Project Management in the Library

I am a “Special Projects Librarian” at the University of Michigan, and, as it turns out, that’s a pretty neat role.  It’s never dull, that’s for sure!  My position involves quite a bit of process management (e.g. I run a process whereby committees can add new members via an “open call”), but also project management for a diverse suite of projects.  My day seems never to be the same.  I’m always working – but always on different combinations of projects.  It’s quite fun, and I think, really valuable for the organization.

When I first started my position, I had had a bit of formal project management training through some coursework at the School of Information.  Still, I decided to seek out some more professional development opportunities in that area in the hopes that I would be able to use some common techniques and methods in the work I do.  After finding a course on project management in libraries via Library Juice Academy, I decided to take that (thank you Library Human Resources for the funding!) and ultimately report back to the Library on what I had learned.*

Today is that day!  (The day I report back on what I’ve learned).  I’m giving a talk today for a brown-bag lunch series hosted by a Project Management “Special Interest Group” I’m in.  I even posted my slides to SlideShare (a new thing for me!).

Neat!  Sadly, there is one image you won’t see because it’s not cc licensed.  Ah well.

My plan is to talk for about half the time – giving only the highest level view of project management – and then have a discussion with whomever shoes up on to what extent we are already using project management methods in our library already, what aspects of project management approaches and techniques could help how we run things now, and ways in which we could implement these approaches and techniques.  My hope is, too, to explore the role of the Project Management Special Interest Group in bringing about any changes we want around aspects of project management in the library.

If there’s time after that, I’ve got some templates to share with people and a hands-on activity planned if that seems useful to folks.  Some of the templates I have from the course seem too formal to use in our library, but one thing I think our PM-SIG could do is build and test out some more flexible templates in Google docs to share with people in the library.  This, really, is my goal for the session:  to have people in the PM-SIG get interested enough to think about collaborating on some project management templates that work for us… we’ll see how it goes!

So, dear readers, how about you?  What do you think about project management in libraries?  Is it emphasized in your library?  Is it worth going to workshops on the topic?  What aspects of project management would you like to incorporate more into your work?

Also, sidenote… this is my 50th post!  Yay!

* I have to say, the Library Juice Academy course was fine – the assignments asking us to fill out templates (i.e. scoping documents, project charters, work breakdown structures, etc.) for projects we were involved in were where I think I learned the most in that course – but, I got a more cohesive sense of the theory behind project management with this book:  Effective Project Management by Robert Wysocki.  Do not be scared by the girth and heftiness of this tome!  It is very easy to read and just taking a look at the introductory chapters is very helpful!


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