Project Management and the Digital Humanist

Dr. Lynne Siemens , an Associate Professor in the at the University of Victoria explores in her article the relationship between digital humanities and project management. She asks how team management can be a necessary method for developing projects in the digital humanities. Indeed, she notes that academics in the humanities are often not used to working as a team. For her, project management becomes an indispensable tool for leading a project to success. She defines project management as “a set of principles, methods and techniques for effective management of objectives-oriented work in the context of a specific and unique organizational environment.” (page number!) Siemens shows us methods to carry out project management as efficiently as possible. First of all, you have to define your project in a clear way so that the whole team understands what it is about and thus avoid misunderstandings and wasting time. Once the project is clearly defined, Siemens shows us the importance of making a back planning so that the assigned tasks are defined, and that we can already get an idea of the efforts that need to be put into it and the objectives that are to be set. Practically, she recommends the use of a tool called “the network” ,illustrating the interdependencies between the tasks and the researchers who carry them out. This tool allows to predict the quantity of resources used for each task which can help prevent trouble when deadlines are missed or when a team member can no longer perform the assigned task so that a plan B can quickly be found. It is crucial to establish a tracking process for each project in order to be able to adapt to the changes that occur and sometimes to question the plan established previously, but especially to have a vision of the progress of the overall project by questioning, for example, the success of one of the candidates to carry out his project, and if not have an instrument for finding the reasons for it not succeeding. Siemens then explains the tools used to carry out the project and points out that sometimes researchers do not live in the same country. She recommends using digital tools such as Outlook, Omiplan or Dropbox. Nevertheless, the emergence of digital tools should not prevent maintaining a real-life link in the team. It is important to set appointments and meet face-to-face.

Moreover, a team must define its own charter to communicate, but also to find a leader who will have the essential task of maintaining the unity and the smooth running of the team work and the project.

Finally, Siemens emphasizes the role of feedback that is crucial at the end of the project. The team must analyze its strengths and weaknesses and make sure that everyone trys to understand why.

Lynne Siemens shows us in this article the benefits of the steps and the tools to carry out a project in the best way possible.

Merwan Joly-Slamani

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