Library Project Planning, part 2

The Project Plan itself

In the process of trying to work out much of the logistics of the project plan, numerous questions about the library’s organization arose, up to and including what actual stake our primary contact even had in the project. It was very frustrating trying to assign tasks (or even determine the project’s key stakeholders or champion) without having the deeper understanding of the Health Sciences Library as a workplace that actually working there would give. I felt like we needed to include a disclaimer alongside many of the assignments that we were uncertain of how much of that particular duty a person of such-and-such job title should undertake. For example, I’ve learned that as head of reference services and at a middle management level, Brad Long would be the one to get the ball rolling on training, but this still leaves the uncertainty as to how much of the training development he would truly be involved in as opposed to delegating. It makes me wonder how true consultants are able to adequately get a grip on the mechanics of their client companies.

Settings dates in the timeline was also an exercise in frustration, as there didn’t seem to be room to really explore all the different possibilities that could occur. Of course, such is the way of life and that is why the plan needs to be flexible with room for continuous assessment to monitor for such deviations. This initial anticipated plan still feels incomplete to me: if they realized they needed to add a feature to some software at some point in their evaluation, I really have no idea how long it would take to write the code for that mystery feature.

There were numerous instances in which we were uncertain of our bounds, as well, which also slowed progress on the plan. When we considered, for instance, that exit survey questions should be created for chat reference sessions and that process had to go into the timeline, we were unsure if we were the ones who ought to devise the sample questions or only assign someone else to do it.

There is also the matter of how far outside the project team’s current conceptions we ought to go. When researching for the literature review, I found (and discussed) a number of software options, some licensed, some open-sourced, for performing chat reference or creating an FAQ or for collaborating with other libraries (a possible future goal beyond this project). However, it turns out they had already implemented a tracking software just prior to this project beginning, they have already planned on using Meebo for chat, and now they have a ticketing software in mind. They claim on the one hand to not have this project really thought out and to be curious about what other libraries are doing and what their options are, and yet it feels like they’re already locked in certain things regardless of what I find. I realize that having a software package picked out is a far cry from a fully-realized project plan, but it still leaves me a little uncertain as to what they really want from us.

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