Title: Project management in an open source developing community
Project Head: Joe Goldberg
Email Address: email@example.com
Type of Capstone (research or design/implementation): design
Credits Requested: 5
LiveJournal (www.livejournal.com) is an open-source online journaling service, developed by Brad Fitzpatrick and a handful of volunteers around the country (and some abroad). There is an information problem between the various volunteers working on LiveJournal, both between each other ("has x already been taken care of?") and between them and Mr. Fitzpatrick, LiveJournal's creator, ("what should I work on?", "do you have the skills necessary to develop x?").
My project would involve assessing the information needs of the two main stakeholders-volunteers and Mr. Fitzpatrick-and developing an automated system that would enable them to communicate, and for Mr. Fitzpatrick to assign projects to various volunteers with no overlapping and no projects being unassigned. If development work gets beyond the range of my expertise, LiveJournal volunteers have offered to assist me. Furthermore, if my research shows that an existing over-the-counter application suits the needs of the company best, then I will recommend that.
Needs assessment: a combination of email surveys and interviews (with local volunteers), and an in-depth interview with Mr. Fitzpatrick.
Impact assessment: after implementing the project management system, I will have access to all project timelines, so I will be able to see if projects that were stalled are now being worked on. Furthermore, I will conduct follow-up interviews and surveys to assess the impact on individual volunteers, and Mr. Fitzpatrick.
I think this is a fitting project, because it draws from material I've learned in 310 (how people go about finding information), 320 (a method of presenting both the "volunteer list" and the "to-do list" in a rich, easily searchable manner), 380/381 (analyzing LiveJournal's business/organization and information flow systems), and hopefully 340 (making a database with volunteers and projects for them to do).
Client Information: LiveJournal (www.livejournal.com)
Brad Fitzpatrick (firstname.lastname@example.org), President
Letter of Support from Client: I have a hardcopy of it.
Equipment or software you needed: none.