More Than Surviving: Week 3 Update

This week we’ve taken some important steps in creating shape to our process.

  • Elizabeth did some preliminary investigations into the project management tool, Notion, and steered us into another direction she felt would serve us better. Moving forward we’ll be working with Asana. We’ve worked out a philosophy for using our in class and extra meeting times that feels productive. This includes using class days as makers of completion and non-class meeting days as opportunities to collaborate and check in. We’ve also baked into our plan an imperative to celebrate in person! There are a few milestones that feel particularly good matches for that: Finishing research, finishing the timeline and map, and finalizing Q/A.
  • We refined our team roles, this time with a bit more information regarding the timeline. We’ll all be wearing 2 or more hats that come on and off as the project progresses. Elizabeth and I worked out a basic timeline that we did our best to ensure anticipates bottlenecks and contingencies. We expect the timeline will shift as we discover unforeseen steps or snags (or speed!!), but there’s enough wiggle in the system at the moment for that.
  • Estefany helped us get organized using Doodle—we were able to quickly pin down our second weekly meeting time. She also came to the conversation with a flexibility that will come in very useful as we shift between different roles. 
  • Zelda offered their research regarding a tech platform and interactive tools. They are finalizing a recommendation based on the imperative that it be easy to use (for them and future admins) and that they will be able to easily complete the work given the restricted timeframe. As a team we are also considering the best options for where to house the site to ensure it lives on long after the semester ends and can support continued updating. At the moment we are leaning towards Mapbox, leaflet, and opensource maps embedded into a Flask platform. (It all sounds a bit fancy to me, and I look forward to better understanding how all the technical bits fit together.)
  • In the meantime, I’ve been finalizing the 3rd iteration of the project proposal. It feels a bit funny to revisit the original text again—editing down oneself can be a bit tricky when your brain carried the original flow. I have, however, succeeded in  cutting many a word  to make the suggested word count in the guide.
  • This Wednesday I plan on bringing some basic site architecture and data guidelines to help push us into our next phase which will include diving into research and setting up the interactive components of the site.

To close, I will just say that as the person who proposed the project I am trying my best to balance having a vision for the project with a strong desire to make sure everyone is included and feels a sense of ownership. In an effort not to box anyone in or minimize other people’s participation in the class, I tried to disperse some of the steering. I recognize now that this can make the boat go in a slow circle. I’m making adjustments to ensure everyone feels excited and can see the path forward. I also recognize that skills posts are quite peculiar in that — yes there is a list of wha everyone is able to do— but no that doesn’t totally make it visible or real. Zelda had the excellent idea to have a team building session which we are trying to get on the books, and during that time I would like to make space for folks to, among other things, share work they are proud of so they feel seen and we can all take away a richer understanding of their talents.