Web Project Management for Libraries Making Project Management Work For You Jason A. Clark Reference/Web Services Librarian Williams College Libraries firstname.lastname@example.org Computers in Libraries Washington D.C. 18 March 2005 A little background… My background – UW Division of Information Technology, Academic Libraries 5 person team – systems, ref, web services team members My Workplace - Williams College A private, residential, and liberal arts college with graduate programs in the history of art and in development economics. The undergraduate enrollment is Approximately 2,000 students. Williamstown is located in the Berkshires in northwestern Massachusetts, 145 miles from Boston and 165 miles from New York City. Nature of web projects Web project = any business service delivered via web to end user Unique nature of web project as part application/part web document needs to be part of planning Communication tools with global reach Wide range of user requirements Shorter project life cycles What does a library web project look like? It can look and feel something like this… but it doesn’t have to… Particular challenges of a library Web project Ad-hoc committees, varying expertise Sporadic project work Shifting deadlines, shifting priorities Team members and many hats Limited funding for third-party software or contract work Shifting information needs and user expectations Project Management: A Solution Defining a goal – a deliverable Identifying strengths and risks Opening communication about the process Establishing timelines and tracking progress Gather those requirements Define boundary and scope of project Agree on goals of project Establish a realistic schedule Identify strengths of team or look for possible expertise outside of team Earmark strengths and weaknesses in proposed plan Williams College Libraries Web Team Project Definition Report Project: Redesign of Library Web Site Project Champion: Christine Menard, head - research services Project Manager: Jason A. Clark, web team chair Purpose: Create a central conduit for library information and services that is easy to use, simple to maintain and highlights the research role of the library Why? - bring library services online to reach out to remote users that may never visit physical library - need to streamline paths to research and instruction information in site - reduce web workers time in adding, updating, and deleting web pages - need for a more modern look and feel to reflect modern research library Outputs: The project will deliver a new web site comprising: What? - site template that allows for global navigation, headers and footers adding a composite feel to the site - design that allows for different layouts to accomodate all types of content within the site – informational, instructional, research tools, interactive - improved navigation with simple categories for users and multiple points of entry to web pages - site that answers information needs of primary users – student researchers - reorganization (including deleting and archiving of directories and files) of site directory; each directory will have a “table of contents” index page with a link to all files contained in directory The project will be complete after proper testing and educating of users has occurred and the site is live. Scope: Define stages of web redesign project and describe actions within stages How? Discovery: Gather requirements and define objectives Research: Analyze current user data and site files, draft design plan Design: Create working model of site Evaluate: Assess achievement of user requirements Deploy: Train users, create documentation to aid in use and maintenance of site Author(s): Jason A. Clark, Lori DuBois Date: 02 February 2005 Divide project into manageable tasks Assign team members to tasks that appeal to interests Break project into tasks with dependent beginning and ending phases Declare a critical path for the project to follow Stage End of Stage Key Issues and Design Criteria Assigned Team Timetable Members Discovery Write a clear brief of objectives Background, context, project deliverables, define staff Lori, Jason 2 weeks and user needs, discuss appropriate timetable, Deadline: consider realistic workflow Feb. 2, 2005 Research Analyze current user data, derive Usability Testing, Card sort, Content Inventory, Jason, Jodi 3 months plan for implementation Consider options for deploying site, Define critical path Deadline: for project to follow May 2, 2005 Design Create working model of new site Weed/Archive outdated content, Create new look, 6 months Decide on navigation and format of pages, Decide on Deadline: types of pages needed, Reformat old content, Test Nov. 2, 2005 new designs iteratively Evaluate Assess achievement of user Survey and test possible users, Adjust design 2 months? requirements according to findings Deadline: Jan. 15, 2006 Deploy Train users and create Communicating changes to public, scheduling for the 2 weeks documentation to aid in use and rollout, educating users, Draft documentation Deadline: maintenance of site Jan. 29, 2006 Building and Designing Create project with idea that multiple drafts/versions may be needed Promote a supportive development environment where team members can learn and ask for help without impacting production side of web site *a playground or web sandbox - let your colleagues learn in a live environment Pair team members with complementary skills Offer tutorials on essential aspects of project – writing for the web, xhtml, css, programming Document the project I’m using the word broadly - meeting minutes, blog conversations, text documents, paper documents A means to open communication to other library staff; create forums for discussion Generate “buy-in” for a project Provide a framework for assessing project status Blog it! (Documentation cont.) Centralize team communications Archive team communications Use webfeeds to keep team members updated Open your comments for other perspectives - students? Talk online, save time wclwebteam.blogspot.com Web Project Tracker (Documentation cont.) Records current status of library web projects Built with open source, DIY - MySQL and PHP Ability to assign owners to projects Central web submission form - updates, deletes, edits and new proposals Creates a working agenda for every meeting www.williams.edu/library/admin/projects/ Giving up ownership Recognizing the power of delegating Williams Indexes and Databases www.williams.edu/library/indexes/ Hidden benefits – Subject Guides, Trials Closing the project Test your prototype and leave time for changes Educate your primary users Draft promotional communications Draft a maintenance plan Roll it out! Tips for Library Web Projects Define your objectives Open up your communications Document for your team and others Know your strengths and weaknesses Build around flexible schedules (“Bend don’t break.”) Look at how newer technologies can streamline your workflow *Think strategically about a web management structure for your library. Other Project Management Tools ScratchPad: A Quality Management System for Library Web Sites - University Libraries at Albany library.albany.edu/scratchpad BaseCamp: Free, Web-based Project Management Tool www.basecamphq.com Ta-Da Lists: Free, Web-based List Management Tool www.tadalist.com Microsoft Project: Office Software for the PC www.microsoft.com/office/project phpCollab: http://www.php-collab.org/blog/ dotproject: http://www.dotproject.net/index.php Useful Project Management Resources Gantthead – www.gantthead.com Project Management Institute – www.pmi.org Content and Workflow Management for Library Web Sites: Case Studies edited by Holly Yu Managing Web Projects by J. Rodney Turner Questions? Jason A. Clark is currently the digital initiatives librarian at Montana State University. www.jasonclark.info Email him at email@example.com.