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DH Project Management, or Scoping Infinity

Last night’s panel discussion of DH project management was not just filling (thanks, Scratch!) but also rewarding. The free-ranging discussion surfaced some tensions in building digital humanities projects that I found particularly familiar and compelling:

  • building public expectations for a project and managing those expectations internally
  • DH in pedagogy: walking the fine line between experiential learning and free labor
  • communicating mental models (the researcher’s understanding of the problem and the programmer’s understanding of how to meet this)
  • opening research to new audiences without compromising the integrity and value of that research for its core users
[For a fantastic summary of project management lessons learned the hard way, check out Josh Sosin’s post on this event, “Project Management and Little Donut Muffins.”]

Most of all, we experienced firsthand the importance of low-tech communication: as Ashley Reed pointed out many times in her workshop on project management, meeting and talking through ideas face-to-face is an important part of  working together. I’m grateful to our panelists — Ashley, Josh Sosin, Erin Parish,  Mary Caton Lingold — and everyone in attendance for helping us better appreciate how all parts of our project experience, failures and successes, help us to move forward.

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