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					Web Project Management for Libraries

  Making Project Management Work For You


                 Jason A. Clark
       Reference/Web Services Librarian
           Williams College Libraries
             jclark2@williams.edu

                                   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 jaclark@montana.edu.

				
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