(Digest #3) Project mutability: shifting identities and changing roles

This week was full of excitement.  Our Development Team continued working on getting Ivanhoe up and running; they will be presenting the working WP Theme to our Praxis team this Tuesday.

The Design Team started thinking more about how we want the name, logo, font, and overall aesthetic to reflect our game.  The name “Ivanhoe,” in particular, has long been a subject of some contention in our group.  To address this concern, Francesca and Zach will be giving two separate identity pitches for the game on March 4.  In the next couple of weeks, they will think through why we would retain the name “Ivanhoe,” why we might call it something else if we were to change the name, and what aesthetics we would use to reflect those decisions.  Stay tuned for a post from Francesca on this turbulent but essential process.

In addition to the activities of the two teams, the roles of our individual members have begun to shift, as well.  Eliza started out solely on development, and although she is still primarily a member of that team, she has become the primary wielder of CSS and HTML in the Praxis group.  Eliza is now actively applying the CSS of our wireframes to the Theme our developers have been creating in PHP; she thus has become somewhat of a development-design liaison.  This will prove invaluable when the Design team has given its identity pitches and it becomes time to bring the chosen identity to life in CSS.

Francesca will also begin to take on responsibilities beyond her role on Design.  After the identity pitches have been given, Francesca will spend more time writing the content of our informational website.  Part of the goal of the website will be to explain the decisions behind the game’s aesthetic, and Francesca will be well equipped to address them as a designer.  Thus, as Eliza shifts from Development to Design in March, Francesca will move into more of a Support role.

I think these developments are exciting.  As members become interested in different parts of the project, they can move into new roles.  This ability to adapt on the part of the entire group is in accord with our charter goal of flexibility.  It also reflects an attention to the ever-changing needs of the project itself.  As we move through the various stages of conceiving, building, and designing Ivanhoe, different types of work will become necessary.

I continue to sit in on the separate teams’ meetings and assign issues and milestones in GitHub.  The shifting roles within our team and changing requirements of the project have required me to continually adjust the assignments and reorganize workflow.  I also constantly re-conceive how I myself fit into the group as project manager.  That, however, is meat for another post.

This past May, 2014, I completed my M.A. in English at the University of Virginia. As a graduate student I focused on American literature, textual studies, and learning as much about digital humanities as possible. I served as project manager for the 2013-14 Praxis cohort, rebuilding the Ivanhoe Game. I now work at Rare Book School and the Washington Papers doing bibliographical research and social media. In my spare time I enjoy jamming on my violin, researching family history, and having movie nights with friends. I love ballroom dance, can't get enough opera, and enjoy making gourmet pizza at home.

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