George Mason University


Information Technology
Project Management


Plan a Personal Project

This section describes how you can plan and report on a personal improvement project.  


  1. Produce a statement of work (SOW) and decompose overall project goals.
  2. Describe alternative methods of managing scope of a project
  3. Develop a work breakdown structure (WBS)
  4. Define the products of a project and final end of the project, including non-concrete products such as reputation.
  5. Estimate time needed for completing various sub-tasks in an Information Technology project within healthcare
  6. Analyze task dependencies to identify project’s critical path and project schedule.
  7. Assess project quality through regular monitoring of progress and nature of progress.

What is the Idea?

This assignment asks you to put together a personal improvement project.  The project can be something connected to your career, your home construction, weight loss or any other activity you had planned to do but somehow you did not get to it. 

Steps in Completing the Project

  1. Select a project:  Here are some personal projects that might be doable in a semester: 
    1. Plan to lose weight
    2. Plan to add an extension to your house
    3. Plan to exercise more
    4. Plan your career and the related training
    5. Plan a wedding
    6. Plan to stop smoking
    7. Other topics

    Note that, in all of these projects, you are planning a project and then doing it.  So select something that you would like to do or you have to do anyway. 

  2. Draft a work breakdown and identify distinct inter-related tasks:  Make sure that all relevant tasks are identified and the precedence for each task is identified.  Make sure at least 10 distinct tasks are identified and that each task has at least 3 precedents.  Please note that you should not include goals or wish lists in your plans.  List only tasks, with real start and end time. 
  3. Estimate completion times: Using the Estimate-talk-estimate procedure, query an expert and identify most likely duration of various activities within your project.   An expert is anyone who has completed a similar project before. 
  4. Identify critical path:  Analyze your data to identify a critical path for your schedule.  Report the earliest time to finish.
  5. Execute your plan:  Execute your plans and monitor for your ability to stay with your plans.
  6. Report your plans:    Prepare a narrated set of slides that reports on your plans (less than 10 minutes).  Here are the suggested set of slides in your report:
    1. Title slide:  Identify yourself by initials and title your project
    2. Permission slide:  Indicate whether the instructor is allowed to post the plan to the web.
    3. Customer's voice:  Start your narration with your expectations.  Make sure the quote derives home the message for the need for your project.
    4. Source of data:  Explain why the estimated times are reasonable.
    5. List of activities:  Describe the details of your plans and the activities that need to be scheduled.  Use a Gantt chart. 
    6. Critical path:  Visually show the critical path.  
    7. Progress:  Show your progress 1/3 of way, and 2/3 of way through the plan.
    8. List the lessons you learned in this project & describe how the project was closed.
  7. Narrate the slides: 
    1. Prepare all slides first (make sure that slides are not too wordy)
    2. Write full sentences and insert in a text box above the slides
    3. Narrate slides in one setting and ignore errors: Narrate & Convert slides►  SWF  Narrate Slides
    4. Delete the text boxes containing the full sentences
  8. Convert narrated slides into video format:
    1. Download Camtasia (if you time it, you will not need to pay for this software as the first 30 days are free) Download
    2. Convert the slides to AVI file
  9. Post the video:  Post your work on a public domain site without your name or personal identifying information.  If you are uncomfortable doing this, ask instructor for alternative ways you can submit your work.
    1. You might want to use You Tube
  10. Send the URL for the site to your instructor. 


Here are a few examples of personal projects:

  1. Organize a band (Instructor:  Great music but too small a text to read.)  You Tube
  2. Organize a bike trip (Instructor:  Poor voice quality and too much text on each slide, otherwise great application of the Project Management tools)  You Tube
  3. Arrange for a summer job (instructor: Excellent example of status reports at 1/3 and 2/3 of the project)  You Tube
  4. Prepare for a triathlon (Instructor:  low voice quality and small text size)  You Tube
  5. Plan for rugby match  You Tube
  6. Improve study habits  You Tube
  7. Lift weights (Instructor:  lacks status reports) You Tube


  • Students who prefer their work to remain private should ask to be exempted from the requirement to post their work on the web and should mail their narrated work to 1319 Ozkan St McLean VA 22101.  Do not use email to send your work.

This page is part of the course on Project Management.   This page was last edited on 01/31/17 by Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D ©Copyright protected.