Sunday, 2 September 2012

Design: ALP Stage 2

I have been exploring some different ways of presenting the Action Learning Pathway for my Permaculture Diploma and also looking for tools to help me structure it most effectively. I was quite taken with the idea of considering the Diploma as a 'project' and using a Gantt chart to serve both the purposes described above.

I don't have any background in producing/using Gantt charts, just a basic concept of their operation, so this is experimentation with the form. I'm planning that learning how to use one for this purpose, will support me in using them on other projects in the future.

I plumped for using the open-source freeware programme GanttProject 2.5.5 (available for Windows/Mac OSX and Linux). There are some video tutorials on how to use it:

I'm not sure if it's going to completely suit my purposes, but if nothing else it has introduced me to the concept of the PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) chart. I think I encountered this idea before, while doing (the largely useless( APM Certificate in Project Management, but it wasn't described as a PERT chart then. I used GanttProject's inbuilt functionality to turn my ALP Gantt into a PERT, the end result looked a bit skewy - so I messed about with it to create the top graphic - which felt like the first tolerable output of the whole process, but has probably totally messed up the standard PERT infographic. Also, I don't understand the different colours in the diagram, I think they must relate to something I did at the input stage.

I obviously need to get to grips with Gantts, PERTs and GanttProject a bit more to realise their potential - but my main learning from this process has been that using these tools is over-engineering and over-complicating the task I need to achieve right now. As a personal project, the Diploma does not have the range of other players a large project might have & I should be able to come up with a reasonable timetable without going to the lengths of a Gantt project schedule.

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