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December 06, 2009

CBE PMA

Today is the last day for our PMA assignment period.  During the last 6 weeks, besides working on the PMA, i attended another 2 modules and wrote ideas about my dissertation.  But this blog is going to be about the PMA.

This is my first PMA and also my first 5000-word paper in my life.  It is challenging and it takes me much time to do research on the topic.  Actually, I think I have spent too much time.  But, as this is my first time to write this kind of academic paper, I hope I can learn from this experience and manage my time better next time.

I love my topic which is about supplier relationship.  I really wanna learn more about it that's why I choose this question.  Doing this question is a bit like doing our mini-projects.  Why I say so is because we didn't talk much about this issue in the module week.  I have to learn more about this all by myself.  I found that's not as difficult as before.  Maybe the reason is because I get used to it already? I'm not quite sure.  But I believe it is an improvement.

Moreover, after finished writing this paper, I think I understand more about the EFQM.  Before this, my concept about the EFQM is about achieving overall business excellence.  But now, I know that the EFQM model can be more specific to deal with business problems like the supplier relationship.

To conclude, I feel really good to have this chance to write about partnership and I enjoy the learning process, though it took me too much time.  I really hope that what I will have chances in the future to put what I have learnt in this module into practice.


November 10, 2009

PMI online learning Part 1

I finished the PMI online learning Part 1 about the selecting priorities last night.  I think this is an easy, convenient learning method.  I can control my time.  And the pace is good and it is very clear with the example for us to follow.  I like using this.

Alright, I am going to talk about what I have learnt in the first part of the online learning.

The PMI Improvement cycle helps improving business process.  The first stage is selecting priorities and the very fisrt step is to select a strategic issue to address.  Sometimes, when we realize there are some problems in the business process, we deal with them all together.  But it doesn't work because you aim at solving the problem without understanding.  Thus, we need to focus on one particular issue at a time to study and find out the solution through understanding.  This makes me think of the mini-projects for CBE.  When I first got the 6 mini-projects questions, I just wanted to learn all the module materials online so that I might be able to answer the question.  My problem was I did not focus on particular topic or model to learn and it's not effective as I didn't have a learning direction.  After the first meeting with my teammates, I learnt that we could deal with the questions one by one and that made things easier for me.  I think it is, in fact, a simple theory.  But human tends to forget the most fundamental knowledge.  I keep in mind this experience and I think this helps me in dealing with multiple tasks.  In last two weeks, I was busy with the project proposal, study skills assignment and PMA.  I priortize these things and so far I feel quite good to handle these one by one.  Of course, sometimes when I got bored in writing the study skills assignment, I read materials for the project.  But I think I was more focus at a time when I am doing a particular thing.  So, that's good, right?!:-)

Then, I have also learnt the project charter, SIPOC, project contract and so.

Another thing that I found interesting about is the people involved in the improvement process.  This is important to include different levels from the company.  Communication is essential.  I think this is easy for a small company like in the example.  I just doubt about how possible can we do it in a big company?  I remember what I learnt about the learning organization. Paul told us to change the company culture within our own department first and then to influence the whole company.  This is very ideal and I think it needs strong belief in this philosophy and has to insist on it.  This is challenging.

Just a quick thoughts about business process improvement.  I used to think that after realizing the problem, what next should be finding a solution.  I don't know the improvement actually takes a period of time and that can be several months.  That's interesting.  Though it's much more complex than what I thought, I think what I learnt so far do helps a lot and are very useful.^^

Reference:
Actually, I am not sure how to write the reference for the PMI online learning.  Could anyone help me?
Sorry for missing the reference at this moment.


October 25, 2009

Seminars

One thing that I really impress a lot about my first module is the seminar. I love the idea that we can first discuss with our group mates and someone should be responsible for presenting the group ideas to the class. Clustering the ideas helps us understand more about the topic because it guides us to link different ideas together. The small presentation is something like impromptu speech. It gives us more practices on our oral English which we cannot prepare a lot. Then, we will discuss the topic in the class. I appreciate the way of thinking of my classmates. I do not have much business background. Sometimes, my mind is actually blank. And sometimes I may not think in the way as others do but I really learn a lot from them. For me, business is something ambiguous and vague. I learn about the models and the theory, but I am not sure about the application. Through discussion in the seminar, I gain more knowledge and different way of thinking which I believe can help me in some way. (I can’t express myself well about this feeling.) If we could have more time, I definitely want more seminars!

I was too busy during the week. I did mark down the things that I have learnt during the seminars. But I think I need more time to organize my thinking.

I still have so many things to express about my first module.  But, I have not fixed the internet at home yet.  I think I will write more next week as the sky goes dark and it's time to go home for a girl.


Time management

Paul said, ‘we always have multiple deadlines.’

This is very true. So, the only solution is to manage our time well.

One-year master programme is really harsh. We need to work very hard, much harder than the time when we have our undergraduate studies. My friends said they haven’t noticed I work that hard before. Yes, I work much harder than before even compared with my A-levels. This is my first time to read soooo much reference journals or books. But I find it very challenging and I enjoy this way of learning so far.

Beside academic studies, I also join the badminton club and volleyball club. I believe I can handle these, as I don’t have much other entertainment except cooking here in the UK. I’ll try out new things, like exploring new towns in the weekends. I understand that the master programme is the reason why I am staying here, but I hope I can enjoy my life in Warwick and make good use of every moment here. So, it is a challenge for my time management skills and I believe in myself. The key thing is we need to choose among all those fascinating choices and make a balance between the important issues and our entertainments. We need to relax under such an intensive learning environment. That’s why I choose sports!

It’s only my 3rd week. So far I can handle things quite well. Many deadlines or PMAs or academic works are coming to challenge me. I know time management is a life long lesson for everyone. My postgraduate programme is a rehearsal for my working life. I hope I can continue enjoy my life here and I am ready for any challenges ahead.


CBE

Maybe this blog will be something similar that will appear in my reflection on the CBE course in the PMA.

My first module week has done. I experienced a new way of learning in MBE. As what Paul has said, what we are doing is similar to the reality when we start our career. For example, tasks are assigned without many instructions. We may be required to learn something totally new to us by ourselves. There are lots of presentations, too. We have to learn a professional way of presenting and I learned some presentation skills this week. Seminar gives us opportunity to discuss and express our opinions and I really learn a lot from it. Of course, the most important thing is time-management because we usually have multiple tasks and we have to handle them in a nice way.

CBE gives us a brief idea about the MBE modules in the coming year. Before I came here, I only know that the course is about management aiming for business excellence. I don’t know what exactly in the course. CBE gives me a big picture of what I am going to learn. I think this is good because it guides us on how we should face the coming challenges and equip us to do better for the coming modules.

The following task is the PMA. I have set the schedule for my study and I hope I will follow it tightly as time management is the key point for my course.


October 20, 2009

Mini project one

Our first mini-project has done!  Paul said all the groups did well and I totally agree with that.  Before that, I thought doing presentation on the same topic for 4 teams would be a waste of time.  This was because all materials we based on usually found from the library database search engine.  I read blogs from others that contain information which I have found the same source on the web.  Thus, what I expect for the presentation would be quite similar for every group.  To my surprise, there were lots of differences in the outcome.  I start looking forward to the other mini-projects.

Apart from learning the exact knowledge about ISO, EFQM, audit and self-assessment, etc., we got feedback from Paul about our presentation skills and things to notice when making our powerpoint.

Actually, I did learn from my teammates.  One of my problem in making presentation in front of the class is that I can't do it without notecards.  I try to write only the main points in my card and expect myself to elaborate two to three lines more about the topic but I can't do it.  What is in my mind is quite striaghtforward, that's why I can't elaborate when doing presentation.  I find difficulty in elaborating myself when writing, too.  Can the reason be that I don't have enough knowledge about the topic? I read a lot and have much information in fact.  But the way my mind works is just too straightforward.  I can't explain that and I try to find way to improve.  Thus, I am very attentive when others are doing their presentation and I hope I can learn the way they develop their points.  Actually, I realize this problem long time ago.  Can anyone give me some advice?

Right, my group did spend too much time on the mini-project one.  So, gotta start doing the others. See ya=]


Meetings, meetings, meetings!

Yesterday, the ''official'' CBE module week began.  We started by doing a role play.  Each of us had a role, that is to be one of the managers of a hotel.  In the meeting, we got lots to discuss.  This was interesting.  I couldn't imagine that we actually escaped from the classroom and felt like in the scenario.

I used to have meetings in my previous university life because I was the committee member of several clubs.  I enjoyed having meetings with my friends and our efficiency was high.  Thus, I believe that meetings were quite simple for me.  Moreover, our teams had meetings for several times last week for the mini-projects.  I thought we can communicate quite well and the task would be easy for us.  However, yesterday in my group, we did not manage the time well and could not able to finish what we had to do.  I started to reflect on this and tried to figure out the reasons.

One of the main reason for that was the role of the chairperson was not clear enough.  In meetings, we should agree to have a leader to control, to take to lead to the discussion and to manage the time.  Everyone of us got a lot we want to discuss.  We all came together at the beginning of the meeting without knowing the things in others' mind.  So, a solution to that is to set an agenda and set a time limit for every item.

At the end of the activity, Paul asked as to give feedback to our colleague.  He was right, this is a safe environment to learn.  We did give contructive comments for our friend.  I hope what we gain from the role play can be put into practice, espectially for our mini-projects.  Actually, I wish to be the chairperson and hear feedback from my teammates.


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