#DivBlk: Principles in Action During a Website Migration

1) Project Management

Screenshot of Basecamp organizing

Final tasks for closing out the website migration work. After several major delays and more than a year later, the new sites went live on Dec. 16, 2020.

Migrating to a new content management system is a multi-dimensional undertaking with many pieces to be accounted for — and as we found out, sometimes pieces that we did not anticipate or underestimated the scope of the task. Particular challenges of this project were working on an academic calendar and the changing make up of the Website Committee regarding both semester availability and their expanding interests in other areas. Additionally, the position of project manager was only a part-time role held by David Kim who was also building his tenure track career as an English professor. In short, the ebb and flow of energy and people power makes it a challenge to plan work tasks and ensure quality control. In this framework, it is easier to see how and why this project took several years to complete. 

We dealt with this issue by identifying that we needed a project manager positioned in the Library with a strong background in digital publishing, web platforms, and website development. Thanks to a Mellon Foundation grant received in 2018 and the Library, Museums and Press’s commitment to support a shared digital scholarship librarian position, we hired Lauren Cooper for this position. Monica McCormick, Associate University Librarian for Publishing, Preservation, Research, and Digital Access, and the UD Library were generous in allowing Lauren’s time to be 100% committed to not just helping managing the CCP ecosystem, but specifically to focus time and energy on getting the new websites launched. We attribute the opportunity to have a full-time person focused on CCP crucial to moving us through the process to completion. As an experienced project manager, Lauren was able to adapt and shift priorities to the skill set make up of the Website Committee; and with her digital publishing and technical experience, was able to jump in the technical deep end to manage student, institutional and external teams for development and IT troubleshooting.

Takeaway 

Given the rhythm of an academic calendar, having a full-time project manager was critical to adapt work plans to the website committee members and skills set, and who had deep WordPress experience and technical breadth to manage the moving parts.

READ MORE: #DivBlk: Principles in Action During a Website Migration

The Colored Conventions Project appreciates the support of:

 

The Colored Conventions Project was launched & cultivated at the University of Delaware from 2012-2020.