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Activity4: Experience, practice and reflection

Allow about 40 minutes for this activity.

Acrucial setting for your learning in this module will be the workplace (in the broad sense we referred to earlier). In BU130, you will be taking a fresh look at your workplace to see if you can incorporate some of the ideas that you will read about on this module.

The approach we have taken means that there won’t be quite as much reading for you to do as in many Open University modules at this level, but instead you will devote
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Rights not set

3.4 Communicating your request

There is a real tension between being both personal and impersonal at the same time, appealing to individuals as you appeal to thousands. The widespread aversion to junk mail, telephone selling and email spamming means you have only a brief moment to capture the interest and attention of your audience. This poses a dilemma: how to persuade your audience that your case warrants this attention without the dangers associated with using shock tactics, being too slick or gimmicky. Through careful
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4.2.3 Restating the problem

If your analysis of the problem and its possible causes is thorough, it should enable you to rewrite the problem statement to include the causes. If you can clarify your objective by defining a desired end-state, you are more likely to produce a good solution.


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4.2 Problem solving

Involving the whole team in the problem-solving process shows that you value their experience and knowledge in devising a solution. It may also be appropriate to involve other stakeholders and/or the project sponsor. If problems are solved jointly there is usually wider ownership of the solutions and their implications; and, if more resources are agreed to be needed or new procedures are put into place, there is also likely to be more support.

Problem solving can be broken down into a s
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4.1 Dealing with risk

Projects are high-risk activities, and it is in the early stages that uncertainty is greatest. Some of this uncertainty can be removed during design and planning, but in practice a great deal may remain. Risks can be ranked according to their probability and likely impact, and a risk log can be kept detailing this information. Throughout the progress of the project you will need to review your risk log, to check whether any risks have become either more or less probable, and whether any new r
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2.3 Interdependency of systems

The control system approach to project control provides a simple overview of the process of planning, measuring against the plan and taking action to bring things back into line if necessary. This suggests that events will move in a fairly linear way. Life is messier than this, however, and every time that something happens it will have an impact on everything else around it – so the interdependency of systems is important to consider.

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5 Summary

The aim of this Unit has been to give you an introductory overview of operations management. Operations is one of the central functions of all organisations The first learning outcome was that you should be able to ‘define “operations” and “operations management”’. I took the view in this session that operations embraces all the activities required to create and deliver an organisation's goods or services to its customers or clients.

The second outcome was that you sh
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2.8 Network analysis

One of the weaknesses of simple charts for planning and control is that they do not show how tasks are dependent on each other. Network analysis (or critical path analysis) seeks to overcome that drawback, particularly where large or specialist projects are concerned. The critical path is found as a result of the analysis of the network. There are many computer software packages which can help a manager to carry out a network analysis.


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2.6.2 Cohere

Cohere  is an experimental knowledge mapping tool that runs on the web, connecting you and your ideas to other learners with common interests.


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1.6 Evaluation matrices

When there are several courses of action, then one way of thinking clearly about the advantages and drawbacks of the different courses is to compile an evaluation matrix.

Box 1: Six steps to creating an evaluation matrix

  1. List the various options.

  2. <
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1 The planning phase

Once the project brief has been agreed by the project sponsors and approved by the main stakeholders, you can move into the detailed planning phase. The project plan can become a working tool that helps to keep the project team focused on the project's tasks and activities and points them towards completion. It enables managers to keep track of resources, time and progress towards achieving objectives.

All projects are different and the planning for each will be different. The difficult
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Learning outcomes

At the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • develop plans with relevant people to achieve the project's goals;

  • break work down into tasks and determine handover procedures;

  • identify links and dependencies, and schedule to achieve deliverables;

  • estimate and cost the human and physical resources required, and make plans to obtain the necessary resources;

  • allocate roles with clear lines of responsibility and accountabil
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4.7 T is for Timeliness

The date when information was produced or published can be an important aspect of quality. This is not quite as simple as saying that 'good' information has to be up to date.

Activity

Here is an example of a news item from an onli
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4.3 R is for Relevance

Relevance is an important factor to consider when you are evaluating information. It isn’t so much a property of the information itself but of the relationship it has with your question or your ‘information need’. For example, if you are writing an essay about the portrayal of jealousy in the nineteenth century European novel a book or website about Shakespeare’s Othello would not be relevant. So there are a number of ways in which a piece of information may not be relevant to your qu
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4.2 P is for Presentation

By presentation, we mean, the way in which the information is communicated. You might want to ask yourself:

  • Is the language clear and easy to understand?

  • Is the information clearly laid out so that it is easy to read?

  • Are the fonts large enough and clear?

  • Are the colours effective? (e.g. white or yellow on black can be difficult to read)

  • If there are graphics or photos, do they help
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3.8 Internet resources

There are many websites where you will find useful information for business and management. With all information on the internet you need to make a judgement on the reliability of the information.

Interactive Investor InternationalA good market data site, offering a mixture of real-time, dela
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1.1 Assessing your current level of knowledge

If you explore all the resources and activities in this unit, you might need to allow between two and nine hours to complete it.

Before you read this guide, why not use the self-assessment questions on the following screens to rate your current level of knowledge?

Print or save these questions and for each question, mark the most appropriate number on the scale. When you have finished, you can review your answers. A score of three of less might indicate a gap in your know
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2.1 Early beginnings – From magic to medicine

The life sciences sector, and its precursor the pharmaceutical industry, has a long and rich history. Pharmaceuticals, which are defined as compounds manufactured for use as medicinal drugs (remedies), date back to 2735 BC and the Chinese Dynasty of Shen Nung. Their development can be traced through ancient Hindu, Egyptian and Mediterranean civilisations. The word ‘pharmaceutical’ originates from the Greek pharmakon, meaning ‘drug’. In t
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