Learning Project Management

with Luong Van Can Students

Project management is one of the fundamental and essential skills that Luong Van Can Fund focuses on equipping their students with. Besides attending theoretical classes, during the school year, students have opportunities to get practical experience in planning and organizing community projects.
This year, the Project Management course was held in 2 days (17/01/2021 and 23/01/2021). The instructor was Ta Thai Minh Phuc, who is currently in charge of internal training programs for personnel ADP-Architect and operating the Pioneer Scholarship Fund. The main content of the course revolved around the concepts of project management, project implementation, and some relevant supplementary skills.

Success = Human + Process

All LVC students enthusiastically participated in the lesson. At the beginning of the first training, the students were divided into groups to collect personal opinions related to expectations, experiences, challenges, and survey the understanding of project management, which significantly aroused students’ interest.

Working in fields of project management and training for years, the speaker had no difficulties guiding LVC students to address their own questions related to the topic, such as:
• Why do we have to learn project management skills?
• What negative consequences does a failed project cause?
• What is a successful project?
• What are the core skills for managing a successful project?
Additionally, before implementing the project, the speaker emphasized the human factor that significantly contributed to a successful project; to ensure the commitment of members to the project, it was a must to clearly define the general expectations and goals. The overall goal of community projects was to create fruitful outcomes for beneficiaries as originally planned and to avoid wasting resources. However, in the long run, to maintain the connection, which was adversely affected by various factors, there were four fundamental behaviors that needed commitment, namely showing respect through communication and support; positively listening; clarifying mutual expectations; and promoting each member’s responsibilities.

During this first session, students learned and practiced important tools for running a project, such as the project scope statement and questions for interviewing stakeholder.

Every single member is a project manager

At the beginning of the second training class, students were introduced to OPLA, a web-app tool owned by Officience, the Fund’s long-term partner, which helped young people to set up and track their target fulfillment. With the web-app format, the app only required a smartphone or Internet-connected computer to be accessed. In addition, this was a social network site that connects people who had the same goals in order to inspire and provide energy for them in their journey to gain happiness. “As pursuing a dream means running into difficulties and even failure, it is essential to have a buddy to remind us of the original reason and motivate us to overcome those barriers and achieve our goals”, shared Ms. Nam Phuong – one of the app’s owners. In addition, students had a chance to experience the first version of OPLA which was anticipated to assist in planning theỉr future as well as keeping track of their goals in the community project.

The training continued with the procedures to implement a project, which included initiating and planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling to project completion. Throughout the training series was a selective integration of applied examples from the speaker’s experience in project management, which was incorporated with a game to connect the students and make the lessons more engrossing and highly practical for the upcoming community projects.

The key point emphasized by the speaker was the role of team communication throughout the working process. He said, “80% of the problems in teamwork derive from failure in communication, and 90% of the time of projects is spent on exchanging information”. Therefore, during project implementation, the members need to agree that everyone is a project manager and it is essential to have thoughtful preparation before team meetings and discussions.

What impressed you most?

This was a regular activity done by the speaker as a summing up of each session to acknowledge what students still remember as well as collecting their feedback to accordingly adjust the following courses. At the end of a project, each individual needs to reflect on their shortcomings during the project so that they can put them down to experience and be more confident in the later ones.

Two lessons were enthusiastically participated by over 60 students from over 15 projects and online participants via Zoom app. Luong Van Can Fund believed that the sharing from Mr. Minh Phuc would be helpful for LVC students in planning their own ideas to show their distinction in upcoming community projects.

Articles and photos: Media team – Luong Van Can Student Club.