The Project Notebook

Projects to Watch: Spring Garden Alive!

What do you get when you mix innovation, mentoring, education, and project management? Spring Garden Alive!, a product of PMI Founder Jim Snyder, PMI Delaware Valley Chapter, the School District of Phildelphia, Devry University, and the PMI Education Foundation. Here’s what I learned about this project while in Denver for the 2008 North American Leadership Meeting.

Using Perkins Title IV funds targeted at improving the life skills of High School students, the project teaches Project Management Skills within the Phildelphia school system. Students undergo a rigorous application (based on academic achievement and attendance) and testing process and have dual enrollment in high school and college (Devry University). The Delaware Valley Chapter of PMI supplies the mentors for the program which includes as instructional topics:

  • Charter and Scope
  • WBS
  • Network Diagrams
  • Budget
  • Resources
  • Project Control Plan
  • Risk Plan
  • Procurement Plan

The project students work on centers around developing a vacant lot near the school district headquarters. A number of students have already “graduated” from the program which has expanded to two Project Management classes. In addition to gaining 21st Century Life Skills, students completing the program are encouraged to further their education with the college credits earned by the course.

The PMI Education Foundation is actively seeking sponsors, mentors, instructions, and more to advance the program, perhaps taking it to other school districts based on the current levels of success, making it a “project to watch”.

Projects to Watch: “An Ambitious Project”

About 2 hours ago the Reuters service carried news of the malfunction of the world’s largest physics experiment, the $9B Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located beneath a CERN research center near the Swiss-French border. A 30-ton transformer designed to cool the magnets to -456.3F malfunctioned. The resulting helium leak into the 17 mile tunnel housing the equipment resulted in a shut down and its estimated to take two months to fix.

With this largest, most complex machine ever built, scientists are hoping to simulate the “Big Bang” conditions theorized to have taken place at the birth of the universe. Some of the things they will be looking for include:

– dark matter
– Higgs bosons (believed to give mass to all other particles)
– other exotic particles, possibly newly discovered

While critics are predicting the end of the world in small black holes which could be opened by the machine, the experts apparently feel its close to 100% safe.

Projects to Watch: Punta Colonet

The story didn’t seem to get a lot of press or discussion, but a couple of people tipped me off and a search turned up an article from July 25th in SignOnSanDiego. Mexico’s federal government is planning a massive port project approximately 150 miles south of San Diego (this is south of Ensenada). The government is expected to publish bid specifications by the end of September for a container port and rail project designed to route Asian cargo through Mexico to the US.

Colonet is a small coastal community. When the project is completed, the port could rival Long Beach and Los Angeles, both of which are growing overburdened from congestion created by increased Pacific trade.

Several groups have expressed an interest in the project which would include a $4.5B private investment. Any number of “spin off” projects might be needed, including road improvements, a desalination plant for water, an improved border crossing, and rail line improvements.

At this point, little else is known about the project and the improved border crossing site has not been identified. The Baja California government is working on guidelines for urban development, where the population could grow to 200,000. This is a project to watch to see how plans unfold once the bid information is released later this year.

Projects to Watch: Library of Congress Flickr Pilot

As the saying goes, many hands make the work light. The advent of Web 2.0 applications has facilitated collaboration on many levels, and the Library of Congress has decided to jump in. They have millions of pictures in their collections, and many of them have incomplete information — they are missing names of subjects, locations, and photographers. They have made a total of 3,000 photos from two of the more popular collections available on a flickr page where the viewing community is invited to tag them with the missing information.

Harnessing the power of the Internet community to build the human knowledge base is an interesting social experiment which could yield many interesting new applications. To stay in tune with this important project to watch, visit the Library of Congress blog.

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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP