How the Team Worked
Every member of the team was provided with a copy of readily available project management software. The piece of software allowed the members of the ThinkQuest team to work together both efficiently and effectively.
The project management workspace allowed the team to keep important files and information in one central place, without the hassle of setting up a network or a server. The project management program contains tools that allows for easy communication and sharing of files. The tools that used by the team were:
- Task List
- This allowed the team to see what tasks need to be done
- Tasks were set priorities (Critical, Urgent, Important, Trivial) and deadlines
- Tasks were assigned to certain people or groups
- The times and dates of meetings were put on the project management software along with attendees, agendas and minutes
- A calendar that all of the members of the team could access and add dates to
- This contained deadlines, important school dates such as holidays and meeting dates
- The notepad allowed members of the team to post useful links and information such as photo requests
- The discussion tool allowed the team to create threads asking for help or opinions concerning different aspects of the site
- The files section allowed members of the team to store files, including photos and content, in a place where the other members of the team could view them easily
- "Just for fun"
- This allowed real time discussion of problems and decisions,
- This was especially useful during school holidays where the team would not see each other for a relatively long time.
The members of the team could update the workspace at school or at home. All of the files and information on the project management program are stored on the users computer which means that they can access the files even if they didn't have access to the internet at that time, the workspace automatically synchronises making sure that all users have access to the latest versions of files and information.
The ThinkQuest team had weekly meetings, every Friday morning. In these meetings each team member updated the rest on what they had been doing over the week. The meetings also allowed face to face discussion about various parts of the website, or the implementation of the EcoLearning initiatives.
During the meetings the Project Management Workspace was updated, tasks that had been completed were removed, deadlines were changed and new tasks added. Minutes were taken for each meeting by a team member and these were uploaded into the project management software. The meetings were attended by all members of the team where possible, using Instant Messaging to communicate with team members abroad or away. Occasionally, meetings were also conducted via VoIP conference calls.
Site Construction Scripting
We hosted the entire site on a seperate web server, using Server-Side Programming languages such as PHP to template the entire site. This made it possible to change any feature up until the last minute, when the site was processed and compiled into HTML. All team members had access to the raw scripting files on the server, and several learnt HTML and PHP for the first time for the project.
We communicated with many external experts and staff, using our EcoLearning email addresses. Frequently VoIP was used, Instant Messaging software, and regular telephone communication.