BEP 334 – Project Management English 10: Internal Debrief Meeting

BEP 334 Lesson Module - Project Management English 10: Debrief Meeting

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on project management English for debriefing a project with your team.

Project management can be a messy business. You can plan, but you can’t really predict all the challenges and obstacles that will come up. So on every project, and especially in agile project management, you have to learn and adapt as you go along. And at the end, it’s a good idea to discuss what you’ve learned in a project debrief meeting. If you’re following an agile approach, you might also hold sprint retrospectives, which are like mini-debriefs at the end of each sprint. Whether it’s a project debrief or one of these sprint retrospectives, you’ll cover similar topics.

A project debrief meeting might start out with a review of the project goals. You want to look back and see what you set out to do in the first place. Then you can talk about successes during the project. What did you do well? What would you do again? From there, you can move on to discuss mistakes, and what you’d like to change in the future. And finally, you’ll want to summarize everything that you’ve learned. The whole idea, of course, is that you’ll be able to do things better next time.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a project manager named Martin, who’s running a debrief meeting at the end of a software development project. We’ll also hear Jill and Sumita, two of the engineers who’ve worked on the project. Together, the group is discussing the work they’ve done and what they’ve learned.

Listening Questions

1. After discussing the project goals, what does Martin ask about?
2. The discussion of mistakes leads Martin to ask a related question about what topic?
3. What does Martin do at the end of the meeting?

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BEP 329 – Project Management English 9: Handover Meeting

BEP 329 Lesson Module - Project Management English 9: Handover Meeting

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on project management English for handing over a finished project to the client.

Nobody forgets to hold a kickoff meeting to get a project started. But unfortunately, many teams fail to hold a final meeting to bring their project cleanly to a close. Whether you’re following agile or a more traditional approach, a project handover meeting is essential. For one thing, it’s a chance to talk about how the project went and get some valuable feedback from the client. It’s also a chance to take care of any small contractual issues and make sure the client agrees that you’ve fulfilled the project goals.

But a final project handover meeting isn’t only about looking back at what’s already been done. It’s also about opening the door to future work. After all, it’s much easier to sell more to existing clients than it is to find new clients. That could mean future work that builds on what you’ve just completed. Or it might mean identifying new needs that you can help address.

But before you start talking about future work, you should set a positive tone and ask the client for their impressions of the project. You might learn something useful that you can use in other projects. Then you can remind the client how your work fits into a broader plan for the future. That will set the stage for discussing possible future upgrades or additional support.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Martin, a project manager with a software company called OptiTech. They’ve just finished developing software for a logistics company. Martin is meeting with Liam, the IT manager for the logistics company, for the final project handover. During the discussion, Martin will use some useful project management English to steer the meeting to a successful conclusion.

Listening Questions

1. What is the first question that Martin asks Liam?
2. What does Martin suggest Liam’s company might need if they grow or change?
3. What does Martin propose that Liam consider at the end of the dialog?

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BEP 328 – Project Management English 8: Negotiating Solutions

BEP-328-Project-Management-English-Lesson-8

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on negotiating solutions during a project.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every project went exactly as planned? But that’s simply not realistic. Projects are just as diverse as the people involved. And every project runs into hurdles, challenges, or even major breakdowns. Good planning can help avoid some of these issues, but it’s more than likely that you’ll need to use your problem-solving skills at some point.

Some of these problems might be with your project team. But others could involve the client. In many cases, this means something comes up mid-project that neither of you anticipated. Lack of information, timeline issues, scope changes – there are a thousand different issues that might come up that will test your project management skills.

Solving these kinds of problems will require more than just basic project management English. For starters, you may need to explain different options to the client. But you’ll need to be careful to avoid liability when you can, and you might also need to resist committing to a timeline. These are important aspects of English for negotiating a solution.

And that word “solution” is the key. Your goal is to get to a solution that you can both agree to so that the project can still meet its original goals. And just like in any negotiation, that will probably involve proposing a compromise. Of course, agreements should be put in writing, so you’ll have to document any solutions you agree on.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Jill, a project manager with a software developer. They’ve been building a new system for a logistics company. Jill is talking with the Liam, the IT manager for the client, about a problem that has come up near the end of their project. Jill needs to negotiate a good solution to the problem.

Listening Questions

1. What are the options Jill lays out at the start of the meeting?
2. When Liam asks about how long it will take, how does Jill respond?
3. What is the compromise solution that Jill suggests?

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BEP 322 – Project Management 7: Debriefing User Testing

BEP 322 Lesson Module - English for Project Management 7: Debriefing User Testing

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for project management and debriefing user testing during a software project.

Ask anyone in the tech world and they’ll tell you that user testing is the key to good software development. In fact, that’s not quite true, because the key is actually good user testing. Users don’t always give you exactly the information you need. Or they may not give you all the information you need. For these reasons, you need to be able to do an excellent job of debriefing a user test with the users.

Debriefing basically means talking about an experience. Debriefing helps us understand a user’s thoughts and feelings during their experience with the software. And in software development, that means we can make the necessary changes to improve that experience.

Debriefing a user test effectively might require you to do several things. For one, it’s a good idea to start by setting the focus for the debrief. And later, you might have to bring the user back to that focus area. To get a general sense of the experience, you might ask for overall impressions. And to get more detail, you might ask the user to talk about the process of using the software. It’s also a good idea to acknowledge important issues when they come up.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a software developer named Jill debriefing a user test with Carla, an office worker. Jill’s company, OptiTech, has been developing new software for a logistics company where Carla works.

Listening Questions

1. What does Jill say she wants to focus on in the debrief?
2. How does Jill respond to Carla’s suggestion about being able to update a driver’s status?
3. How does Jill respond when Carla mentions that the routes are changing color too soon?

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BEP 321 – Project Management 6: Launching User Testing

BEP 321 Lesson Module - English for Project Management 6: User Testing

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for project management and launching user testing for a software project.

At the heart of every software project is the user. If the user finds the software confusing, or if it doesn’t do what the user needs it to do, what’s the point? For this reason, user testing is an essential part of the development process.

User testing can involve a range of activities. You might watch how users interact with the software. You might track or monitor how they use it. And you might ask them for their opinions. In this way, you collect information and feedback that helps you create the best user experience possible. And just as the software itself needs to be user friendly, so does user testing. If people don’t have a clear idea of what they’re supposed to do during testing, you’ll be wasting an opportunity.

So when you launch testing, it’s important to outline what you’re going to be doing, and what kind of feedback you’re interested in. Because the software is new to the test users, you’ll need to give them clear instructions on how to use it and give them an overview of the main features. You might also find yourself emphasizing key points along the way. After all, it’s much easier to make sure everyone understands upfront than to deal with confused users during testing.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Jill, a developer with a software company called OptiTech. They’ve been developing software for a logistics company, and now they are ready to launch the first round of user testing. We’ll also hear Liam, the IT manager for the client, and Carla, one of the test users.

Listening Questions

1. What does Jill say will be the final step in this test?
2. What three aspects of the software does this test focus on?
3. What does Jill emphasize is absolutely necessary for the drivers to do?

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