INTRODUCTION “It’s sooo much to do.” “Where do I start?”, “I don’t have the time!” Though all of these statements may be true when it comes to your thesis, there are ways to make your thesis life a bit more manageable. Project management may come across as a very technical topic area that may take years of study to grasp. This as well is also true. There are, however, some elements of Project Management can assist in the management of your thesis…it is a “project” after all. So, let’s get started.
ASPECTS TO USE IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT -List your tasks So, you want to start by thinking of all the activities and sub-activities (small bits that are part of the main activities) and listing them. As it may be your first major project, do some research to understand the names of tasks and what they will entail. Try your best to keep your tasks in order of execution. Depending on your level of study, your list may be longer or shorter. So possible tasks for non-research-based Masters may involve: Collecting situational literature Reading of literature for literature review Write Up of Introduction Selection of analysis method Creation of Questionnaire For more engaged students, the task of attaining feedback from supervisors may be included in the list. Don’t forget to include supposedly minor activities such as writing the abstract or even sending your thesis to the printers.
-List all the risks at each stage that will make the task longer or more difficult. For every activity you may do, there are some risks. For each task, really think about the limitations, or potential negative influences that can make the task last even longer. So, for example, let’s say you are not statistically adept, you must factor in what model you may be considering and how long you believe you will take to learn the new method. Another example of risk may be that literature may be harder to find than first thought. Also, for the data collection phase, questionnaire respondents may not be co-operative. Create a table of tasks and risks to keep proper track of both for the next stages. One can also prepare for risks by brainstorming solutions and extending schedules of activities in case risks are realised.
-Budget your time. With the research of what is required for each chapter one must have may sense of how long each task will take. In practice, this step can be done through tools such as the GANTT Chart or Critical Path Analysis. To keep it simple, we will just suggest that you take note of how long each activity will take. Also note that activities that can be delayed or which can run alongside other more difficult activities, in case of risks coming to reality. Also consider recording next to each activity the required previous and following activity. This will give you an idea of what activities will be affected if 1 task is delayed.
-Make changes frequently. Keep current with respect to managing your thesis. Do not give up rescheduling and checking on your progress less your deadline comes and you aren’t even close to finished.
Though the information given here is not even close to the extensive tools of project management, managing your time and tracking your work will definitely get you to the finish line.