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Effective Project Management reviewed


Product: Effective Project Management CD-ROM
Author: Maxim Training
Name and address of publisher: Maxim Training, 42 Bond Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1RD
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: not applicable / unknown
Price: £820

First things first, the cd-installation was simple and easy on my low-rent PC. Then the main interface, clear and easy to use. There's an introductory block, various blocks about different aspects of project management, and a quiz. There are also learning materials for several project management "tools". The course shows good application of learning principles, albeit using a rather pedagogical manner, and has video and sound to reinforce the screen text.

Plus points

In the words of the advert "it does exactly what it says on the tin". This is a quick (about two hours if you take notes) introduction to project management. It gives you the knowledge to meet the learning objectives in a no-nonsense manner, using a slideshow format, with video inserts from people doing it "for real", quizzes, and the chance to branch out and learn at your own pace. I was impressed by the way that the voiceovers summarised or added to the screen text, rather than repeated it. You can learn about Pert diagrams, and Gantt charts, and know what people in a project team are talking about. It's ideal for someone who just needs an introduction to the subject without having to learn any particular model, maybe a member of staff who has been given their first, small, project, in any area. That's good, because I'm part-way through a project at the moment, and needed some help. For all its faults this has definitely helped me in my work, and I'm sure it will help others.

Minus points

The video clips are a great idea, but the sound is very poor, and detracts from the message. The little quizzes to check understanding aren't very hard, and can be bypassed (without penalty) by simply clicking the "Forward" button.
The quiz at the end is only ten questions long and didn't strike me as terribly difficult. A workbook is mentioned towards the end, but wasn't mentioned anywhere else. There wasn’t one available for review.

Written supporting materials would have been a great help with this course, I could find no way of accessing previous information unless you go back and search through the relevant block. Learners must take their own notes, but aren’t told this at the start. Quality of production was adequate. It was noticeable that while the main, teaching, sections had sound, the parts teaching the "tools" were more basic, as if they were an afterthought. There was a bit of confusion about Pert diagrams and Gantt charts, and this added to the impression that these sections had just been tagged on.

The format: This was a glorified slideshow, with a few multiple choice questions thrown in. If this had been produced using PowerPoint I wouldn't have been suprised, but in fact a top authoring package had been used. I was very disappointed. Multiple choice only, no simulations, no printouts, no supporting materials, not really any interactivity at all. I feel this was a lost opportunity to present a much needed and popular subject in a manner which justifies such a large pricetag.

Was reviewed by Stephen Pridgeon.


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