Managing Your (DH) Project: Setting the Foundation for Working Collaboratively Throughout a Project Lifecycle
Setting the Foundation for
Working Collaboratively Throughout a
Managing Your (DH) Project
THATCamp Pacific Northwest 2010
Julie Meloni // @jcmeloni // firstname.lastname@example.org
Credit Where Credit is Due
Many of the slides in this presentation were
adapted from the materials presented by
Lynne Siemens in her course, “Issues in
Large Project Planning and Management,”
which she offers at the Digital Humanities
Summer Institute at the University of Victoria.
For more information on the DHSI, or Lynne’s
class (which I highly recommend), visit
So, What’s a “Project”?
It is NOT regular operations and is NOT regularly
It has a particular purpose or contract
It requires coordination of multiple tasks and
There are specific cost, time, and technical
It has a life cycle
It brings with it UNCERTAINTY
What is “Project Management”?
A set of principles, methods,
tools, and techniques
for the effective management of
objectives-oriented work in the
context of a specific and unique
The Role of the Project Manager
Day to day management of a project
Establish project structure
Negotiate written agreements
Report progress (internally and externally)
Train and develop staff
Develop a sense of a team
Eight Basic Principles of Project
1. No major project is ever installed on time, within
budget, with the same staff that started it.
2. Projects progress rapidly until they become 90%
complete; they then remain 90% complete forever.
3. Fuzzy project objectives help you avoid the
embarrassment of estimating the corresponding
4. When things are going well, something will go
When things just can't get any worse, they will.
When things appear to be going better, you have overlooked
[These “principles” have made the rounds for ages...I think it started here: http://www.daclarke.org/Humour/projects.html]
Eight Basic Principles of Project
5. If project content is allowed to change freely, the
rate of change will exceed the rate of
6. No system is ever completely debugged;
attempts to debug a new system inevitably
introduce new bugs that are even harder to
7. A carelessly planned project will take three
times longer to complete than you expected; a
carefully planned project will only take twice
8. Project teams detest progress reports, because
these reports vividly manifest their lack of
Creating a Project Plan
Essential Questions to Ask
What (is the technical objective?)
How (will the work break down?)
Who (will be doing the work and where will they
When (will this work be done?)
How much (is the budget?)
Starting Your Project
Identify the need/problem
What is the issue to be addressed
Why do you want the project done?
Why do you want the project done NOW?
What are the risks?
What are the costs?
By what standard will you measure results?
Documenting Your New Project
What type of team do you need?
Project Team Formation
Who should be part of the team? Ask yourself:
Would I want this individual working for me?
Would I want this individual as one of my peers?
Would I want to work for this individual?
What is their availability, personal style, and
Skills and Responsibilities of Team Members
What skills are needed?
Create and maintain a skills inventory matrix
Who will be responsible for what?
Create and maintain a responsibility matrix
Balance between skills and “good guy”
Balance between learning on the job and just doing
Have a Team Charter
Set forth how the team will work together
Define the purpose of the team
What are the ground rules for behavior (and
Provide clearly assigned roles and responsibilities
Working with Diverse & Distant Teams
Trust & Accountability
Goes back to team charter
Ongoing performance evaluations
Project management software suites can help!
Project Management Software
Tend to contain...
issue tracking tools
document management tools
resource management tool
Evaluate the needs of your team, implement
the tools, work the process, reflect and modify
Project Management Software Suites
“just” a wiki?
“just” Google Groups?