Project Management Toolshop at the Visual Media Workshop

This past Friday morning, Alison Langmead, Kate Joranson and I led a session on project management tools and strategies for the Visual Media Workshop‘s fall toolshop series. I was happy to contribute to this session, as project management is a topic I could talk about for hours (and sometimes, to the chagrin of others, I do).

In my time as an information professional, I have managed a number of projects, and have worked under the management of others on quite a few more. Each has been an utterly unique experience, even when the projects themselves might seem quite similar on paper. A tool or technique that is effective with one team on one project might never find traction with another. As with so much of our work, project management involves a lot of care work, a lot of administrative work, and a lot of interpersonal communication. (Or at least, I think, it generally should.) Tools and techniques should be chosen because they support, rather than dictate, the members of the team and the mission of the project.

One issue that comes up again and again is how we actually define a project. This is definitely subjective. A project might be a website or database design. It might be a survey or data collection, a series of workshops, a seminar paper, or a dissertation. We designed this toolshop to be flexible and inclusive of any of these possibilities, as well as of both independent and collaborative projects. In a respectful, informal setting, we discussed our experiences with different projects and management strategies. For those who were not able to attend, we compiled a list of some of the tools and resources we discussed in a Constellations post, which I invite any interested person to reference prior to beginning their next project.