Practical Project Management

There are a number of administrative functions that when implemented, may assist in the success of your project.  Establishing these functions early may avoid confusion and disorganization later in the project life cycle.

Establishing Milestones

Establishing clear target dates for parts of the project will ensure that timelines are met.  If you’re part of a grant program, these milestones may be pre-determined by the grant institution.  However, it is always helpful to establish milestones to track the progress and success of your project.  These milestones should be established after the goal of your project has been determined.

Central Point of Contact

While the digital storytelling project may be a team effort, establishing a central point of contact or project manager helps to maintain communication and ensure that decisions are being made in a timely and appropriate manner.  This project manager should also dedicate a set number of hours to the project on a weekly basis, so that progress can be made.

Training Staff and Volunteers

Generally, at least one person involved in the project will have to be fluent in the technologies being learned, or at least be committed to learning them in time to teach others.  Setting aside training sessions for teaching about the storytelling process and the technologies for capturing stories will enable staff and volunteers to work in a collaborative environment to learn these new skills.  Refresher courses may be necessary for staff and volunteers as well, if the project is long-term and new staff or volunteers get involved.

Time Management

Establishing a schedule for all parties involved will help in achieving the goals of the storytelling project.  As mentioned, the project manager should preferably set aside a determined number of hours on a weekly basis to concentrate on the digital storytelling project.  Furthermore, staff members who are very involved might also need to schedule a certain number of hours to dedicate to the project on a regular basis.  While some volunteers will be very motivated and involved, it may be necessary to have staff members available as back-ups, as volunteers might not be as committed to the project as staff members.

Flow Management

As many digital storytelling projects are not full-time projects for the staff involved, establishing some flows and processes will help to ensure that all parties are communicating with one another.  For example, if multiple filmmakers are filming storytellers, it may be helpful to create shared documents to log recent work.  The same process will be helpful for editors involved in the project.  At the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library for example, an excel sheet was printed out and put in a binder next to the digital storytelling station.  Every time any work was completed on the digital storytelling project, the volunteer or staff member would log this work in the spreadsheet.  This enabled the next volunteer or staff member to continue work on the same project, or work on something else.  Logging these kinds of activities avoided any duplication of work.

Documentation

Staff members may be able to create guides noting any tips with specific software, or for finding specific resources.  In the case of the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library, documents detailing lists of public domain or Creative Commons sources for audio and image collections were compiled for volunteers and staff members to reference when looking for multimedia.  An extended version of this list can be found on the Finding Content for Reuse site.  Furthermore, staff experienced some bugs and difficulties with iMovie, which they were using to edit video software.  These kinds of issues were noted and documented.  Settings for videos to be shared online were also documented and made available on the computer and in documentation binders.  Depending on the size of your project, you may benefit from creating a manual, guide or possibly even a wiki.

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