Managing Your (DH) Project: Setting the Foundation for Working Collaboratively Throughout a Project Lifecycle

Head of Engineering and Applied Science at Improbable
Oct. 24, 2010

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Managing Your (DH) Project: Setting the Foundation for Working Collaboratively Throughout a Project Lifecycle

  1. Setting the Foundation for Working Collaboratively Throughout a Project Lifecycle Managing Your (DH) Project THATCamp Pacific Northwest 2010 Julie Meloni // @jcmeloni //
  2. 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
  3. So, What’s a “Project”?  It is NOT regular operations and is NOT regularly repeated  It has a particular purpose or contract  It requires coordination of multiple tasks and resources  There are specific cost, time, and technical constraints  It has a life cycle  It brings with it UNCERTAINTY
  4. 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 organizational environment.
  5. The Role of the Project Manager  Day to day management of a project  Establish project structure  Negotiate written agreements  Monitor work  Report progress (internally and externally)  Train and develop staff  Develop a sense of a team
  6. Eight Basic Principles of Project Management 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 costs. 4. When things are going well, something will go wrong.  When things just can't get any worse, they will.  When things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something. [These “principles” have made the rounds for ages...I think it started here:]
  7. Eight Basic Principles of Project Management 5. If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress. 6. No system is ever completely debugged; attempts to debug a new system inevitably introduce new bugs that are even harder to find. 7. A carelessly planned project will take three times longer to complete than you expected; a carefully planned project will only take twice as long. 8. Project teams detest progress reports, because these reports vividly manifest their lack of progress.
  8. 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 come from?)  When (will this work be done?)  How much (is the budget?)
  9. 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?
  10. Documenting Your New Project  Problem/Opportunity statement  Scope definition  Completion criteria  Assumptions  Impact statement  Risks  Resource requirements  What type of team do you need?
  11. 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 personal goals?
  12. 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  Assessing competence  Balance between skills and “good guy”  Balance between learning on the job and just doing
  13. Team Development  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 consequences)  Provide clearly assigned roles and responsibilities
  14. Working with Diverse & Distant Teams  Trust & Accountability  Goes back to team charter  Ongoing performance evaluations  Communication  Project management software suites can help!
  15. Project Management Software  Tend to contain...  collaborative tools  issue tracking tools  scheduling tools  document management tools  resource management tool  Evaluate the needs of your team, implement the tools, work the process, reflect and modify if necessary.
  16. Project Management Software Suites  “just” a wiki?  “just” Google Groups?  Basecamp   Atlassian   and more... 