to parents and students will follow the exiting process governing their current reporting practices (i.e. report cards).
     

    Approach to sustaining projects beyond the lifecycle of the Challenge

    Our project is designed to be implemented over the course of 5 years, with official project initiation beginning September 2019 and implementation ending in August 2024. That being said, significant resources are already in place, and much effort has been expended in developing this proposal, which will allow us to hit the ground running. Notably, this project does not have an “end” to its lifecycle, instead the project intends to implement the curriculum which can then continue indefinitely. Of course, there will be the need to continuously review, adjust and enhance the approach and curriculum content, especially in terms of STEM education, but the entire idea of this project is to provide long lasting change to our community which can then be replicated and implemented by any community across Canada or the world.
     

    As previously mentioned, our approach to creating a smart city is an onboarding strategy that would provide long lasting effective change to communities, through empowering youth (and others), through cross-generational transfer of cultural knowledge as well as the much-needed STEM knowledge required to ensure active participation in a smart technology driven economy.