Instant Ideas and Collaboration

Summary – Project Management

Please see below for a summary of the chat. A full archive of all tweets from the conversation can be found at the following URL (hosted in Google Docs): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AltAorjMX56YdC1mVU5IRllRQzA0TUU1dEdyNTFYUmc&usp=sharing


What projects have you been involved with that required project management skills?

We had a wide range of examples in response to this question, showing that project management skills can be applied to small everyday projects, as well as big on-going tasks!

@jackoliver40: I’ve been involved with a larger project to create a new service desk to smaller e.g. intro of laptop loan and I had to lead on creation of a new service desk (we call it iZone) which was tied into a wider refurbishment. Challenging!

@louise_ashton: Small projects = creating online tutorials from scratch and a project involving reading lists & references

Bigger projects = new LMS, new library website, complete library refurbishment & arranging disposal of a patient lib

@LibWig: implementing a new database for recording enquiries #uklibchat

@Sonja_Kujansuu: I’ve helped out on many projects at work. Many reclassification projects of entire library collections, creating records on an Access database for foreign dissertations. Creating LibGuides, Measuring and doing an inventory of books.

@pmshort: I negotiated for space in the building to create a study support zone

@AidanBaker: Multi-site book move last year; sundry sub-projects to address the dust as it settled

@theangelremiel: I opened a new library. I expanded a 1 library system to 2 locations (without expanding the staffing, that was a mistake)

2. What are the good ways of getting experience in Project management if it’s not something you can do in your day job?

There are a wide array of ways to bolster your project management experience – from volunteering for committee and work, to planning a wedding! Some highlights to this questions are outlined below…

@jackoliver40: I think you can apply basic PM principles to many things e.g. a review of a basic process. Look at why, how, who and plan

@louise_ashton: Chartership needs PM. Extra curricular CPD – dissertations etc. Hobbies, social life too – planning a wedding!

 @louise_ashton: Anything outside of your day to day duties can be considered a project. So anything with a unique end result.

@tinamreynolds: Look out for project management modules whilst studying for an MA/MSc

3. Have you attended a course on PM? Was it useful?

@LibWig: Attended training courses from our in house learning & development team on PM. Found it v useful as was tailored to our workflow

The course we attended was quite short, which was good. Was about 2hrs, with take-away examples, exercises, sample worksheets

@greebstreebling: Yes, I have and it was useful. Not based on software but handouts to take away and worked through actual examples

I’ve had more formal PM training e.g. using MS Project. I’ve also had informal training on our own inhouse methodology

@preater: Not had formal PM training but have absorbed a lot by osmosis working with PMs. Doing Prince2 training later in September

@jackoliver40: Without formal learning, you can apply good self-organisation skills and planning. Works as well as any formal learning

@louise_ashton: Courses are good but it helps having had some experience to relate it to. Am trying to put what I’m learning in to practice

@tinamreynolds: Conference organisation for a prof body is a good way of getting PM experience

 @Sonja_Kujansuu: It has been briefly covered in training sessions I’ve go to at work and on my #libraryschool course but not very in depth.

 @pmshort: I attended a very good PM course run by JISC [please comment if you know any more about the JISC course! Ed.]

@darrentheviking: I’ve done a couple based around Prince 2 and a week long one around Accept (model for pharma industry)

4. What key skills do you need for project management?

Our respondents had a great range of skills that you can show and develop!

@louise_ashton: Having an overall vision of the end result. Clear aims and objectives.

@tinamreynolds: Organisation – must be organised or everything fails

@louise_ashton: Delegation of tasks is crucial!

@jackoliver40: Organisation. Need to be able to plan in advance. Need to listen to the project team and take input. Delegation of tasks

@LibWig: Understanding timescales and implications of missed/revised deadlines also important

@louise_ashton: Being able to manage resources and people. I think being able to motivate others is key too.

@pmshort: Taking ‘knocks’ on board and moving on. Learning from setbacks

@jackoliver40: You have to take ownership but try not to take things personally! Very hard to balance. Take time to reflect is good practice

@AidanBaker: Being able to tell joined-up thinking from project creep; knowing when to stop. #uklibchat

@edchamberlain: Tracking project progress across several teams and groups can be v. difficult.

@preater: Key skills IMO are getting buy-in across departments at the right level and being an effective political operator.

@Sonja_Kujansuu: Ability to understand the perspectives of other people working on the project.

@theangelremiel: Big one here is the ability to describe a project in as simple terms as possible… but no simpler.

5. What is it like working in a project team (not as manager)? Are expectations and requirements different from your desk job?

Unsurprisingly, our respondents explained that it can be very different to your day to day role – but this of course partly depends on what your core job description consists of! Time to work on the project was cited as becoming a problem in a number of replies.

 @theangelremiel: I’ve found on large projects there can be a problem if you’re also working a regular job. Time constraints & conflicts.

@jackoliver40: I have also been part of a P team. V diff to desk job. You need to plan time to commit. V good to gain broader experience

@theangelremiel: I think a crucial element of the definition is task-focus and time sensitivity. It’s a team that exists for the job. #uklibchat

@louise_ashton: The recognition that you often have to do projects alongside your everyday duties

@pmshort: Time management is vital…and the ability to get away from the day job. Prep for meetings and reflection time afterwards

@preater: Balancing requirements of day job vs. projects is challenging work time management.

@theangelremiel: My current job is in a very small team. Tough to differentiate between “project” & “regular” tasks.

@theangelremiel: @preater #uklibchat plus ego management. If you have a boss & a project boss heaven help you if they don’t get on.

@jackoliver40: I use my calendar to plan my time and colour code it to reflect meetings, core work, uni wide work, project work etc. helps!

6. What library activities fit project management activities?

Our first answer summaries the majority of responses quite nicely for this question!

@louise_ashton: Anything that is outside normal day to day activities.

A lot of projects seem to be about the implementation of a new system or way of working.

@jackoliver40: I think any task that involves a timeline and a change to process, no matter how small

@greebstreebling: Author events, literature festivals, refurbs, pretty much anything really #uklibchat

@louise_ashton: There seem to be a lot of digitisation projects going on at the moment

7 . Are there practical resources/stuff which show successful project management cases in similar places?

Only one resource was suggested for this question, though I suspect that there are plenty more out there. The problem is that they aren’t collated, but rather exist as examples in case studies etc. Other explained that libraries don’t market completed projects as such, but instead promote the resource that they have developed on the project, such as a new website or catalogue.

Look at the SLA survey in latest Information Outlook for September 2013.

8. Can you suggest any useful tools for project management?

Don’t under estimate the power of Excel!

@jackoliver40: We have formal documentation that helps e.g. PID, highlight reports, end report. Personally I like MS project for planning

@louise_ashton: The famous Gantt chart

@louise_ashton: I’ve seen massive projects – £1m lib refurb planned using Excel

@AidanBaker: I used smartsheet.com & re-acquainted myself w. Gantt charts.

@preater: Tools for collaborative work a great help I think. Doesn’t need to cost; but we get huge value from @atlassian @confluence.

@tinamreynolds: Obvious one would be MS Project. I like gantt charts for at a glance use #uklibchat

 @jackoliver40: I think for anyone doing smaller scale projects, excel is perfect to aid planning. Doesn’t need much more for a good outcome!

Thank you to all our participants!

About Sam (LibWig)

Chartered London law librarian

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2013 by in Discussion Summaries and tagged , , , , , .


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