Critical Project Management for DH Rethinking the Project Charter

1. Abstract

As project management (PM) has become recognized as central to a successful DH project, important resources have been developed to help DH scholars through the entire project lifecycle. However, most of these resources gloss over a tension at the core of implementing PM for DH: that the functionalist models from which PM is drawn is incompatible with the nature of humanistic inquiry. There is an opportunity to adopt a more critical project management approach, and to leverage PM methodologies not only for effectiveness and efficiency, but to establish a project’s intellectual, ethical, social and political values.

This workshop explores the notion of critical DH PM by focusing on a foundational best-practice: the project charter. We will introduce the charter as having two-fold importance: 1) it provides the project’s organizational infrastructure and 2) it defines and embodies a commitment to a set of values, providing space to negotiate topics like equity and fair labor, accountability, accessibility, sustainability and community practices. Charters are social, setting the tone for collaborative work and establishing the terms on which the project engages the public.

Workshop participants will be provided a template and opportunity to draft and get feedback on their own charters. Additionally, we will discuss and reflect on the charter as a writing and thinking process, engaging with ideas circulating in the DH community such as Ethics of Care/Carework (e.g. Suomela, et al, 2019, and Klein, 2015) and “critical management studies” in the project management community (e.g. Hodgson and Cicmil, 2008).

Natalia Ermolaev (, Princeton University, United States of America, Rebecca Munson (rmunson@Princeton.EDU), Princeton University, United States of America and Andrew Janco (, Haverford College, United States of America

Theme: Lux by Bootswatch.