Part 3: Create a Museum Digital Project Workflow that Works

Rachael Cristine Woody

Rachael Cristine Woody

December 08, 2021

This is the final post in the Museum Digital Project Workflow mini-series. If you missed the introduction to workflow creation (Part 1) or how to create each workflow element (Part 2), make sure to read those posts for how to get started. We conclude this mini-series with a post that shares my best advice on how to become a confident workflow creator and manager.

Advice for Workflow Supports to Create

As the workflow creator and manager, it’s critically important to build in mechanisms that ensure consistent quality that meets standards and project specifications. I recommend creating the following assets for your team to access and refer to:

  • A clearly written project scope that is kept front and center and reviewed at project check-in so that everyone understands and remembers why the workflow is set up the way it is.
  • Visually easy to follow workflow documentation. These can be created with Microsoft Visio, PowerPoint, Canva, and similar content creation software.
  • Project documentation and instructions available in two formats: 1. Text with screenshots for each step or click needed; and 2. Audio-visual documentation in the form of a recording.

And specific to cataloging:

  • Identify cataloging fields with indications of “required” and “recommended”.
  • Indicate standards, classifications, thesauri, and authorities the museum follows when cataloging.
  • Articulate guidelines for how data should be entered into each field, including standardized language, avoidance of abbreviations and acronyms, and appropriate writing style.
  • Create a template within the CMS or spreadsheet being used so that data creation is consistent.

To read more on how to construct a museum digital project workflow equation, please see The Importance of Sustainable Museum Cataloging & How to Achieve It post on the Lucidea’s Think Clearly Blog.

These Words are the Key to Staff Workflow Success

These words may look familiar as we’ve used them when discussing digital project strategies. The secret is that the best strategies for project management also hold true when working within workflows.

  • Accountability: With workflows it can be easy to fall into a trance. Periodic quality checks at every stage in the activity should be implemented and conducted at regular intervals and optimally by someone not performing the majority of that particular activity.
  • Communication: If your museum is larger than a 1-person shop and there’s more than 1 person in your workflow, communication is key. (As are clearly defined roles and responsibilities). Even if these staff work together regularly, I recommend holding regular check-ins to discuss how things are working, reviewing project progress, and make adjustments.
  • Flexibility: Despite all best efforts and pro-level planning, there are still things that will be out of our control. The key is to approach each project with a good plan and the ability to be flexible when that plan needs to be changed.

To read more on digital project strategies, please see The Top 3 Museum Digital Project Strategies That Lead to Success post on the Lucidea’s Think Clearly Blog.

The 3 Things You Need for Workflow Management Success

You can create a beautiful digital project workflow on paper, but if you don’t have these three things, it’s going to be difficult to establish a workflow that leads to project success. You need:

  • Enough of the right resources to execute and manage the project effectively.
  • The capacity to review and adjust the workflow until it’s consistently delivering the way you need it to.
  • The time to execute the parts of the workflow accurately and according to best practices and other project specifications.

Conclusion

This concludes our miniseries on museum digital project workflows. You now have the framework you need to start creating and improving upon your own project workflows. Good luck and have fun!

Additional Reading

Are you interested in reading more? Please check out these related posts on Lucidea’s Think Clearly Blog:

5 Prompts to Prioritize Museum Digitization Projects

A Thoughtful Approach to Museum Digital Project Creation

Considering Museum Digitization Tools by Item Type

How to Build Sustainability into Museum Digital Projects

How to Choose the Right Tools for Museum Digital Projects

How to Construct a Museum Digitization Equation

How to Establish Museum Digital Project Core Areas

Museum Digital Project Specifications

Ready to Read: How to Select, Buy, and Use a Museum CMS

The Importance of Sustainable Museum Cataloging & How to Achieve It

The Top 3 Museum Digital Project Strategies That Lead to Success

What to Do When It’s Your First Museum Digitization Project

Upcoming Webinar

Museum Digital Project Fundamentals Part 6:
Create a Museum Digital Project Workflow that Works

Museum expert Rachael Cristine Woody is partnering with us to present Museum Digital Project Fundamentals Part 6, on December 15, 2021 at 11 AM PT. She will address workflow elements, testing, and refinement, and offer advice on how to create and manage foolproof workflows that lead to success.

(Can’t make it to the event? Register anyway and we’ll send you a link to the recording).

Rachael Cristine Woody

Rachael Cristine Woody

Expert Rachael Cristine Woody advises on museum strategies, collections management, and grant writing for a wide variety of clients. In addition to several titles published by Lucidea Press, Ms. Woody is a regular contributor to the Think Clearly blog and a popular presenter. And learn about Lucidea’s Argus solution for powerful and innovative museum collections management.

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