ideasInnovo Engineering

Orientation—Working with Tasks

 

Memorandum

To: Engineering Interns Team
From: Director, Training and Human Resources
Subject: Tasks; Getting Started; Writing Tips; PresentationTips

Tasks

Here at Innovo, our work is divided into tasks, each of which requires one or more “deliverables” (submitted assignments). These tasks will exercise your knowledge of programming, as well as your skills in research, writing, and presenting.

Your manager may choose to review your work in each task before allowing you to move onto the next one. Some tasks may require written deliverables that you will submit by e-mail; others require your team to give a presentation. Check with your manager if you have any questions.

Though your manager will determine when tasks are due, the responsibility of deciding how to finish is your own. Your manager may assign you a group of teammates with whom you will work for the duration of the task or you may work alone.

If you are working in a group, you will have to determine how to tackle the work: who will research different parts of the task, who will take notes at meetings, who will present the final product, etc.

Our goal is to expand your professional and programming skills.

 

Up arrow

Getting Started

  1. Determine the scope of the task. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
    • What exactly are we being asked to do?
    • What do we need to know in order to do it?
    • What don’t we know yet? How are we going to learn it?
    • What resources do we need to complete this task? Where can we find them?
    • What assistance or information do we need from our manager to complete this task?
    • How can we split up the work in our group?
    • How will we teach each other what we have learned?

    The resulting answers will aid your task management.
  1. Next, if you are working in groups, divide the labor among the members of your group and create a work plan to keep the team on track.
    • Choose a “project manager” for your team – someone to keep the project on schedule. You can assign this role to a different team member for future tasks.
    • Decide how you will communicate your work with each other and when you will “meet” (either in-person or online).
    • Negotiate rules of behavior for your team. If two members conflict, how will the team resolve the problem?
  2. Whether you are working in teams or alone, you must create a work plan . Ask yourself:
    • What are the sub-tasks that need to be done in order to successfully complete this task?
    • In what order should these sub-tasks be done?
    • Who will be responsible for each sub-task?
    • How long should each sub-task take and what is its due date?
  3. Complete frequent reality checks, adjust your plan, and renegotiate as needed.
    • If, after creating your work plan, you determine that you will be unable to complete the assignment on time, first think of how you can rearrange your work plan to meet the requirements. Ask yourself:
      • Is there a way that we can reorder the sub-tasks, so that any can be worked on simultaneously?
      • Are we doing more than what is being asked? If so, can we scale down our efforts so as to be sure to meet the minimum tasks requirements first?
    • If, after trying to renegotiate your approach, you realize that you will still be unable to complete the task on time, figure out what you can have done by the due date, and then talk with your manager. It is always better to prepare a colleague in advance that you will not be able to have work done.

Up arrow

Writing Tips

  • Easy reference is essential when dealing with professionals. Format your work in a way that facilitates a quick read.
  • If you are creating bulleted or numbered lists, keep all items in parallel grammatical structure. That is, all the items should be commands or all of them should be full sentences – do not mix the two structures in your list.

    Parallel

    1. Reboot computer.

    2. Click on icon on desktop to install software.

    3. Follow steps in installation wizard, using default settings.

    Not parallel

    1. Reboot computer.

    2. The software should then be installed by clicking on icon.

  • Remember your audience--use a vocabulary appropriate to the target audience. If you do not know who your audience is, ask your manager.
  • Keep it short -- everyone is too busy to read unnecessary verbage. Use only as many words as needed to convey your information.

Up arrow

Presentation Tips

Planning the presentation

  • What is the goal of the presentation?
  • What content is required?
  • Who will gather the content?
  • Who will prepare the presentation?
  • Who will introduce the material?
  • Who will address each set of needs/recommendations during the presentation?

Developing the presentation

  1. Plan how your presentation will answer your audience's question(s).
  2. Determine how you will have consistent formatting and design of the PowerPoint slides if different people create content .
  3. Use clear headings, bullet points, and a type-face and font-size that allows for comfortable viewing from the back of the room.
  4. Avoid visual busyness in your PowerPoint slides
  5. Choose the language and the level of specificity of your presentation based on your audience profile.
  6. Proofread your PowerPoint slides.
  7. Do a dry run of the presentation, making adjustments as necessary.
  8. Bring print copies of your presentation to the meeting, in case there are any technical problems.
  9. Prepare to trim or expand on your core presentation by considering in advance the priority of each of your points. Presentations often need to be adjusted due to unplanned time and technology constraints.

Up arrow

Delivering the presentation

  • On the day of your presentation, arrive early to insure you have time to set up.
  • Before beginning, ask if everyone can see/hear you clearly.
  • Maintain eye contact and speak loudly.
  • Don’t just read the slides to your audience: use them as reminders of your main talking points.
  • Ask if there are any points needing clarification. Pause, allowing for questions to be asked. You normally don't need to ask if there are any questions when executives are in the room--they often interject when they have questions.
  • If you can't answer a question, don't try to. Instead, make sure that you understand the question, and promise to get back to the person as soon as possible.
  • Vary speakers' voices and positions to keep your audience's attention.

 

Up arrow