The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

project administration documents

Posted by yishaym on January 18, 2008

I’m a bit baffled about this one, and I suspect others are facing similar problems. In fact, apart from this being a concrete problem we’re confronting, there may be a pattern in here.

We need to agree on a set of document which define the administrative structure of the project. These include statatory documents, such as the consortium agreement, project plan, workpackage details, roadmap, etc. These may be frozen at some point. Other documents will evelove continously over the project life time.

There’s two related issues that I want to consider:

  • Which form / format should these documents use?
  • How do we manage them.

So far we’ve been using word documents, stored on the google group file area. I see several potential difficulties with this mechanism:

  1. It doesn’t scale as a file manager. there’s no support for folders, or any other scheme for managing large number of files.
  2. It doesn’t support collaborative editing, commenting and versioning. Let’s say I want to suggest an ammendment to the plan. how do we facilitate this?
  3. Some forms of administrative knowledge ae better represented as mindmaps, gantt charts, spreadsheets, etc. How do we choose formats?

There are several alternatives we can consider, but none seem ideal.

Option 1: version control

We have a subversion repository on the google code site. We can host all documens there.

Pros:

  • consistent. one place for all outputs.
  • easy to browse.
  • supports versioning (obviously).
  • extreme transparency.

Cons:

  • everyone needs to master subversion (not too hard to do).
  • extreme transparency.

Option 2: wiki

Pros:

  • easy to use.
  • supports versioning.
  • managed transparency.

Cons:

  • easy to mess up.
  • limited editing capacity.
  • potential problem with exporting to deliverable format (depends on particular clone).

Option 3: google docs

Pros:

  • easy to use.
  • supports versioning.
  • managed transparency.
  • familliar format.

Cons:

  • limited editing capacity.

Option 4: document management system

Pros:

  • does all we want.

Cons:

  • costs money.
  • requires maintanence.
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