Getting Your Ducks in a Row: Project Scheduling & Resource Allocation

projectPlanningPlanning a project, anticipating what resources are needed and then budgeting for the entire process requires an ability to plan for the known, but also take consider the unknown. An excellent tool to use for keeping track of resources and time was the RASCI chart that Dr. Stolovitch (Laureate Education, n.d.), recommends. This chart helps a project manager ensure that he/she has the right people, the right tasks at the right time. This chart is a great tool for resource planning, but how should a PM plan for the budget? I researched how instructional designers calculate the cost of planning for training and found some excellent advice and tools for instructional designers to employ when creating a project schedule and resource allocation plan. The following are some of the best options I found:

Big Dog & Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition

http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/costs.html

As I researched, Don Clark’s name came up again and again. His budget webpage was extremely helpful. He covered all kinds of budgeting scenarios: training, development hours, eLearning, interactive media and much more. He gives a breakdown of each type of training and suggestions for how to approach putting together a budget. One of the best features on this website was an Excel spreadsheet template for estimating costs for a training endeavor you might have. You simply save it to your computer and voilà you have an estimator you can start with. This website concluded with a case study, so you can put into practice some of his suggestions. No wonder everyone kept referencing Don Clark!

ASTD

http://www.astd.org/Publications/Newsletters/Learning-Circuits/Learning-Circuits-Archives/2009/08/Time-to-Develop-One-Hour-of-Training

I found “Time to Develop One Hour of Training”, again, through the many references others made to this article. Kapp and Defelice, (2009) put together a survey so they could devise a realistic method of determining an estimate of what an hour of training would cost. When I reviewed the chart, I recognized it from the one Dr. Pastore shared with us in Week 4. (Another endorsement). The chart breaks down the tasks for training and eLearning with a template and without a template. The information is very useful. However, another feature I learned from this site was the additional factors that add to the scope of work. What was helpful was the authors listed the factors, but they also listed how to respond or how to avoid the issues altogether. This site was helpful because it provided some excellent tools for estimating, but the bigger picture the authors describes was worth the visit.

Chapman Alliance

http://www.chapmanalliance.com/howlong/

This site lists a breakdown of instructional design work into ratios, the number of hours of development to create an hour of learning. Chapman, (2010) divides the ID work into instructor lead and eLearning categories. I especially liked how he broke the eLearning into basic, intermediate and advanced levels, recognizing the additional amount of work adding more interactive material into a course creates. The best feature to check out on this site is the SlideShare created to break various tasks down in great detail. The slides show the development process and the average amount of time spent throughout the project as well as slides which break the work down into cost. The slides continue with a breakdown for the different levels of eLearning as well. This site provides a good deal of information and resources for instructional designers, but I also read a blog by Christy Tucker (Tucker, 2014) who refers her clients to this site because it give reliable information in an understandable format.

Learning Solutions Magazine

http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/406/how-to-determine-the-real-cost-of-e-learning-programs

This article begins by describing that costing e-Learning is like peeling an onion—many layers, some of which stink. (Caught my attention!) Actually, even though I looked at other articles that did very good jobs at breaking down eLearning costs, this article was tailored to this task. While this article did seem a little complicated to follow, the costing check sheets were worth looking at. The check sheets worked through various options you would need to consider with the client and I thought the options were very helpful. The site also offered tables breaking down interactivity levels and graphic/multimedia considerations. This site was very helpful for anyone specifically working in elearning.

Doing research on what tools are out there for Instructional Designers who need resources for estimating project costs demonstrated how many possibilities are “out there”. However, I also found the best resources were referenced again and again so finding reliable material was possible.


References:

Chapman, B. (2010). How long does it take to create leaning? Chapman Alliance. [Webpage]. Retrieved from http://www.chapmanalliance.com/howlong/

Clark, D. (2010, June 23). Estimating costs and time in instructional design. Big Dog & Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition. [Webpage]. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/costs.html

Kapp, K. M., & Defelice, R. A. (2009). Time to develop one hour of training. ASTD. Retrieved from http://www.astd.org/Publications/Newsletters/Learning-Circuits/Learning-Circuits-Archives/2009/08/Time-to-Develop-One-Hour-of-Training

Moore, K., & Harmeyer, G. (2002). How to determine the real cost of e-learning programs. Learning Solutions Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/406/how-to-determine-the-real-cost-of-e-learning-programs

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Project management concerns: Locating Resources. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Tucker, C. (2014, March 18). Time estimates for e-learning development. Experiencing E-Learning. [Web Log]. Retrieved from https://christytucker.wordpress.com/category/instructional-design/

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2 thoughts on “Getting Your Ducks in a Row: Project Scheduling & Resource Allocation

  1. Mary,

    All of these resources are excellent. I love groups like ASTD as they are a community of practice that work for the betterment of the profession and individual practitioners. I believe that they provide great resources like the ones you’ve shared because they understand that sharing information and creating a discussion saves time, money, and generates more knowledge than working solo. I struggled to find resources this week, and you’ve reminded me that the obvious training organizations often have valuable resources.

    Thanks.

    Tim

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