45 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 292 2017 needed to be tested. To do this, our collections strategist proposed the formation of five teams to test and iteratively develop complementary facets of a solution.1 The mantra we came up with was inspired by the simplicity of Michael Pollan’s guidance presented in In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (New York: Penguin, 2008). Pollan opens with the line: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Our framing of our goals was less elegant, but hit the essentials: Spend all the money, on resources of highest value, on schedule, as a team. The last part is where we started on our path to do better than before. Working collaboratively, the directors in our Research and User Services department and our collections strategist identified five individuals to lead the teams and develop project charters. The leaders surveyed librarians with collection development responsibilities and (this turned out to be key) other librarians and staff to solicit interest in the teamwork, and to identify places where people without technical or subject matter expertise could nonetheless be assets to teams. The teams ranged in size from three members (Serials Acquisition Workflow) to six (Negotiation). Additional teams formed to focus on Serials Budget Planning, Communication & Data Visualization, and forecasting Demand-Driven Acquisition. Because we desired to be responsive to emerging information in the course of moving toward our goal, our project management approach reflected “agile” principles. These included values of showing work in progress regularly to the relevant stakeholders and incorporating that feedback into forthcoming stages of the work. We agreed that we would try things that would be experimental and would “feel weird” at first. We agreed we might fail here and there along the way. And we agreed that none of those feelings or small failures would get in the way of our meeting our goal. We would be honest about what we learned and use that knowledge to be better stewards of university resources. We agreed we would think of ourselves foremost as university trustees.2
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