Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn? I remember the days when I was working on my junior year project about biochemistry. We were directed to discuss about the effect of Aspartame to human body. My friend, Jeffery, and I were the only ones working on this project. Normally we used to have three to four project partners. My friend and I were tensed due to the close deadline and the amount of work to be done.
First phase was planning, which we did without much worry but errors start to appear in that phase. We kept on doing simulation and report work. We submitted the first proposal and our instructor was satisfied with our performance. After that we got little slowdown due to personal reasons. Only one month was remaining now. Now we started working with full pace and enthusiasm. Ten days before deadline, we were ready with the Aspartame and all the equipment for testing if it contains Formaldehyde. But we couldn’t figure out how to control the heater to a constant temperature.
The heater was a small problem; the more serious problem is we couldn’t find the right indicator to complete our experiment. Our instructor didn’t help us as well. Date of project exhibition came and we were not able to integrate everything together. We could only show the basic contents but not the concentration of the noxious substance contains in Aspartame. Anyways, the project inspectors pointed out some mistakes and said they liked our effort. We got average marks but we were not disappointed as we had learnt on practice how to manage a project.
We learnt that key to project management is planning and time management. Planning phase is the base of everything. Calculations and simulations should be perfect and should be according to the practical demands. Planning of each design should be done separately first and then collectively. Different teachers should be consulted regarding the details of project. In my personal experience teachers other than one’s consultant teacher are more willing to help and they can provide better opinions.
Time management is another area where we lacked seriously. We had no idea of how to allocate time periods to different parts of the project. We just did things as they came to us, no specific order. This really hampered our performance. Students should prepare a time table and stick to it throughout their project. Work and time should be divided equally amongst all the group members and every member should complete his or her job in time. I learnt many things from this project even though we couldn’t complete it.
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