This week was my first struggle week, where I found the content of the course a little difficult to digest, and also a little frustrating.
The biggest problem for me was the dawning realisation that while I’m solving so many problems as part of the course, and putting together so many SMART action plans, I’m never actually able to put any of them into practice because no sooner have I finished one, I’m onto the other!
I’m beginning to worry that the pace of the course is too quick for it to be of any real use to a practising manager. Maybe I just had a generally bad week.
I’m now fully up-to-date with the diary, and almost up-to-date with my mind maps and Evernote lists. The studies are going well, I’m enjoying the course, and I think it’s really helping me in my day-to-day job.
The hardest part about management is definitely the communication part, which is not easy for someone who has mainly talked to machines in code for the last twenty years. However, picking up all kinds of communication skills and developing what I already have is making me a better person.
Well actually it was done over a week ago. I’m still managing to stay two weeks ahead, which is good for the holiday I have coming up. My only concern is that if I go away for two weeks and don’t even look at my coursebook, I’ll come back so demotivated that I’ll struggle to get into my studies and will fall behind. I know what I’m like!
Anyway, I chose the management information option for my TMA, simply because I felt that the management information problem activity I completed as part of week five was stronger than the one I completed as part of week four, when I looked at a management control problem.
The TMA wasn’t that hard to do, but it did involve a lot of study of the assessment booklet, and checking off of requirements that I needed to fulfill. I can see how so many people get this wrong, and miss things. Thankfully, my experience as a tester, and dealing with complex requirements paid off, and I think I’ve put together a good TMA.
One of the hardest things at first was padding out the exercise I did as part of week five. There weren’t enough words in there, and I knew it wasn’t enough as it stood. The solution was to work through the requirements and make sure everything was fulfilled. This pretty much padded out the assignment length to the required 1400 words for the report.
Statement on practice
The statement on practice was eye-opening, because it required a little soul-searching to complete.
I very nearly messed the statement on practice up because I missed a critical requirement specified in the assessment booklet – that is to only consider improvements I have made that had corresponding activities from one of the preceding weeks. I very nearly wrote about potential problem analysis, but then spotted this little requirement, and changed to writing about general management control loop improvements – part of which was implementing potential problem analysis.
One of the biggest pains about the TMA was putting all the activities together into one document. This isn’t technically a requirement for the TMA submission, but our tutor asked us to do it during the day school, so I did it to keep him sweet.
I’m seriously behind with my learning diary. This is quite ironic, because I’m still two weeks ahead with my studies. I suppose the latter is most important, but I really need to start keeping up with this learning diary. I’m not altogether sure of the value of it yet, but it may turn out to be unexpectedly useful.
So, the next few posts will be backtracking – I need to cover what I learnt in weeks four and five, my experiences of writing the TMA in week six, and what I learnt in week seven, which I’ve just completed.
I’m also a little behind with my lists and mind maps, which I like to do to help commit my learning to memory. This could be a busy weekend…
So far, I’m not finding the workload too bad. Apart from the online activities which I can’t do yet as I have to wait for everyone else to get up to speed, I’ve now completed week three. According to the course plan, I should be finishing off week one around now, so good progress so far!
I’m lucky in the sense that I do have a couple of hours spare every evening, and a few extra hours spare in the mornings at weekends. It’s also proving to be a good thing that I commute a lot, as I can listen to the course materials in the car while driving to work.
I’ve been forgetting to keep the learning diary, but hopefully I’m going to get back on track with this.
Shame I don’t seem to have much more time for the Critical Thinking book – I was really enjoying that.