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I'd also love to hear about first hand experience with other alternatives now that 4 years have passed since the question was first posted. </p> larrycebula@gmail.com on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-471 Sun, 17 Oct 2010 18:42:52 +0000 larrycebula@gmail.com 471@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p>Wow--I had no idea there were so many alternatives. And I am surprised not to see Google Groups or Windows Live groups listed. Why not those? They are simple, familiar, and fairly powerful. </p> Miriam Posner on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-466 Sat, 16 Oct 2010 01:08:50 +0000 Miriam Posner 466@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p><em>Replying to @Stéfan Sinclair's <a href="http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-432">post</a>:</em></p> <p>I hear you about face-to-face meetings, I really do, but I'm getting to the point (and I know this is near-universal) where I just can't keep track of all the stuff I and others are supposed to be doing, in my head or on a spreadsheet. And I'd really like other people to have a way of keeping track of their own responsibilities without relying on me to nag them. Plus, we can't keep switching among Gmail, Outlook, Dropbox, Google Docs, various text-editor to-do lists, Remember the Milk, and all the janky spreadsheets I've cobbled together. It's getting unmanageable and we've had a few near-missed deadlines and dropped balls, just because we can't get our stories or documents straight.</p> <p>Integrating Basecamp, Trac, and Subversion sounds promising -- I noticed that's <a href="http://blog.projectlocker.com/articles/2008/04/03/basecamp-integration-is-here">a possibility</a>. </p> Wayne Graham on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-463 Fri, 15 Oct 2010 23:35:43 +0000 Wayne Graham 463@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p><em>Replying to @<a href='http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/profile/jason'>Jason</a> Boyd's <a href="http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-460">post</a>:</em></p> <p>One technique I've employed in the past in smaller projects has been a simple whiteboard on wheels. Everybody could see what tasks needed to be completed, and it was redrawn on a weekly basis (with tasks crossed off as we went). This also had the nice side effect of people not interrupting the developers. As a general tip, make sure you provide developers with lots of uninterrupted time to do their work. Nothing kills productivity like being interrupted for a meeting in the middle of working through a complex piece of code. </p> <p>There's more, but I'll post on your other question as to not cross streams here... </p> Jason Boyd on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-460 Fri, 15 Oct 2010 20:10:39 +0000 Jason Boyd 460@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p><em>Replying to @Stéfan Sinclair's <a href="http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-432">post</a>:</em></p> <p>In the case where the project team works in close proximity together, and a collaborative project workflow management tool would be a distraction, how does the project manager manage? The one downside to face-to-face communication is it can easily lead to a highly informal communication environment where effective reporting and documentation of workflow and the management of that reporting and documentation can be a real problem for the project manager. To ask the original question somewhat differently, 'What are the best tools/techniques to help a DH project manager do his or her job?' </p> Julie Meloni on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-442 Thu, 14 Oct 2010 22:38:17 +0000 Julie Meloni 442@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p>Wayne has a lot of really great ideas especially for code-related management systems (which is really a topic -- and a good one -- all its own) and rightly points out/reiterates the importance of a culture <strong>that actually uses (and values) whatever tools are chosen on a daily basis, and they don't get in the way of the actual project, but enhance the workflow</strong>. Another thing that I don't think has been said but is really important is that the evaluation of the tools (and the extent to which you should push tool use, especially in a resistant group) should include (MUST include) a consideration of the needs of any funding agencies attached to the work. For example, with <a href="http://inke.ca">INKE</a> related things, <a href="http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/home-accueil-eng.aspx">SSHRC</a> has specific requirements as to what must be kept, what must be make public, what has to be tracked and documented, etc, and that had to have gone into the evaluation of Basecamp as the system used by the group. </p> Wayne Graham on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-433 Thu, 14 Oct 2010 19:12:30 +0000 Wayne Graham 433@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p>To add some other tools to the mix, you'll find that many hosting services all provide some mechanism for these types of efforts. GoogleCode (<a href="http://code.google.com" rel="nofollow">http://code.google.com</a>) gives you wikis, pages, lists, etc., but you can't control who has access to the code. Github (<a href="http://github.com/" rel="nofollow">http://github.com/</a>) and Bitbucket (<a href="http://bitbucket.org/" rel="nofollow">http://bitbucket.org/</a>) have similar features (pages, issue tracking, wikis), but also provide you with the ability to keep your repo out of the general public. One that I'm digging a lot lately is Project Kenai (<a href="http://projectkenai.com/" rel="nofollow">http://projectkenai.com/</a>) which lets you set up your project and select from several really nice bug trackers (my favorite is Jira), as well as choose what type of repository you want to use (svn, git, mercurial, even external hosting). I really like this one because of it's integration in to the IDE I'm using for this project. It allows me from within the tool I'm actually writing code in to actually see tickets, todos, pages, etc., saving me from remembering to go to some other tools to remember what's going on at any given point.</p> <p>One piece that I often find missing from the project management software is a dashboard that helps project managers actually assess the status of a code project at a given time. I've found that tools that generate reports of not only that the code is covered by tests, but the extend to which the tests cover the code in the files, coding standards, etc. are equally important tools. Depending on the type of project, I use either ant or rake tasks to generate these types of reports that help evaluate not only if a project is progressing, but if the underlying code is developed using standards-based approaches. To that end, I've found Hudson (<a href="http://hudson-ci.org/" rel="nofollow">http://hudson-ci.org/</a>) to be an invaluable tool to provide a dashboard for these reports. </p> <p>All of these tools have a level of sophistication that may make them difficult to get up and running (and if you're not used to their interfaces, quite intimidating). Something as simple as having a wiki and a code repository might actually be good enough to get you quite far down the road. You may also find that a lot of these tools, while cool, just get in the way of actual progress on the project. I think the most important thing is to develop a culture on the project that actually uses (and values) whatever tools are chosen on a daily basis, and they don't get in the way of the actual project, but enhance the workflow. </p> Stéfan Sinclair on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-432 Thu, 14 Oct 2010 19:07:07 +0000 Stéfan Sinclair 432@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p>If it's for a professor, a developer and a project manager in the same location, I don't think anything works as well as regular face-to-face meetings. In fact, my experience has been that collaborative tools have the effect of externalizing and confusing responsibilities and providing a handy excuse for problems.</p> <p>Having said that, what I like about Basecamp is the integrated email notification: you have an online trace of a discussion, but you also get notified by email *and* you can answer by email and that gets automatically added to the whiteboard. That's sweet. I don't think Basecamp is particularly strong for ticket management, version control, and the like.</p> <p>If the project or set of projects has a budget and technical support, you might want to consider Atlassian (<a href="http://www.atlassian.com/)" rel="nofollow">http://www.atlassian.com/)</a>. It has advanced wiki, project management, issue/ticket management, etc.</p> <p>Personally, for most projects I really like Trac for its lightweight mix of wiki, version control integration (SVN, don't know if it supports Git), integrated builds (with bitten), and, of course, ticket tracking.</p> <p>Again, though, I'd say the tools can be a distraction for a lot of projects, especially if physical proximity is possible. </p> ethan.watrall on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-431 Thu, 14 Oct 2010 19:00:51 +0000 ethan.watrall 431@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p>might want to have a look at Open Atrium (<a href="http://openatrium.com/" rel="nofollow">http://openatrium.com/</a>) </p> Miriam Posner on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-430 Thu, 14 Oct 2010 18:48:56 +0000 Miriam Posner 430@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p>Julie, thanks so much for this answer, which is so helpful. And thanks for the link to the Wikipedia comparison chart, which I hadn't seen before. I'd love to hear other people's answers, too.</p> <p>I'm not sure what I mean by DH-specific project-management features, either. I suppose what I'd had in mind were features for wrangling stakeholders who have vastly different roles, statuses, and interests in a project: say, a professor, a developer, and a project manager. But now that you've forced me to think about it, that's not so different from what any organization has to deal with.</p> <p>So maybe usability, rather than feature-richness, gets closer to what I mean. Are there systems that insinuate themselves more seamlessly into your daily workflow?</p> <p>And thanks again. </p> Julie Meloni on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-429 Thu, 14 Oct 2010 17:46:18 +0000 Julie Meloni 429@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p>As to the specific question of what does my group use: INKE uses Basecamp. I know CHNM uses Basecamp because the One Week|One Tool team has a slice of that installation. But at least for INKE, that's only one piece of the puzzle, which I'll discuss further on.</p> <p>I have no idea if that's any sort of standard across institutions or centers, but I do know that Basecamp is popular primarily because of it's ease of use, that it is web-based, and its price. Another bonus is its <a href="http://basecamphq.com/extras">ecosystem</a> of add-ons/3rd party tools. </p> <p>That really gets to the heart of the matter: what does "project management" mean to the organization? And, specific to this question, I don't know what a "DH-specific feature" means. </p> <p>An organization that needs to communicate with its employees and/or stakeholders, about project milestones, to-dos, document storage, etc, yes, a project management suite of some sort -- or at least a plan -- is a good idea. Whether that's roll-your-own using office tools and a wiki or whether that's something integrated into workflow (with actually business-oriented and organizationally-oriented tools like org charts, gantt charts, critical path visualizations, timetracking, so on and so forth)is up to the organization <em>and what the employees will sustain, working within guidelines enforced by management</em>. </p> <p>I think the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_project_management_software">Wikipedia comparison of PM software</a> is a good one because the chart itself is categorized well: collaborative tools, issue tracking, scheduling, document management, resource management. Those are all important categories that require <em>careful consideration</em> before selecting a suite that works best for the organization. For instance, if the organization is one that produces software then integration with an issue tracking system may be important -- or it might not, depending on how closely tied the development group is with the management group. </p> <p>_I_ would not implement any project management system that didn't at the very least have tools for collaboration, documentation management, and scheduling/resource management (with visualization tools). Issue tracking would be next on the list, as there are a whole set of lovely issue tracking tools that can be separated from the management layer (manager of dev group can report to management group at a high level, and keep the details separate). Web-based would be important to me only because I tend to work with disparate teams.</p> <p>I don't find any of these needs specific to DH. Or, more importantly, <em>not applicable</em> to DH -- they are all applicable, to varying degrees, just as all aspects of management and organization are applicable, to various degrees, to different industry sectors.</p> <p>Shorter me: INKE uses Basecamp. I like Basecamp. I would also use anything else that met the needs of my team, but most importantly as a manager I would support (and expect) use of the tool as part of employee workflow. It wouldn't be optional. </p> Miriam Posner on "Best DH project-management system?" http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/topic/best-dh-project-management-system#post-427 Thu, 14 Oct 2010 15:54:08 +0000 Miriam Posner 427@http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/ <p>What project-management system does your center or initiative use to monitor progress, set deadlines, keep track of issues, communicate with contributors, set to-do lists, and, well, manage projects as a group?</p> <p>My impression is that Basecamp is the "industry" standard. If you use it, are there things you wish it did better? DH-specific features you wish it had? Maybe it has too many features?</p> <p>My experience has been that any number of PM tools work great for a week or two, but if they're not really, really well-integrated into your workflow, they'll sort of drop out of use. </p>