Starting in September I am going to be the Director for the SocialLearn project here at the Open University, for 6 months at least. The Vice Chancellor and senior management have agreed to fund us so we are pushing ahead on a punishing development schedule to have something usable by next February (with releases along the way).
Taking on the responsibility of director is a double-edged sword. On the one hand I can influence the project more and make decisions. On the other hand, I can't blame anyone else.
I am also using the project to explore different approaches to management. My starting rules are:
i) No regular, formal meetings. We have informal, impromptu meetings as we need them with the people who need to be there, rather than everyone coming to meetings which are scheduled.
ii) Alternative forms of output – I want us to go beyond the standard report or paper that nobody really reads, and ends up being the focus of the project itself.
iii) Openness – we will hopefully let you know how it goes as we go along and encourage input.
This last one will be particularly interesting for me – it's easy to be a blogger when you don't have much responsibility, but it strikes me that the as your official responsibility increases so the the amount of stuff you can happily blog about decreases proportionally. So, for the sake of the project I may find that I can say less and less about it. But I hope not, and my default position is to be open as we go along.
So, watch this space and see either a) a successful project come to fruition or b) a Professor unravel before your eyes. Either one should be entertaining.