Digital project management
Digital projects can feel overwhelming and often get unwieldly over time as researchers have more ideas and content that they want to share. Taking the time to plan a project out beforehand can help researchers and students effectively manage their time, define the scope of their project and define what a successful outcome to the project will be.
The tabs in this section provide helpful guidance and resources for digital project management best practices.
Project lifecycle diagrams break down projects into stages making it easier to visualize and conceptualize the phases that go into creating a successful project.
The project lifecycle pictured below is taken from business project lifecycles, but is still relevant to the stages of a digital project regardless of the discipline.
The stages in the lifecycle are
- Initiation: the project gets defined and it's feasibility considered
- Planning: a project charter and proposal are created, data collection begins
- Executing: the project plan is put into action and tasks begin to be checked off
- Monitoring: asses your timeline and tasks as you go, are things being done on time? Are there any additional analysis or data to be done or collected?
- Closing: publishing the project and reflecting on it's outcomes and deliverables
Creating a project proposal helps you plan ahead and anticipate any questions or concerns that may arise throughout your project. It can also help you articulate what you need from your project as far as functionality. Planning ahead for what you need from your project will help you choose a digital platform that has the necessary functions and plan for any limitations it may also involve.
The Spatial Humanities Working Group led a session on beginning a digital project and created a StoryMap of the process. Check it out for useful resources and examples
First: create a project folder to house all of your projects content including the data you've collected, research, and the content you've created.
Second: Create a file naming convention and hierarchy in your project folder.
Third: Make a README file that contains a table of contents to your project folder and a description of your project
Fourth: Create a breakdown of the types of files in your folder and any notes about how to access them especially if you are using proprietary software (ie: the project contains .txt, .wav and .aup3 files. Aup3 files are project files for Audacity an open source audio editing program). If you are using proprietary software make sure you are at least publishing your content in an accessible file format. The previous example has project files form Audacity, but also published .wav files (audio files) which can be opened, accessed, and used across audio editing platforms.
Fifth: Back-up and save your project file following the 3-2-1 rules.
3 copies of your project folder, in 2 different media types (laptop, USB, hard-drive cloud), and 1 should be in an off-site location (cloud, or USB/Hard drive in a different location than your computer/laptop)
- Harvard's checklist for file naming and their LibGuide on file naming
- CalTech's Worksheet on creating a file naming convention
- Data Carpentry: File naming
- Extensis' "Create a logical and manageable folder structure"
- OSF: Organizing files
- Carelton's File naming and organization
Project Management tools
Notion: plan out your project step-by-step, add due dates and documentation, collaborate with others, and use their pre-built templates to just plug-in your own project details and get started (also great as a personal planner!)
Basecamp: A good tool for collaborating and planning small projects. Easily create to-dos and deadlines with email reminders and send notifications across your team or to yourself.
Trello: A great tool for those who like making lists and checking off tasks! Add a calendar for a little extra functionality (for free) and sync up your tasks with your deadlines.
Click-Up: A similar tool to Notion, but with some extra capabilities like whiteboards and dashboards!
The best tool is the one that you will use! Don't like being digital? A desk calendar and whiteboard are just as effective tools.