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This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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The following is excerpted from the July 2010 Project Bamboo Technology Proposal to the Mellon Foundation.


6. Project Organization and Partner Roles

We have designed the organizational structure of this project to leverage the expertise and resources of its ten university partners so that we can deliver high quality results for each of the project’s major work areas and overall project goals. We recognize the challenges and risks of carrying out this project across multiple institutions in a number of countries. We believe that we have not only addressed these risks but that this particular project requires, and its strength comes from, a partnership model in which colleagues from the humanities, libraries, and IT across institutions work closely together to deliver results for phase 1 and prepare for the long-term sustainability of Project Bamboo’s efforts. We begin with a statement of key points about why the project’s overall structure will enable us to deliver high quality results, then provide details about each component of the project’s structure.

First, it is helpful to view the technical deliverables of this project as falling into two major categories: software development and software integration. Software development requires teams that are often tightly integrated and managed. Software integration requires technical staff from different projects who can work together at the right moments, and who can agree upon, implement, and test integration protocols and standards within and across projects. Integration projects are more loosely coupled than development projects, but require the right kind of community, incentives, and common language, often drawing deeply upon the skills of architects and projects managers in addition to those of software developers. Unlike many other community-source technology projects, this project is not just building one large application or tool, but rather developing, enhancing, and, critically, integrating several foundational platforms and applications. Our project structure is a reflection of these technical goals.

Complex software development described in this proposal takes place within an area of work, either Work Spaces or Scholarly Services and Bamboo Platform, but generally not between areas. That is, there is not major software development within Work Spaces that relies on software builds within the Bamboo Services Platform on a daily or weekly basis, or vice-a-versa.

There is, however, important software integration between these major areas of work. Work Spaces will need to be able to access services from Bamboo Services Platform, for example. To accommodate the project’s substantial software integration needs, we have not only built in staff time for this within each relevant area of work, but we have created the Collections Interoperability work team to provide additional specialized expertise and consulting related to those forms of integration in which software services and collections come together.

Second, for each of the project’s four major areas of work we have designed teams appropriate to realize the deliverables of that area. The Work Spaces and Scholarly Services on the Bamboo Services Platform areas of work are the two largest and most technically complex. We have made the most substantial commitment of resources here and identified lead institutions and lead staff for each area of work and sub-area. We have determined the technical and project management resources required to complete deliverables within each area and to integrate deliverables across areas.

Third, we note that this project benefits from the extensive planning and community building that the Bamboo Planning Project, generously supported by the Mellon Foundation, has afforded us. The partners in this project know each other and, in a number of cases, have built strong relationships. We have established an important foundation of trust, common language, and common commitment. These are essential to being able to start the work of this complex project quickly and to carry out it out across different teams and time zones.

Fourth, many of the institutional project teams carrying out the work of this project bring together staff not just from one area of their institution, but from humanities centers, libraries, IT organizations, e-research centers, and the like. This allows the project to draw on expertise and guidance from multiple parts of a campus. In the area of Collections Interoperability, for example, where the expertise and historical context of the library community are essential, we can turn to leaders with deep experience and connections in this domain. Project Bamboo will similarly benefit from the engagement of humanities centers and campus technology organizations.

Fifth, throughout the project model we have made a major investment in technical project management and architecture. Individuals filling these roles are essential to provide day-to-day guidance and “glue,” both within an area of work and, especially, between areas of work.

Sixth, we are making a major investment in coordinating and communication processes across the project as a whole and within each area of work. We will be using a number of technical project management processes and tools to facilitate project planning, tracking, and assessment, and to foster harmonious interaction within teams. We will make extensive use of the project wiki, web sites, mailing lists, collaborative writing and review practices, so that all and any participants (as well as other interested parties) can see and contribute to project progress.

Seventh, this project’s use of technical project management and architecture resources, as well as coordination and communication processes, will build on lessons learned in higher education about collaborative, community-source development from projects such as Kuali, Sakai, CollectionSpace, and OpenCast.

Eighth, we believe that we have brought together in this partnership talented and motivated individuals from each institution. This group is committed to working across institutional lines to realize the project’s goals at a very high quality, and to build a sustainable partnership model for support the long-term vision of the Bamboo Strategic Program.

The organization chart above shows the major project structure. In what follows in section 6 we describe the leadership structure of the project, the organization of the four areas of work, and then note a number of additional cross-cutting coordinating bodies that will help to integrate project activities. In section 7, we list all of the staff that will be part of these leadership and project teams.

6.1 Project Leadership

UC Berkeley will act as the managing partner to coordinate all project activity, manage the project funds, and act as the lead institution. Partner institutions will contribute within specific areas of work as either leaders or contributors, coordinating their activities with Berkeley in order to fulfill the goals of Project Bamboo. The Berkeley management team will include individuals in these roles: Principal Investigator, Executive Director, Project Manager, Administrative Support, and Financial Staff.

A Steering Council will guide the strategic directions of the project as a whole and ensure its continued alignment with the long-term strategic vision of Project Bamboo. The Steering Council will also be responsible for maintaining strong relationships with senior levels of institutional leadership, including leadership in technology, in libraries, and in the humanities. The Steering Council will be made up of senior humanities, library, and/or technical leaders from each partner institution, as well a number of external representatives. This group will meet as a minimum in quarters one, three, and five of the first 18-month project.

A Project Executive Group, made up of Project Leads from each major area of work and chaired by the Executive Director, will meet monthly to ensure that work in each area is on track and that work in different areas is coordinated.

We note as well that the Project Bamboo Consortium will convene a Humanities Faculty Committee and a Technical Advisory Committee to support Project Bamboo’s efforts as a whole. (Please see Section 10 on Long-Term Sustainability for an overview of the Project Bamboo Consortium and section 10.3 for a preliminary list of possible committee members.) These two committees will assist this project by communicating with a broad community of scholars, technologists, projects, organizations, and institutions worldwide. These committees will also help with the vital work of accelerating adoption of both the Bamboo services and the Bamboo philosophy of promoting sharable, reusable, open-source, interoperable technology.

[...]

6.6 Other Coordinating Practices and Groups

Work Area Coordination: In addition to the Project Steering Council and Project Executive Group described above, the following groups of project staff will meet and communicate regularly:

  • Architects Working Group: It will be critical that the architects and certain developers are in regular communication, especially given Bamboo’s emphasis on software integration and collections interoperability.  UC Berkeley will establish and facilitate regular communications within this group.
  • Technical Project Managers: It will also be important for technical project managers to be in regular communication, both within certain work areas (e.g., Work Spaces) and between work areas.   We will convene regular project manager meetings, reports, and check-ins.

Coordinating Principles: Bamboo will adhere to these basic principles:

  • The project is a collaborative and integrated software development and deployment initiative.  We will leverage skills and knowledge across institutions.  We will invest in developing the collective capacity of our teams and institutions.
  • The nature of integration will be appropriate to the project.  Some areas of the project will require tightly integrated project teams, developers, and management, for example, platform development.  Some areas of the project can be more loosely coupled, for example, the two Work Spaces development teams.
  • We will expect institutional teams to have at a minimum a local project leader, software developer, and technical project management staff.
  • We will build an active culture of wiki-based collaboration, and we will encourage communication and transparency.   Project participants will regularly communicate with each other and will share documentation and reflection on work practices. This is particularly important in a distributed technology endeavor.
  • Project partners and staff will engage with, learn from, and share information with humanities scholars, librarians, software developers, IT staff, and technology consortia outside of Project Bamboo.

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