The realities of moving to digital first

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Presentation given at UKMW12, the Museums Computer Group's Museums on the Web
'Strategically Digital' conference, Wellcome Collection, London, November 30, 2012

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  • Information scientist with 11 years managing projects and live digital services in museums and public libraries. BSc Cybernetics & Control Engineering, MSc Information and Library Studies, chartered librarian, makes stuff… Joined the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2008. Currently Digital Content Delivery Manager, previously Senior Web Content Manager. Projects – large-scale website redesign, content programme management, self-issue services, automated telephone renewal systems, public access computer services, online information, game development, SMART cards, multi-authority procurement and digitisation projects, etc.
  • New digital governance agreed March 2012 Trustee
  • * technical aftermath of a massive redesign and redevelopment of a large web site * plus effect of changing digital strategy and priorities
  • * solely responsible for over 30 virtual servers * many web sites and services distributed across them Reasons * storage and performance problems as the museum’s digital storage needs grew * also plumbing for every conceivable feature the museum might need in future
  • * fabulous bright ideas and ambitions for interactivity and engagement * brings with it its cost * Our digital ambitions are outgrowing our ability to support them * expectations of our visitors * digital is writing cheques the museum cannot cash Let’s look at the facts and figures
  • * 2 lines - grumpy developer resource, which fluctuates—who finds it easy to hire good developers? - inexhaustible demands and ideas for using technology in the museum 3 regions - at the bottom is your debt of maintenance, your previous projects taking up developer time as they break - on the left is your capacity for new development - on the right you start to lose control of previous projects in order to implement new features Got me thinking—where do developers, designers, programmers fit in the museum machine
  • Museum=The old project management cliché waterfall I can see what exhibitions we have planned up to 2017, a five year plan colossal construction projects like the exhibition road project at the V&A or the Tate Modern project again, where do we fit it
  • -That’s us in our little agile barrel - we know that 5 year plans don’t work in software—even 18 month redesigns are flawed - we need to be iterative within the cascade of museum business - we love features of agile but we can’t always implement the whole methodology in the middle of the emotional maelstrom of the museum - use the parts that work for you when you can: kanban, scrums, sprints - no longer can developers passive-aggressively point to a spec when the museum changes its mind, we need to flex with the needs of the museum can we act like a startup in the museum? To know this, let's break down startup culture:
  • Speaking of growing up here are the GitHub offices in San Francisco -I love GitHub but this looks like a teenage boy’s fantasy, as noted by one of my colleagues -Look at the mess—smoothie bottles everywhere, hula hoops by the arcade machine -They look like they’re having fun but, they’re still at work. -We know developers cannot keep up with new tech on a 9-5 basis but I'd rather be at home trying out a new programming language than be at work playing pool -In a more traditional structure, like a museum, developers need a strong voice and we need to be taken seriously. We are not the grumpy nerd down the corridor. Anyway, despite appearances does the typical startup plan harmonise with the museum plan?
  • Mostly developers help with the latter I think museums deliver a unique and brilliant experience by being brilliant museums not by being pretend startups I’m really interested in how developers can work within that framework.
  • I am not a qualified lawyer and you should consult a medical professional before undertaking any of these:
  • Information scientist with 11 years managing projects and live digital services in museums and public libraries. BSc Cybernetics & Control Engineering, MSc Information and Library Studies, chartered librarian, makes stuff… Joined the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2008. Currently Digital Content Delivery Manager, previously Senior Web Content Manager. Projects – large-scale website redesign, content programme management, self-issue services, automated telephone renewal systems, public access computer services, online information, game development, SMART cards, multi-authority procurement and digitisation projects, etc.
  • The realities of moving to digital first

    1. 1. Andrew Lewis Digital Content Delivery Manager Rich Barrett-Small Lead Developer The realities of moving to digital first UK Museums on the Web 2012Victoria and Albert Museum
    2. 2. This session will cover these issues• Organisational governance and structure• Digital Media Department delivery strategy• Technical implementation of digital services
    3. 3. A journey
    4. 4. Strategy Governance IterateImplementation Measurement
    5. 5. Governance
    6. 6. Governance….
    7. 7. Organisational governance
    8. 8. New governance for digital processes agreed March 2012
    9. 9. ROLE OFTRUSTEE’S TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY COMMITTEE•Ensure best practice in digital•Agree, review and steer projects within an overarchingdigital programme•Check design integrity of digital output
    10. 10. SCOPE OFTRUSTEE’S TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY COMMITTEE•Digital output and content•ICT infrastructure•Creation of digital assets
    11. 11. Aligning departmental structure
    12. 12. Digital Media restructuring July 2012
    13. 13. Defining content process
    14. 14. Developing strategic guidelines
    15. 15. • Be audience focussed• Mobile first• Treat content creation separate from delivery• Use short planning cycles and product lifespans• Make faster, smaller changes to services• Have clear governance and processes• Objective-based planning/ evidence-based review• Review and rationalise technology• Use open data-driven as default• A common direction, not necessarily a destination
    16. 16. Rationalisation digital services
    17. 17. Now Future
    18. 18. V&A website landscape March 2012
    19. 19. The other side of the mountain
    20. 20. You have to start somewhere
    21. 21. Targeted areas for 6-12 month action cross
    22. 22. • Iterations of responsive design for mobile• Initiated blog-fed newsfeeds (external hosting)• Launched calendar app• Migrated main CMS to the Cloud• Improved data process for collections• Restructured digital media department• Closed down 50+ legacy microsites• Closed down 100+ legacy interactives• Improved What’s On design
    23. 23. A journey
    24. 24. Developing (or Growing Up)Rich Barrett-Small, Lead Developer, V&A @richbs
    25. 25. A moment’s creative inspiration today is a week of pain next year
    26. 26. Oh dearDevelopment Support and maintenance
    27. 27. http://www.flickr.com/photos/claudio_ar/2224662164
    28. 28. http://www.flickr.com/photos/claudio_ar/2224662164
    29. 29. Startup Culture• Fridge full of Ben and Jerry’s• Table football (fußball)• 90-hour weeks
    30. 30. Startup Plan• Take venture capital• Operate at a massive loss• Get acquired and shut down
    31. 31. Museum Plan• Look after current stuff• Get more stuff• Keep it forever• Show it to more people
    32. 32. Lessons• Less is more—don’t over-engineer or over-hire• Build iteratively (3 month rule)• Choose technologies that allow you to change your mind• Change your mind
    33. 33. Andrew Lewis Digital Content Delivery Manager Rich Barrett-Small Lead Developer Thank you for listening View this on Slideshare: http://slidesha.re/QRuvqK UK Museums on the Web November 2012Victoria and Albert Museum

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