Project Management for Virtual Classroom Developments
project management tactics in developing and managing virtual classroom project
will contribute to project management success and will increase the academic
satisfactions. One of those techniques in software development is agile
methods. The principles of this method is
communication, simplicity, feedback, decision making, and engaging the right
people to make the right decision. We introduced this method to ensure higher
rate of project success. This paper will discuss the agile project management
in developing virtual classroom project, this paper use
qualitative analysis to identify the impact of agile project management on the
efficiency of virtual classroom project. In this paper, we will address the
role of the project manager from different perspectives and provide training to
the project team on the agile methods will mitigate the risk levels in the
project. The paper is concluding the need to engage with the academic strategy
in order to increase the institutional performance of learning outcome.
Keywords: Project Management, Agile
project management, virtual classroom, academic
project management methods have been initiated from industrial practice to
ensure a higher rate of success in software development project. The processes
of agile methods allow the project scope to change rapidly by placing emphasis
on the stakeholder involvement and communication. Using this method in learning
at education sectors became essential and imperative to improve teaching
effectiveness and lead to better academic performance in higher education
institutes. Virtual Classroom (VCR) is one example of online e-learning system
which is unlike traditional classroom wherever the user and his/her computer
happen to be, VCR can be created in supported environment of real class which
includes all the course materials.
(Development, 2001) defined the process of agile method uses specific roles to
deliver the product in a specific time frame. There are 12 principles behind
- Satisfying the customer through early and continuous delivery of the
- Welcome changing in the requirements, even late in development.
- Delivering the software from couple of weeks to a couple of months preferring
to the shorter time.
- Developers and business people should work daily within the project.
- Building the project within proper environment by supportive management to
get the tasks done.
- The most efficient method to convene the information is face-to-face
- The primary measure of the progress is working software.
- The stakeholder must be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely to get
- Continuous focusing on the good design enhancing the agility.
- Simplicity in the work.
- The best requirements, architecture, and designs emerge from self-organizing
- The team should become more effective during the work on the project.
We will discuss implementation of agile project management method in virtual
classroom and how we can mitigate the complexity of the project.
understand the success of agile method in implementing virtual classroom
project, it is very significant to understand the processes through right
framework base on previous literature. Our study is how to use agile methods in
implementing virtual classroom project; we will address the efficiency of
virtual classroom while using agile methods in implementing the project from different
prospective. We will identify the effect of the project manager role in using
the agile methods and addressing the effect of the training to the project team
on mitigating the risk levels in the project. In (Figure 1), we conducted some
of the research study to find the gab of project efficiency in implementing
virtual classroom project. We will put potentials to address the effect of
agile method on the role of the project manager, and providing training to the
project team in agile methods will affect the level of the risk in the project
Research Question: What is the impact of agile project management on the
this study, we will put some of the potential application in using agile
H1: Agile methods will
affect the role and performance of project managers.
H2: Provision of
training reduces the risks involved in project development
H3: Agile methods
hasten the development and implementation of a project
H4: Robust applications
that are easily maintained are developed.
1: Literature review summary
agile software development process has continually gained applause among
software developers. This is highly attributed to the advantages that the
process offers as compared to other development methodologies (Chin, 2004).
As a result, the need to better manage the process has with time evolved
into agile project management. Therefore, from an overview approach point,
agile project management is a branch of agile methodology. The raise of this
type of management process can be attributed to the lack of the traditional
methods to provide a suitable empirical, non-repeatable and unpredictable
management process approach (Agilemethodology.org,
2008). The failure did not augur well with the development methodology
of the famous agile method. From definition, the agile process is open to
change. This is from the simple fact that unlike the waterfall development
methodology, this process realizes that projects are open and prone to change
and can never be sequential. A good example is the development of a virtual
classroom where the needs of students and teachers are constantly changing.
The process aims at ensuring that developers
and the project stakeholders embrace change and incorporate it in the
development of the project to ensure that the final results meet the needs of
all the stakeholders involved. Change can occur in a variety of fields from
schedules, budgets and the environment both internal and external environment (Cervone, 2011). The occurrences of these changes
leads to the need of proper project management to ensure that all the changes
are incorporated. Agile project management provides a solution to the changing
nature of the project to ensure a streamlined approach of the needs of the
business and the external stakeholders.
achieve the needs and objectives of the business, the agile project management
is composed of certain values and attributes. Among this, the key concepts are
the customer, feature and done attributes. The decision and the metrics of the
management process in the agile approach revolve around these concepts.
Understanding the customer, the feature and the timeline within which the
feature is accomplished enables a deeper understanding of the process.
this is the end-user for whom the software is being developed.in the case of a
virtual classroom, the end-user is the student. The customer is responsible for
the initiation of the development process as they define what and when the
software is to be delivered (Cervone, 2011).
Therefore, the development of a virtual classroom should be seen from the eyes
of the student, what they expect to be accomplished by the software and whether
it will give them the look and feel of an actual class. The development team,
led by the project development manager must comply with the needs of the students
to ensure a smooth development and management process for the end-product. To
align the requirements and the objectives, the agile project management process
enhances the duties of the customer to comprise of making decisions and
answering project domain questions as well as prioritizing what should be
delivered and when (Wysocki, 2009).
Therefore, in these scenario, students acts as the point of contact for
providing the directions on the project. The agile project management process
proves to be more powerful as it can incorporate more than one student. Therefore,
justifiable to be adopted in a learning institution.
a feature defines how a system behaves. In the case of a virtual classroom, it
defines how the stakeholders involved such as students and teachers interact
with one another. The student is not only the end user as the teachers and
system administrators are also involved in viewing the information and tracking
performance. The success of a project has to comply with the feature
specification of all end users. The features defined by the student must be
verifiable in terms of design specifications as well as the functionality. If student
needs are not met fully by the resulting virtual class application, the
probability of lack of satisfaction will be high and this may lead to a redo of
the system (Karlesky, V & er Voord, 2008).
This means that the project management failed since there lacked a proper
coordination between the end users and the developers. The agile project
management process was designed to ensure that the features of a project are
fully documented and implemented for the sake of meeting the needs of all the
stakeholders involved in the process are satisfied. A proper definition of the
feature is necessary to ensure that the features are not confused with tasks or
modules (Wysocki, 2009). In large projects, it is a
common occurrence to divide the system into modules. If the features to be
delivered by the system are not fully documented, the module developers may
forfeit their roles and fail to deliver the complete functionality of the
system and blame the collaborating developers. With the agile project
management approach, the feature must be explicit in order to show who is to
deliver what and when. Features are not possessive of the details of
implementation. However, they pay attention to the functionality and the
requirements of the users. In a virtual class for example, the following
modules are to be implemented; the teachers module, the student module and the
done defines the point at which all the features of the project have been fully
delivered and implemented. On a single analysis basis, this sounds like a
simple task and one that is straight forward. However, determining when all the
predefined features are met can be hectic especially when the initial feature
were not fully documented. A point of contradiction has always been observed
arising from the traditional management process as they lack a well-defined and
elaborated approach to the project feature and customer requirements. Using
Gantt charts, project timelines can be met with all the stages being well
implemented within a specific periods of time. The agile project management
process guarantees up to 95% completeness of the project within the specified
period of time (Karlesky, V & er Voord,
2008). This is a success as compared to the other management processes
which are not time specific and fail to capture customer needs. Having a
well-defined ‘done’ approach is essential in determining when the project
features have been met. This is what the agile project management achieves. A
state of completion has to be met for the feature to be termed as done. Various tests such the system, unit, user
acceptance and functionality tests have to be met by the system for the done
concept to be full realized (iTnews, 2014).
Failure to this, the system does not meet the full scope of the done module.
The developers have to test the system for proper auditing and performance and
provide the customer with the module to cross check user acceptance (Karlesky, V & er Voord, 2008). A virtual
classroom will be termed complete only when all the modules previously
mentioned are fully implemented and asserted to be functioning properly.
agile development project has a variety of advantages. However, this merits
cannot be fully realized if the development methodology that was used in
initial development of the process utilized the traditional methods of software
development life cycle. The change from a traditional approach to the agile
approach requires a change in the way the development process is carried out.
Changes such as in the user requirement analysis, design, project scheduling
and team management as well as the measuring of the project progress must be
reviewed (iTnews, 2014).
This means that the project management using agile method is not
suitable to be implemented in all organizations. The goals, mission, aim and
the process flow of the works and processes within an institution must be
reviewed for the project to be implemented and managed using the agile
approach. A school has to specify its
goals and objectives prior to adopting this method. It is paramount to note
that a model that works for one institution of learning may not necessary work
for the other due to differences in the courses and schedules offered. In the
same manner, an agile management approach that works for a certain level such
as high school may not be adopted for a college or a university.
key challenge that arises in this process is finding a reliable, well acquitted
and understanding project manager with skills, experience and ability to
provide management and coordination of the stakeholders of the project. Creation
of virtual classes will involve teachers and students that are not familiar
with the jargon of programming. Therefore, the project manager must provide a
balance between external processes in the project development and internal
processes and interpret user requirements effectively. To achieve this with
effectiveness, the project manager must be well acquitted with the agile
development method (Goncalves & Heda, 2010).
This challenge arises since experienced managers are hard to acquire and when
they are acquired they tend to be expensive. This provides a negative effect on
the cost, scope and time expected to deliver the project. The customer may
hasten their project delivery times to ensure that the costs are kept to a
minimum. Consequently, some features of the project may not be fully
implemented. In the maintenance process, the agile project development approach
cannot be fully applied to systems that did not adopt the development approach
agile development process is prone to a number of misconceptions that people
attribute with the process. Despite this, the misconceptions do not reduce the
productivity or the power of the process. Some of the major misconceptions that
are held concerning the approach are outlined below.
assume that the practitioners of this approach do not plan. However, this is a
misguided misconception as a lot of detail has to be laid down in the planning
project management can be accomplished with few resources and without the need
for a project manager. The success of the agile project management approach
solely lies on the commitment, availability and the experience of the project
manager. The manager is responsible for evaluating the development process and
determining what is to be done, by who and at what specific time and for how
definition and analysis are seen as being disregarded using this approach and
most people, especially customers assume that their contributions to the
process is being disregarded. However, unlike the other processes, the approach
takes into account the contribution of the end users in all the phases of the
development. Therefore, the requirement definition and analysis may not be seen
in the initial phase as evidenced using the traditional approaches but can be
evidenced in all the changes that are incorporated in the development of the
The success of implementing the agile process lies in the
ability to manage and maintain a project portfolio. A good project portfolio
outlines the aims of a process and the suitable projects that the methodology
can be implemented. The agile approach is suitable for experimental and
innovative projects such as a virtual classroom. Therefore, for emergent projects
whose requirements are not fully grasped in the initial phase, this process can
be used as the requirements will be realized during the iterations phase and
when the first few prototypes are delivered to the customer (Christiansen, Turkina & Williams, 2013).
Using this method, the initial prototype will be redefined to meet the needs of
the customer as their needs evolve based on the functionality offered.