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Agile Adjustments: Choosing and Implementing Project Management Software for Agile Instructional Design

Cecile G. Paskett (University of Utah, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 2:30pm
Institutional Strategies & Innovations
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 7
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 8

Use or use not? Issues of adopting Agile project management software in an academic instructional design team.

Extended Abstract

An instructional design team at a four-year research institution adopted Planbox, web-based project management software, to use as part of their agile instructional design process. The experience of selecting, adopting, and implementing this software yielded a wealth of information related to using new technology while instituting a new project design approach.

This presentation will explore the three key issues that arose while choosing and adopting the software. These include:

1. The difficulties of selecting appropriate software.
2. Problems with buy-in and implementation.
3. Conflicts between project management processes and project management software.

Using the initial 8-month trial of the software as a case study, this presentation will highlight the problems encountered, and discoveries made, by the instructional design team. This case study will incorporate the experiences of the instructional designers with an evaluation of using agile instructional design within an academic environment.

The content of this presentation will cover an introduction to the team and its project management goals, a description and demonstration of the new software, an evaluation of both the software and of using an agile approach to design, and implications for other teams looking to adopt agile methods and technologies.

Participants should expect to learn the following -

- The software features and ancillary technologies that the team found helpful or unhelpful for their design process.
- Common difficulties in selecting appropriate software, including working with sales representatives, working with multiple academic departments, working with help desks, and integrating new software with preexisting services.
- Factors that impacted software use. Neither primary nor secondary digital divide issues seemed to be a factor in software adoption. Instead, the characteristics of the organization and of users seemed to play a bigger role in whether or not individual designers adopted the software. Participants will explore these characteristics and identify their impacts on team design.
- The relationship(s) between project management processes and project management software. Using an agile approach to instructional design requires a significant change to design and management practices. Adopting agile in language only diminishes the benefits of the approach and the applicability of the software. Continuing training in both project management software and project management practices are necessary to encourage software adoption. This presentation will outline which training approaches failed and which succeeded in bringing team members on board and up-to-speed.

During the presentation, we will demonstrate the software and show how we use it as part of our design process. Presentation slides will accompany the evaluation portion of the demonstration and will include links to relevant resources. We will also submit the slides to the conference repository. Because we know there are many software solutions out there, we look forward to opening the floor to a discussion, so we can all learn from each other's experiences with different technologies.

Lead Presenter

Cecile Paskett is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. I received my Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Utah and my Bachelor of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from McGill University. In addition to my research, which focuses on issues of visual communication, surveillance, and (re)development in urban environments, I am also a photographer who has exhibited both in- and out-of-state. Previously, I served as the editor of Lessons, a pedagogy-focused publication put out by the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) at the University of Utah.