Attacking Project Pitfalls

Digital Data: Linked, Open, and Cloud-Based: 1. And the Process-Oriented Will Inherit the Earth Developing museum projects is becoming more complex, requiring new ways of managing multiple departments' collaboration. But who's managing this intricate process? And why is this even important? Benchmarks for success are constantly shifting. Evaluating our results becomes more difficult to assess, Museums, like most organizations, are results-oriented. But often, our projects get mired in that old fable of the twelve blind men trying to describe the elephant. Each of us works in a silo that focuses only on our part of the plan. So, who is watching the process from beginning to end? How is the role of the process-oriented museum professional changing in this more complex development environment? The process we use to reach our goal is becoming as important as the results. And the key to success is how we work together: process-oriented and results-oriented people, each using different methods. This presentation focused on strategies for developing process-oriented project management skills for complex projects. These included: A roadmap: characteristics of results-oriented and process-oriented people Strategies for working with results-oriented people: how can we not only coexist but thrive with our results-oriented coworkers How to begin a new project with process in mind Strategies for getting stakeholders to buy into the "big picture" as a project develops Maintaining the focus on the process throughout the project lifecycle Presenter: Jeff Gates, Lead Producer, New Media Initiatives, Smithsonian American Art Museum 2. Hard Decisions are Good, Change is Constant Digital media projects are born with great expectations -- they start by aiming to satisfy a diverse group of stakeholder desires while meeting all possible end-user needs. The real requirement is a careful balance of ambitious goals with a realistic understanding of the resources and technologies available at hand. In practice and execution, this is the result of critical decision-making required during all lifecycles of an ever-changing project environment. The Balboa Park Commons project will be used as an example of difficult decision making that ultimately made the completed project possible. Panelists shared the initial and changing assumptions encountered, the design iterations and features that focused on user experience, and the planning for the maintenance of this large-scale collections portal after the development staff are gone. The session focused on good and bad decisions throughout the project to help inform colleagues planning their own complex projects. Presenters: Christina DePaolo, Director of Digital Media, Balboa Park Online Collaborative Bruce Wyman, Consultant, USD Design 3. Technology Projects - What Could Possibly Go Wrong? An interactive problem-solving session for avoiding failure in technology projects. This session is intended to help people identify risks and avoid failure in their technology projects by reviewing common types of problems that typically arise. It is aimed at people currently managing technology projects, or those managing or delivering technology work within wider projects. The aim is for attendees to leave with tools and ideas to help them deliver the goods in practical ways when they return to their work. As well as an informal look at theoretical concepts, it will involve active consideration of how these may affect your real-life projects and then working up practical solutions to these issues with your peers. This is not a project methodology session. It is an opportunity to actively problem-solve real challenges with other techy people, helped with a toolbox of various generic solutions for coping, surviving and succeeding. Presenter: Andrew Lewis, Digital Content Delivery Manager, Victoria and Albert Museum Presented Saturday, Nov 10, 2012 at the Museum Computer Network Conference in Seattle, WA.