In my entire time at Ann Richards, I have never felt as much pressure as I do for my 2016 spring semester DAP project. The pressure isn’t that of stress, or of difficulty, it is the pressure of the fact that my project is completely different than everyone else’s, and that’s something that is out of my control, yet strangely, very much in my control as well.
I have been tasked with becoming the “Project Manager” for my class’s company – Jammer Joints (the name I came up with). I love my job, because it feels as though I’m running things, even though I know that each group itself is sailing their own ship, and essentially Ms. Miesner is our CEO. Back to being out of control; I say this in a negative way, because let’s face it, I am the class of 2018’s control freak. I don’t like that I cannot control a group, I cannot determine what will happen because I am not working on their same project. However, what I am in control of, is what the public sees in the long run, and what I can do to help each group.
For example, my first task as Project Manager, was to assign each group their specific joint, and record their team names. This was a hectic process, that in turn at first made people upset with me, because they were forced to compromise their ideas. However, from this experience, I learned that compromise can easily be turned into negotiation for new ideas. There was a group who clearly asked for the wrist, however there were three other groups who wanted the wrist. I tried to give the group the second choice option, with the help of Ms. Miesner, but because I am only a student the group went past me to Ms. Miesner to express their disdain for the joint I had assigned. Ms. Miesner then came up with a resolution of giving them the finger joint, and that was when I learned that compromise is only a synonym for opportunity, and that compromise can go both ways. That day, I created a handy-dandy chart during class for reference, in case any group wanted to know which group was doing another joint.
After this, I was reassigned to the group I worked with last semester to complete a dissection of a chicken shoulder, just to give me a better understanding of certain anatomical information. This dissection went very smoothly, and I was proud of the reflection I put into Ms. Miesner’s dropbox. This experience may not have necessarily helped me with my own project, however it did help me in understanding the importance of the project. It helped me gain information that I can use to help other groups as well, because I will be interacting and working with each group to keep everybody updated, and give my own input to their designs.
The next class, we met in the maker space so that the groups could begin researching and trying to come up with their ideas for an anatomically correct joint model. While they were doing this, I was creating a company website. In doing this I created our logo:
I thought that this would be easy for me, because my father works for Dell, and my step-mother does online marketing, while my mother runs her own online businesses, and my step-father does tech support for verizon. I come from a family of technology, but still, I had no clue how much of a challenge this would be. Creating a website entailed researching web platforms (a term which I had no understanding of), and trying to find an easy, free, and quick way to make an amazing website that could help in the marketing portion of the company’s products. This website is crucial to each group’s success, because if you can’t market your product, you can’t sell it. Therefor, after searching and using my knowledge of how previous web design platforms worked (platforms such as WordPress), I settled on Weebly. Weebly offers a more complex way to create and personalize your website, while still keeping it relatively simple. I realized as soon as I started that I LOVE designing websites, and creating something that I know I can be proud of while helping others.
Although my product is nowhere near finished, I learned from my first day of this assignment that I genuinely enjoy challenging myself to learn about, and try new things that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I feel that when each group sees our website and what I have done to create something that we can all use, they will love it and treasure it just as much as I do. I created a page for each group, that will be linked from the “About Us” page so that the navigation bar isn’t as crowded, and each groups page will link to a blog that each group can post their starpathdesign.wordpress.com blog posts to. Each page will be personalized for each group to their own liking. This process has already been somewhat frustrating, from forgetting to save a page and having to restart, to creating an aesthetic that I felt would appeal to a derby player, I have been working my butt off to create a great product. Although I have struggled, I feel so proud of what I have already accomplished, and I’ve learned that although I can’t control everything, I can control the quality and care of each product I send out.
Although this is all I have currently done, I have created a list of what I need from each group to make sure that their pages are exactly what they want, and that the website can be as big of a success as possible. I have learned from creating this list that I am very good when I can organize my thoughts, and when I can create specifics that the people I’m helping need.
If you would like to visit the website as it currently is, visit the Jammer Joints website.
Next on my list of things to do is create organizational folders for each group that will help them in documenting their learning and questions from each part of the project, so that the reflection pieces of the presentation as well as remembering previous ideas can be easier. Each recording I do will be documented with a date from a five minute conference I’ll have with each group either at the beginning or end of the day. From this, I’m hoping to learn that I can multitask with two very complex ideas.
There haven’t been many problems in the project thus far, however I know that there will be many more to deal with, because three weeks into the spring semester of 2016, the biggest thing I have learned is to expect the unexpected, and take pride in all learning, not just your successes but your mistakes as well. I’m very excited for this project, and I hope that everyone is just as excited as I am.