A lot of folks want to talk about project management with us. And we get it. Project management systems are, at best, imperfect. And there are so many! How can a group ever know for sure that they’re using the best practices for their group?
We use (and have used) a lot of different tools and systems and frameworks. It depends on the project, who’s the project manager (PM), what the client already uses, what people care about, and so on. The truth of the matter is that no one project management system has been our favorite. They’re all *imperfect.
This post is a basic run-down of some of these tools. You can pick and choose what works best for you. Then let us know how you do project management! We’re always looking for new and creative solutions to common human problems.
I recently designed a report for a very cool organization called Little Sis (think opposite of Big Brother). They're self-described as "a grassroots watchdog network connecting the dots between the world's most powerful people and organizations". Basically, they follow the money and build interactive maps to show you who's got influence over whom.
This particular report was about the connections between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, President Trump, and fossil fuel interests. The folks at Little Sis had a small budget of $1000 and a short deadline of just about 4 work days.
One of our existing clients, Cathy O’Neil of ORCAA, asked us for some design help a couple months back. She does algorithmic auditing. Meaning: she checks the algorithms companies are building/using for bias. Sometimes algorithms create unfairness without intention. ORCAA wants to fix that and help groups write more unbiased algorithms. They control so much of our lives, after all. You can find algorithms used in teacher pay, the banking system, criminal justice statistics, and more. Even the media we see can be determined by algorithms.
It’s probably stating the obvious, but I really like to support folks who are working for a cleaner, healthier, fossil fuel-free future. Colorado Rising is a local grassroots group doing exactly that. They’re working at getting a new issue on the ballot for the 2018 election that would change the regulations for oil and gas development.
A while back we launched the website for Smart Start New Hampshire, a statewide initiative to help families in the Granite State get access to early childhood development opportunities. They were recommended to us by Hilary Nachem, someone I’ve known — and had the chance to collaborate with a few times — over the last few years.
The request was straightforward: a simple WordPress site that the team could edit easily, a nice brand to match their lovely logo which had been done prior to our collaboration, and a way for people in New Hampshire to search for (and contact) their local legislators. The shining gem of the project was the Legislator Lookup plugin we developed.
You can check it out on their live site and read the blog post about how it was built.
When Katie and I set off to create Good Good Work, before we even had a name, we were looking for legal advice. We wanted to start a social enterprise that was prefigurative, legally sound, and reflected our radical values. Katie and Jason had been moving in similar circles in Colorado for a while (most specifically, platform cooperativism) and his name kept popping up. It didn’t take us long to realize that we’d be great collaborators.
We decided to work with him to design our business, you know, the one that eventually evolved into the Good Good Work Co-op. Our relationship was built on mutual aid and in-kind trade. As he set up our business we began working on his website, which we all felt didn’t express his professionalism, skill, and leading edge practice. Read more
In early August, organizers from the March for Racial Justice connected with us, needing a website for their march in Washington DC on September 30th, 2017. We were able to get started on August 15th, after writing up a statement of work that outlined a design and development process.
It quickly became clear that things were moving faster than our plan could handle. There were over 6 thousand people “going” to the Facebook event and over 50,000 “interested”, with no website to speak of. Andrea, the point person who brought us into the project, was overwhelmed and stretched thing, taking on more than she could handle. In addition to making a website, our goal was to make her life — and the lives of the other organizers — less anxiety-inducing. Read more
I’m co-working with Katie today in a Brooklyn Cafe. An old friend Pablo ran into us and we got to talking about our upcoming trip to Spain and what each of us are working on. Pablo revealed that he is working on relief work for Puerto Rico and that they needed a map. I’ve gotten really good at setting up maps recently, you can read more about how I do it here.
Pablo called up his contact, shared a Google spreadsheet and in a few minutes I had this map setup based on a spreadsheet of donation drop off locations across the US maintained by Pablo’s team. See it after the jump. Read more
The background on the work
Boulder County, Colorado has a working group dedicated entirely to their local foodshed. The Boulder County Foodshed is,
“a new educational campaign formed by a coalition of business, government and non-profit leaders in Boulder County. Our goal is to balance our food system by promoting the increased production, consumption, and preservation of regional and local food options.”
After their formation and initial kickoff another group offered to build their website. And they made a lovely looking website, you can check it out here.
What we did
The Shed team approached us to inject some more interactivity into their site. The main calls to action weren’t clickable and had no other content associated with them. They were ready to write that next batch of content and up their online outreach game. We were happy to oblige.
This is the story of free and open source solutions that made an event more inclusive and less costly.
On the weekend of June 9th, 2017, thousands of progressive americans came together in Chicago for the 2nd annual People’s Summit. There were inspiring speakers, such as Nina Turner, as well as brilliant panels that enlightened, informed, and educated the throngs of activists who had gathered from around the nation. The keynote speaker was Bernie Sanders, who asked the assembled crowd of over 4,000 attendees, “How many of you have run for office, or are actively involved in local campaigns? Stand up.” Half the audience stood. It was truly inspiring.
A few months earlier, in April, organizers came to us, looking for a solution to sell tickets more profitably. Last year, Eventbrite had cost them an exorbitant sum of money in fees. Fees that could have been spent on stipends to help people attend—one of The People’s Summit’s main goals. So, this time around, they wanted to deploy their own ticket sales system.
In the end, we delivered a unique solution that not only helped them achieve their goals, but also saved them ~ $10,00 in fees.
Back in May a connection referred us to Kottke & Brantz for some branding work. They’re a law firm in Boulder with a long history of serving the community, and they needed a fresh look without too much fanfare, something modern that fit their image, but no need to go over the top with marketing materials. So after getting some basic info about their time, budget, and the branding assets they required, we decided to offer them our Starter Pack. It seemed to fit well within all the project constraints and meet their needs.
We have a design principle here at Good Good Work around taking things slow. Thoughtful design process and careful planning are an investment that yields better products that are often less costly and time-consuming. There are, however, times when you just need a website (and a logo) online in 5 days.
That’s where DSA Praxis was when they came to us, a big conference looming just a week away and no website or even a simple landing page at the ready. A big problem indeed. Read more
The People’s dorms
This year we were invited to collaborate with The People’s Summit; they needed a hand with some technology and we were happy to help! Our biggest job was building a custom system for their application and registration process. One of the smaller things we did was help them stand up a quick online store for conference attendees to book rooms. With over 4,000 people in attendance—and many needing financial help—having some less expensive (or free) places to stay was crucial. The dorms cost people roughly $32/night where the average hotel in downtown Chicago is about $240/night, making attendance at the conference possible for many more people.
We really want to applaud the staff for prioritizing accessibility instead of profit, especially considering their goal of supporting grassroots groups and community leaders and getting people ready to run for local office.
This week I finished some design work for The Body Political, a powerful and subversive burlesque event in San Francisco. In their words:
…this show is a space of resistance. We honor and listen to the diverse voices of our community, hearing stories of acceptance and self-love. It is within these stories, and the courage of their storytellers, that we resist, we disrupt, and we reclaim. This is place for us. Our Bodies, Our Rules, Our Stories.
I was thrilled when co-producer Laika Fox approached me about getting involved. And while you won’t see me on stage, I fully support and encourage people reclaiming their bodies. It’s all done in service of working in a prefigurative space. All bodies are good bodies! Read more
In early April, we connected with a team from Make the Road and the Center for Popular Democracy. They needed a campaign website geared towards calling out corporations complicit in Trump’s “anti-immigrant, anti-worker” agenda. We collaborated with them in the creation of a dynamic website that would allow visitors to send letters to the CEOs of 9 companies who “backed hate”. We delivered backersofhate.com, a multilingual responsive site with a clever content management system that integrated with The Action Network — all within a tight 2-week deadline. Read more