Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Hannah says what are Standard Ways of Working?

Another good question Hannah. I hope you'll continue to ask questions long after you've left us.

Standard ways of working need to be proven for most portfolios. This simply means do things the way they should be done - the "industry standard" ways of doing stuff. Like:
  • sensible file names, using version numbers etc... Include your documentation etc... as well as whatever you're producing
  • sensible sheet names or names for queries, reports, tables etc... using standard methods (like: tblPokemonCharacters or qryYellowFruit)
  • sensible file structure - using folders effectively to organise work
  • backing up an using appropriate storage

For Project Management you might also include elements which show that you've used standard ways of working for group projects such as:
  • use of agenda, minutes etc... to schedule meetings
  • use of project management software to plan - e.g. Gannt charts and resource assignments using Open Workbench
  • effective use of e-mail, letters, synchronous chat etc... to manage work
  • use of collaborative documents to allow multiple people to work on the same document (for example, user guides etc...)

For the final mark in the row you'll need to be answering the question: Why did I/we do this?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

It's OK to be sad - the FarmVille story


Bit sad really isn't it? But not terribly dangerous if played in small doses according to this BBC article (although note: an official got sacked in Bulgaria for playing it - take care eh...).

Comments are interesting - the idea that Groups may be scams: get you to fill out a survey and, ah ha, they have personal details.

Now, do I join just to get a farm? Hmmmm....

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


An online game to teach young people (and maybe old people as well, I don't know, I haven't really played it yet) about the issues surrounding social networking and online privacy.

Might be worth a look - I'd appreciate any feedback about it.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Hmm, this might be a good idea...

Well, I'm shocked. A good idea from Microsoft...

A game to help you learn features of Office. Cool name too - Ribbon Hero.

Not tried it, but sounds like a jolly fine idea.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Justification of Database software

This is a simple three marks to get.

Check the markscheme first - it's AO2 Row 3. Then this is what I'd do:
  1. Clearly state exactly which version of Access is being used. Without this it won’t get 1 mark
  2. Say that they already have it and so don’t need to buy any new software in
  3. Say that it’s the only bit of database software they have so there isn't a real alternative
  4. If anyone in the client organisation has any familiarity at all with it then say so – they may have used it at school or in another job for example or done some very basic training with it
  5. Say that you need a number of tables for different entities (name the entities) and therefore need an RDBMS (a Relational Database Management System)

You could add about the ability to build forms to create a user friendly interface using things like drop down boxes, calendar controls etc… and use security features etc… Linking this to client needs (briefly!) isn't a bad idea.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Project Management Marks

There are 6 marks for using Open Workbench (pretty much).

AO1 - Row 2 - the first three marks for using a range of project management techniques - the fourth mark for explaining how and why you used them (probably using screenshots)

AO2 - Row 3 - using tools

I would produce:
  • a Gannt chart (possibly a weekly view one) - to show the dates for each task and how they are scheduled
  • a phase level Gannt chart - to provide an overview of scheduling
  • a Critical Path Analysis - to show the longest possible path to the end of the project (check out Critical Path Analysis on Wikipedia) using the tasks and their start and finish dates and dependencies
  • a resource assignment - to show exactly how resources have been assigned - who is going to what meeting or involved in each section
  • a dependency definition view - to specify exactly which tasks are dependent on others (the critical path will help do this as well)
You can then add evidence from using e-mail, cooperative documents (e.g. Google Docs) etc...

Note that there are also possible marks in AO1 - Row 1 which is using new software.

Hannah says what is Open Workbench?

Good question Hannah. You always ask the best questions. No one else is as skilled as you at question asking. I like you.

Open Workbench is project management software. It allows you to manage the key aspects of a project - specifically to manage tasks, place tasks into phases and manage the allocation of resources. This will allow you to schedule a complex project with many resources (people) effectively to allow it to be completed to deadlines.

This is particularly important because you have a number of resources to manage and many tasks to complete, some of which are clearly dependent on other tasks (you can't test the content until the interface has been produced, for example).

Wikipedia has a really quite useful page on project management and what it is. It's worth a look.

There's also a Wikipedia page on Open Workbench itself, although it's rather less useful.

Specifically Open Workbench will allow you to:
  • produce Gannt charts
  • assign resources and manage them and produce a resource overview
  • produce a critical path analysis

A quite useful definition of project management is:

“Project management is the process by which projects are defined, planned, monitored, controlled and delivered such that agreed benefits are realised. Projects are unique, transient endeavours undertaken to achieve a desired outcome. Projects bring about change and project management is recognised as the most efficient way of managing such change.”

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Skills Audit

Unit 8 needs you to do a skills audit - to work out what skills you have at the start of the project.

Examples could be:

Communication skills such as:
  • meeting skills - running meeting, producing agenda, minutes etc...
  • organisation skills - organising yourself, e-mails etc...
  • bossiness skills - organising other people
Technical skills such as:
  • design skills
  • animation skills
  • web skills
Project management skills (which might include some of the things above)
  • use of open workbench
  • use of gannt charts
  • use of plans, critical path management etc...

This is AO3 Row 5. I'd do it in a table with a column for the skill, a column for pre-existing level and a column for how I'd used it in the project.

You need to do the same sort of thing for your Knowledge - AO3 Row 6 - what knolwedge of this sort of thing did you have at the start and how did you use it?

It is a really good idea to put this towards the front of your write-up. It links to AO1 Rows 3 and 4 - the development of new skills. BUT this wants to be a clearly different section...

Monday, 8 March 2010

Concatenation Madness

Concatenation of fields is when you put two or more fields together to make a single output - say for a report.

A good place to use this is if you have a persons name.

You could create the report with three separate boxes - one for the title, one for the forename and one for the surname. You'd have to make sure each box was big enough to cope with any length of name though, so you'd end up with output which looked like:

Mrs     Danielle         Bagshaw

Which works but looks  a bit naff, especially if it's supposed to be a letter heading. Wouldn't it be so much better to get:

Mrs Danielle Bagshaw
Mr Jim Chicken

...with just the right amount of spaces?

So concatenate already! The juice covered text book tells you how to do this on page 214, but it's dead easy really.
  • create an unbound text box (CAREFUL: don't make it a label! It must be a textbox. Trust me; ask Jane)
  • type in something along the lines of =[Title]&" "&[Forename]&" "&[Surname]
  • check it works

The & symbol (called an Ampersand by the way) ties the fields together into one output - which is what concatenation is. And it's a dead cool word for scrabble if someone already has cat and nation in the right place = triple word score heaven.

Calendar Control Stuff

d to some stuff I wrote about calendar controls a while back...

You have a calendar. You have date of arrival and date of departure. You can do a spinner.

You can set the date of arrival dead easily, yes? The date of departure is a little trickier because you don't really want to set a default value of =Date()+1 because you actually want the default value to be one higher than the value you set for the arrival when you click on the calendar.

All you need to do is add a line of code to the standard calendar stuff.


It's the second line of code that's "new". Pretty straightforward once you figure it out...

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Open Workbench - an idiots guide

Just for Hayley (joke!)

Do stuff in this order:

  1. enter the names of your resources (the people) and their initials in the bottom pane
  2. right click each resource and Modify - type the persons job title in the Category box
  3. I went with Developers, Project Manager, Tester, Client - you could have other project roles
  4. enter the tasks in the centre pane. Try and get them in a logical order. You can add rows in by right clicking
  5. add rows and enter phases - enter them like tasks and then right click and Modify and change the Type to Phase. This will give you a bracketed phase and let you break the project down into stages
  6. sort the dates out - either drag the tasks along the Gannt chart or change the dates manually
  7. sort the length of tasks out - either drag the bars on the Gannt chart or change the finish dates
  8. now put in dependencies - I find it easier to drag them from the predecessor bar to the successor bar. Take care with dependencies - you want them to make sense. I would suggest that everything needs some kind of dependency as it will make you critical path analysis make more sense - but there may be jobs which can take place at the same time as each other
  9. assign resources to tasks and give them time allocations in hours. Right click on each task and select Assignments and you can do this. Make sure the right people are in the right meetings - I would tend to have the Project manager meet the client for many of the meetings rather than have large meetings. Don't forget meetings with testers.

Double click on the dates at the top of the Gannt chart and you can set the number of periods to display. You may need more than 26 periods if your project lasts more than 26 days. You can also change the scale from days to weeks which may well be a better way of displaying things if you have a project lasting more than 3 or 4 weeks

Double click on the Gannt chart itself and you can tick the holidays box to shade in weekends (yah!) and perhaps change the

Hmm, pictures...

Yes, they aren't working.

I will fix them but it might take a little time. It's due to google pages changing to google sites which means the url of where the pages are stored has changed.

Don't you just hate it when that happens?