Give Me Some Sunshine!

Everything has come to a halt. I feel like I am in a dark world. It’s been a long wait and it continues. When would the sun rise? Whooosh! Maybe, this was a little dramatic but, it is the reality. I am sitting here working on the milestones that are under my control, worrying about the most important details, regretting my decisions and the funny part is that I can’t do anything about it. So, what did I decide? Just go with flow, work on all other milestones, stay on task, have productive working days, stay honest to my project and work hard. Maybe you weren’t expecting this based on what you read in my last blog, but I have concluded that, this is what Propel is all about. Don’t worry. Don’t feel sad for me. There is a happy ending to this phase of mine.

Two weeks ago, I would have been completely lost and in tears, if I didn’t have the Gantt Chart to my rescue. I had no idea of what my next steps were. Because of the nature of my project, it was hard for me to understand the importance of one milestone over the other. Using a Gantt chart helped me to organize my milestones in an orderly manner and then work on them. Oh wait! I am sorry, I forgot to tell you what a Gantt Chart is? A Gantt Chart, like any other thing, was designed to save human effort and time. Imagine having a project plan on a paper with all the sticky notes and highlighters. You would want something easier. Well, Gantt Chart is there for you.

A Gantt chart is a visual representation of progress of the project you are working on. It is a timeline with all the important dates on it. On a Gantt Chart you can easily see the start date of the project, what the project tasks are, who is working on each task, when tasks start and finish, how long each task will take, how tasks group together, overlap and link with each other and, the most important the finish date of the project. You can use a Gantt Chart to plan and schedule projects, tasks, tasks across multiple projects and, teams’ work.

Did you know? The Gantt chart was named after Henry Gantt, and many think he was the one who first had the idea of project planning on bar charts. Well, that’s not entirely true. Karol Adamiecki devised the first “Gantt” chart, back in 1896. He came up with the idea of displaying processes visually so that he could make it easier to see production schedules. Henry Gantt had the same idea, but about 15 years later. I feel that Austin Kleon’s belief that ‘nothing is original, and everything is inspired from something else’ is definitely true sometimes.

This is what my Gantt Chart looks like:

new new new timeline

This gantt chart has all the concrete milestones of my project in a bold red color. This chart has a calendar which includes a project day mentioned along with the actual date. Checking in the progress of your project is the most important thing as you move forward. As you can see, in between the milestones and the horizontal bars there some important numbers categorized in different columns. The five columns have numbers that represent the start day of the milestone, the days required to complete it, total action steps based on that milestone, actions steps completed until the present day and, percentage of milestone completed. The light yellow vertical bar represents the present day. This bar allows me to meet deadlines and to figure out what needs to be done until then. The dark purple part of the horizontal bar is what I have completed, and the light purple is what I still need to work on. The red vertical lines represent some important deadlines.

The important thing to notice is that I have no more project time after day 47. All the time after day 47 will be devoted on putting together the final presentation. The good thing is that my project will be completed way before day 47 and I will have a lot of time to work on my final presentation.

As we can see, I was not able to meet the first important deadline. To meet the deadline, I needed approval of the logistical details of the event. After subtracting the number of dark purple blocks on the right side of the yellow bar from the number of light purple blocks on the left side of the yellow bar, I conclude that I am one day behind. I feel that I can catch up. I am behind only because I personally have no control on those action steps. Due to year end around the corner, it is a busy season and that’s why the owner of McDonald’s is taking so long to approve those details.

My ability to not be able to complete those action steps have affected the other elements of my project. Though I have my press release ready, but I can’t send it because I need to put the necessary information on it. Similarly, I am can’t make the promotional flyers until I get that information. I am looking forward to receiving those details, by the end of this week.

The focus of the coming weeks is going to be on promoting and advertising the event. I will create promotional flyers with Mr. Hansen’s help. My goal is to promote most of the event using media opportunities and social media. Next week, I am also going to start planning the event design.

I am at a stage where receiving just one email with all the details of the event from the McDonald’s manager can lighten up my dark project world. That email is going to be my sunshine. The sunshine that I need the most!

Until next time,

Ridhima Singla

 

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It Feels Like a Roller Coaster Ride!

Imagine waking up in the morning and having only negative thoughts about your project, even while brushing your teeth. Last week, has been a similar one for me. I had no idea of what was happening to my project. Every morning I woke up stressed and wanting to cry. I could only think of things like- what if it didn’t work? What if I never got an approval? It was as if the entire week was full of what ifs. I really needed to talk to someone, and I couldn’t think of anyone better than my mom.

I talked to her about everything that I was going through. She made me feel better. She asked me not to give up and just keep working. Also, she gave me examples of some family members who had done great work and how they had to go through hardships and obstacles.

Then, I decided to stop telling myself that, I shouldn’t have changed my project idea during my proof of concept. I stopped worrying about the end product and decided to just work with honesty and a true heart. I started with finalizing a complete project idea by bringing together all the different elements.

For my project, my hope is to organize and host a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House in concert with McDonald’s restaurant (the St. Boniface Goulet location) and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club.

In this project, I will Collaborate with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football club. I want to have Blue Bombers come out to the Goulet McDonald’s location to draw the attention of the community and attract them to the restaurant. The players would engage with the customers and sign autographs for them.

The fundraising event would work according to the Profit Split Format. In this initiative, proceeds of revenue generated during the run time of the event would go towards Ronald McDonald House.

To stay organized I divided my entire project into key goals that I had to achieve in order to complete my project. Some of the most important milestones were the ones where I had to connect with different people such as, Mr. Obby Khan, McDonalds owners, Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club administration. Ronald McDonald House, etc. to collect information. Though this sounds easy, but it gave me a real hard time.

Since, all of them are busy people and have different duties, it got really tough for me to reach them. But, I tried my best. During this time, Outlook kind of became my best friend. Communicating with different people through emails helped me stay organized. I booked appointments, shared documents and it was all done through Outlook.

Mr. Hansen, my propel teacher, had already told me that my project is going to be the one where I will have to wait a lot. Though I was prepared for it, but I still got nervous and frustrated. I had to wait for email replies for more than a week. It felt like my heart literally skipped a beat when the McDonalds manager told me that it could take weeks to get an approval for the date. To add to my misery, I didn’t hear anything from the Ronald McDonald house for days. It was a stressful week with a lot of wait.

I got lucky because, soon the wait was over. I started getting replies from people. I met the Ronald McDonald House officials and talked to them about my project. I took a tour of the entire house and their family room. The McDonalds manager connected me to the owner and both of them, sounded really happy and supportive of my project.

In just two days, I could see all the elements of my project coming together. But, now is when the true hard work is going to start. In the coming week, I have to get approval for  the details that I have proposed for the fundraising event. Next, I am going to send out appearance request letters to the Blue Bombers administration. Also, I have to start planning about all the marketing events.

Though, the entire process of this project is going to be a roller coaster ride (you know, full of emotions), But I am very excited to begin the legitimate planning of every detail of this event and to see what the event would look like in the end.

 

I Left My Comfort Zone!

Those two weeks were really stressful. My proof of concept, as mentioned in the last blog, was about talking to different people and organizations- something I absolutely don’t like to do. I had to really push myself and stay motivated to get work done. I think my proof of concept went at a decent pace and it could have been better. I had the fear of planning more and more and not doing anything, but just because of this fear I think I probably didn’t plan enough. I could have planned a little more about my fundraising events in those two weeks to clarify things to myself at least.

The best thing about my project was that I learned how your ideas could change drastically based on your goals. For instance, I had never thought that just after one conversation with my career development teachers, I would change my project idea and would end up collaborating with McDonalds and WPG Blue Bombers. Apart from this, I learned that working on your own is not easy. It requires a lot of dedication and it was definitely not my piece of cake.

To get my project going in the right direction and to understand the entire setup of my project (how would it happen?), I started meeting people involved in my project. Two important people I met to just discuss my ideas were the St. Boniface McDonald’s restaurant manager and Obby Khan (a former blue bombers player). I had really good and productive conversations with them about possible ideas and collaboration. You know it’s a good conversation when the other person is responding well and shooting questions at you.

Presently, we just finished working on our big picture goals. This was the time when we visualized the project in our mind, to decide what it would look like and what it would accomplish once completed.

No one can really predict the future, but I pictured that my project once completed would benefit the Ronald McDonald Charity House. I would achieve this by hosting a fundraiser in collaboration with McDonald’s and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers club. As I said in my proof of concept presentation, I don’t wish my project to be a success, I wanna work hard towards making it a success.

Are You The One?

Are you a person who loves to create, explore, and work on something you are actually passionate about? Or let’s say, are you someone who thinks that, just writing an exam at the end of a school year is not the most effective way of learning? If yes, Propel is the right place for you my friend.

I acquired the ‘self-learning’ impression of Propel after attending different meetings in grade 10, and that’s why I joined this program. I am in the third week now. Looking back on the two weeks which quickly went by, I can say that I was amazed by some of the activities that we did. The escape room field trip was a fun-learning experience. I could know something interesting about each of my team mate in just one hour. The marshmallow spaghetti tower challenge involved a lot of shivering and screaming but, it was completely worth it.

Also, those weeks were full of small lessons which involved a lot of group discussion. Each lesson had a deep message in it.

Here is my takeaway from two of my favorite lessons:

Embrace the Shake: I really liked this ted talk because of its positivity. My favorite line was, ‘We need to first become limited to become limitless.” I liked the creative hidden message behind this video. The speaker asks us to embrace our limitations and then use them as a source of creativity. He says that learning is always inside the box, within the resources you have.

Steal like an Artist: Just like my other classmates, I was not quite convinced by the word ‘steal’. It can have a negative impact on anyone. The speaker in the video stresses the fact that ‘nothing is original!’ I agree with this thought but, not with the language he used. I believe that everything is inspired by something that already exists but that does not mean that nothing is original. Now if I didn’t like it, then why is it my favourite? Only because the visuals he used were very eye catching and kept the audience engaged in the presentation. That’s one thing which is very difficult to do, and he nailed it!

For the next two weeks we have a lot less lessons because we are working on our proof of concept. This is our time to show the teachers what we are capable of. In other words, the things which would bring us one step closer to our project and the things we can do on our own without their help.

My project is based on raising funds for charity. Within two weeks, my aim is to arrange meetings with as many institutions as possible. To have effective meetings I have to work on my professional communication skills. Two weeks from now, I will create a list of communications tips lists. The lists include:

  1. “Ridhima’s Top 10 Business Communication Tips”
  2. “Ridhima’s Top 10 Phone Communication Tips”
  3. “Ridhima’s Top 10 Business Meeting Tips”
  4. “Ridhima’s Top 10 Scheduling Tips”

This is to gain confidence. After four months, I want to have confidence in my voice for my final presentation.

Sometimes when I get worried about the end product of my project, I regret my decision of opting propel. But, I know that at the end of four months when I will walk out of this room, I would have something very fruitful in my hands .