Having a project plan before starting a research can ensure a smoother execution of the research. For the DSP case study, the project plan is constructed based on the Researcher Project Planner template as recommended by Rose et al. (2015). It is organized by Stages, namely, Research Planning, Literature Review, Research Methods and Design, DSP Preparation, Data Collection, Data Analysis and Write-up. These Stages also correspond to Trident’s DBA Curriculum and their milestones. Since some of the deliverables are dependent on approvals and completion of predecessor coursework, it makes sense to provide estimate duration to the activities so the target completion date can be projected more accurately.
Figure 1 below is snapshot of the project planner, it illustrates the activities involved in each stage, their associated pre-requisites, and deliverables. It is important to note that this research planner is a living document and will evolve and be updated continuously over the course of the DSP as discovery are made during the research process.
Research Project Planner
The plan that has been constructed is a conservative one, with cushions built in for holidays, work and family commitments since life is full of surprises. Besides life events, there are three risks that could negatively impact the outcome of the study.
· Technical. This could be low response or inadequate sample size influencing research quality. Another example is data loss due to computer hardware or software issue.
· Organizational. For example, unable to proceed with research due to failure to obtain approvals for DSP Proposal or IRB.
· Project Management. For example, scheduling conflict with participants causing the data collection process to take longer than expected.
To mitigate the uncertainties that comes with research projects, Baccarini and Melville (2011) suggested employing a robust approach to managing the potential roadblocks. This involves recognizing the risks, assessing the severity, implementing mitigation strategies and monitor progress. Finally, staying in communication with the stakeholders such as the key contacts at the research firm, DSP Chair and Committee can help address concerns that may delay the process.
Finally if all goes as planned, the education that I received will increase my job security. More importantly, the lessons that I learned from this journey will help me become a better problem-solver and critical thinker.
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