According to Portney et al (2008), “The key to successful project management is effective communication – sharing the right messages with the right people in a timely manner. Communication may be informal, formal, written or verbal. Whatever form the communications take, project managers should plan and prepare so their messages are received and correctly interpreted by project audiences”.

     This week we looked at three different modalities of communication: email, voicemail, and face to face (vis à vis).  In an email, there is an interpretation issue. The way it reads, it could be construed as being a little “bossy”. There is no way to accurately convey tone in an email. I believe this should be a third choice if a project team is in the same building(s). 

One could change the font  and color so it is not perceived in a wrong light for other than its true purpose: to get the required data so the other team member can submit their report on time.

     Voicemail is a little better than email in that one can convey tone, context and meaning using voice. However, as with email, one cannot be sure that this project team member will open the voicemail in time to send the necessary data.

     Face to face communication is a better way to get the information one needs if they are located in the same area(s). It is more personalized, can convey meaning and context, and more motivation for the team member(s).

    The factors that influenced this decision: face to face communication is more effective because it is more personalized. It also best conveyed the message that she may miss her deadline. She is able to connect with the team member and they can also iron out any wrinkles in the transfer of information.

     Not everyone is comfortable with vis à vis contact. So voicemail should be a second option of communication. They may not check their mail on a regular basis and may “miss something”. If they do not check in regularly, it could cause Jane to miss her deadline.

     The last option would be that if one needed a confirmation, email would be a good avenue. However it still does not minimize the chances for a misunderstanding.




Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Effective Communication

Effective Communication

By “Dean Jacobs”


In the Case of Beth Owens and the Culinary Arts Program we have some challenges. They each come at their instruction methods in different manners. Beth finds Chef Reiner’s (Chef) behavioral methods conflict with her constructivist background. Beth’s challenge is to find a way to retain and support the students they have and also to promote the Culinary Arts Program.

As the Project Manager, Dean Jacobs could help promote a positive interaction and communication between Chef and his students (stakeholders) by hosting an informal meeting so everyone can learn about the direction that Chef wants to take the Program. It is also necessary that the students see and understand that the Dean also supports his instructor, Chef Reiner.

As the ID, Beth needed to learn more about the Culinary Arts Program, safe food handling procedures, and how to provide positive constructive feedback to culinary arts students. She could do this by examining her own beliefs about constructivism and find a way to integrate those with Chef’s behaviorist approach.

As Dean Jacobs, there are a few things to consider. First, what are the rules and regulations guiding a “kitchen” in the culinary world? Second, does Chef abide by these rules and regulations? Third, I, the Dean, need to sit down with Chef and have a meeting with him to find out what kinds of issues there are from Chef’s perspective. At this point, I already have a pretty good “idea” of the issues some of the students were having. However, it may be constructive to have a meeting with the students as well after my meeting with Chef.

In the culinary world, regardless if one starts at Wendy’s or in their own kitchen, there are food safety issues that need to be addressed. Have you ever wondered WHY there are these neat little 8 x 11 sheets of paper in the windows of the drive thru or posted in the restaurants with a GRADE on them? What about the signs in the restrooms stating that ALL EMPLOYEES MUST WASH THEIR HANDS BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK?

As a former Wendy’s crew person, Crew Leader and Assistant Manager, Line cook (Pantry, Grill, and Sauté) and Prep Cook at The Biltmore Estate, Line cook (Dessert, Pantry, Grill, and Sauté) at Champion Hills Country Club, and various other restaurants, THE most important issue is safe food handling procedures. One may see signs posted that state something to the effect that a certain person has completed ServSafe Certification from the NRA (National Restaurant Association). (This is a big deal in my opinion. I carried a ServSafe Card for years.) Part of the scores one sees on the GRADE signs includes points for having ServSafe certified people on staff. When the Health Inspector comes around to inspect and give you your GRADE (hopefully an A), you hope that the folks that have the certifications are working that day so you can get the extra points. (DO NOT eat anywhere that has a score less than an A. You are asking for intestinal troubles and maybe more.)

Personally, I agree with Chef and his method of holding the students accountable for their appearance and production. First of all, who wants to eat food from someone with long stringy hair hanging down, different colors of chipped nail polish, dangling earrings, and 2 or 3 rings on each finger and thumb? THAT would be a BACTERIA’s dream come true! All those places to hide and breed and the opportunities to make people sick! It would be like Disney World for them if they had feelings – they would be so happy! What should I think about dirty and dull knives and equipment? The first thing that crosses is my mind is cross contamination and food borne illnesses.

The second issue is their production skill: how well do they listen, take direction, how fast do they produce good quality food consistently? Once they get out of culinary school and they have their “paper”, they have an opportunity to be a Chef. There are many levels and types of chefs. If one wants to achieve the Level of Executive Chef (Project Manager), he/ she will need to excel in all areas of the restaurant and hospitality industry. The most notable Culinary Arts Program is The Culinary Institute of America.

“CIA is a private, not-for-profit college dedicated to providing the world’s best professional culinary education. Excellence, leadership, professionalism, ethics, and respect for diversity are the core values that guide our efforts. We teach our students the general knowledge and specific skills necessary to live successful lives and to grow into positions of influence and leadership in their chosen profession.”

– See more at: http://www.ciachef.edu/about-the-cia/#sthash.bcMQqg2S.dpuf

I liken how CIA teaches to how Chef Reiner is instructing his students. He is requiring and holding them to higher standards so they may succeed in the culinary world and life. The ability to communicate effectively is crucial to the success of a project (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer, 2008). Sometimes it is brutal, back breaking work. But the reward and the satisfaction from having pulled off a lunch of 400 guests (with 4 cooks on the line) ordering à la carte between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM is incredible and makes you want to do it all again the next day!

How many jobs do you know of that would accept your coming to work late, leaving early, being idle, not cleaning up after yourself and your work area, wearing dirty clothes, etc.? Maybe a plumber’s helper could get by with the dirty clothes. Which Project Manager would want a person who did not listen or take direction, be respectful of others, work as a TEAM, or be mindful of project costs and being on time in submitting their projects?

There may be ways for Beth to mesh her constructivist point of view with the necessary behaviorist approach of Chef. Behaviorists Skinner et albelieve “that meaning exists in the world separate from personal experience. The goal of understanding is to come to know the entities, attributes, and relations that exist in this objective reality. Frames instructional goals in specific, behavioral, observable terms. The behavioral approach is concerned with immediate, recognizable changes in behavior.” Beth needs to understand that in the culinary world, results have to be immediate or within a reasonable time frame depending on what the issue is. If it is an issue in sanitation, a student can be re-trained. If it is an issue in appearance, this is easily correctable if the student is willing to listen and the feedback is given in a positive manner.

Constructivists, like Beth and Vygotsky et al, “Hold that learners impose meaning on the world, and so “construct” their own understanding based on their unique experiences. Frames instructional goals in experiential terms: specifying the kinds of learner problems addressed; the kinds of control learners exercise over the learning environment; the activities in which they engage and the ways those activities could be shaped by leaders or instructors; and the ways in which learners reflect on the results of their activity together.”

Chef and Beth can work together to mesh these two approaches because they really are not too far apart in reality. The stakeholders (student learners) have control over their learning environment when they abide by food safety and sanitation guidelines. They construct meaning and understanding through the creation of product. The activities, shaped by the Chef (instructor/leader), engage the students to create meaning through their food. Each student has a unique experience but for it to be “measured” in the culinary world, the goals have to be specific, measurable, and observable. It is “important to clarify to ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them and what their responsibilities will be for the project” (Portny, et al., 2008). There is some information left out of this scenario, too much to write about, however, it is a doable project. I would be excited to take on Beth’s role!Image


Ertmer, P., & Quinn, J. (2007). The id casebook: Case studies in instructional design (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Instructional Design Approaches, n.d. Retrieved from depts.washington.edu/…/Instructional%20Design%20Approaches.htm‎. November 2013.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010a). Communicating with stakeholders. [Video webcast] [with Dr. Harold Stolovitch] Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4065699_1%26url%3D

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010b). Practitioner voices: Strategies for working with stakeholders. [Video webcast] [with Troy Achong & Vince Budrovich] Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4065699_1%26url%3D

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010c). Project management concerns: Communication strategies and organizational culture. [Video webcast] [with Dr. Harold Stolovitch] Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4065699_1%26url%3D

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

A Killer In Your Fridge ~ Sweet Poison…A MUST READ


In October of 2001, my sister started getting very sick. She had stomach spasms and she was having a hard time getting around. Walking was a major chore. It took everything she had just to get out of bed; she was in so much pain.

By March 2002, she had undergone several tissue and muscle biopsies and was on 24 various prescription medications. The doctors could not determine what was wrong with her. She was in so much pain, and so sick she just knew she was dying.

She put her house, bank accounts, life insurance, etc., in her oldest daughter’s name, and made sure that her younger children were to be taken care of.

She also wanted her last hooray, so she planned a trip to Florida (basically in a wheelchair) for March 22nd.

On March 19, I called her to ask how her most recent tests went, and…

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Post Mortem

El Manual De Los Padres


Las Manos Auxiliares Que Forman El Mañana



One of my projects was to create a Spanish Parent Handbook. When I arrived at my job they only had an English version. I arrived at my job in October. By the end of the year I had my first Spanish Parent Handbook completed and ready for distribution. Most of the children had been in school since July. I made sure there were copies in each classroom and where we kept family resources. When we had a new child sign up, the parents also received a handbook in English or Spanish.

The project was a success because I did most of it at home on my own time. I was not happy with the fact that roughly 30% of our families had no idea what the rules and policies were much less where to find resources if they needed them.

Each year the parent handbook is updated. Some years had more updates than others that needed to be translated. I started asking for updates in February. We had one school that was year-round. School let out in June and started back the first week after the 4th of July. I needed to have the handbook done, preferably by May 31. From February to the end of June, I was singing children up for the new school year to begin in July.

Although I did not need help in the translation aspect of the document, I did need the co-operation of the “management staff”. I asked the most important questions . . . When woud they know their information and when could they get it to me? The only thing I asked in return was for a one month deadline. I really needed to have their information ASAP so I could translate it at work and not on my own time. I did not get paid for my time and it took away time from my own family.

Each year was difficult. One person in particular was on the ball and always had her information UTD and color coded for me. It was important that I know what was to be deleted (red) and what was new (blue). This was a big help. The first year she color coded for me was the most difficult year. Folks kept making changes and I had to keep up with two translations plus the new translation I was working on. It was quite maddening close to the end.

It would have been great if we could have agreed on the deadline and stuck to it. Although I had asked for a specific deadline, no one really cared enough or respected the project enough to maintain a deadline. The reason for starting so early in the year was for the folks who dragged their collective rears – the same ones who could not keep to the deadline.

The positive side was that I could work on it little by little and not interfere too much with my day to day duties. The negative side was having to ask for extra time after work to finish because all of a sudden I had to meet their “deadline”.

The most gratifying aspect of the project was that my Hispanic families finally had a handbook to refer to if they had any questions. I received several “gracias” from my families. It helped them to feel more of a part of their child’s school and their education.