Design Thinking & Project Management

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Design Thinking has emerged as a practical methodology for driving innovative outcomes. This blog aims to explore the intersection between Design Thinking and Project Management and to start a conversation on leveraging Design Thinking for contribution to the Project Management practice.

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Design Thinking Introduction for Project Leaders

Comparison of PM Approaches - Help Needed

Thoughts on PMI 's Strategy Refresh

Professional Development Day Volunteering

Design Thinking Resources for Project Managers

Design Thinking Introduction for Project Leaders

The pace of change and disruption in the business environment demands that we, as Project Leaders, grow and acquire new skills. To be successful, we need to look past the rigor and discipline of managing projects and embrace agility and collaboration, thinking about customers first, with innovation and adaptive leadership.

Design Thinking has emerged as a successful methodology that organizations use to approach problem-solving and delivery of innovative solutions that delight their customers. Design Thinking provides models for project leaders to be more successful in this every-changing profession.

My webinar from May 2016 outlines the benefits of incorporating design on projects while providing a high-level overview of methods and tools:

 

https://www.projectmanagement.com/videos/330087/Design-Thinking---Project-Management

 

Connect with me on Linkedin or follow me on Twitter @brucegay

Posted on: February 13, 2019 06:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Comparison of PM Approaches - Help Needed

Fellow Project Leaders - I need help validating the information in the chart above comparing management of communications, quality, and risks across PMBOK, PRINCE2, Agile and Lean approaches. 

I plan to use this summary as a starting point to show areas where incorporating design methodologies on projects could show benefit.

Feedback is most welcome.

 

Posted on: December 31, 2018 04:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thoughts on PMI 's Strategy Refresh

The PMI Board of Directors is discussing what the organization should be doing to facilitate implementation of its “strategy refresh".

The objective of the "refresh" appears to be a return to the original mission when the organization was founded in 1969 - service and support project management practitioners. Over the years, however, PMI has drifted from this initial focus. The current Board of Directors' discussions are asking the question: What can PMI do to demonstrate that it has the right focus and is providing value to its members?

From my perspective, there is a clear sense of PMI's shift toward the individual (not just chapters), as evidenced by the EMEA Congress 2019 program theme of  “Innovation Made Possible by a Project Manager.” This shows movement toward serving the members better, but it also has me thinking about PMI's “strategy refresh". 

Here are some of my thoughts on implementing PMI's “strategy refresh":

  1. Reduce the proliferation of certifications offered by PMI and focus on the fundamentals of project management,
  2. Differentiate and show value of PMP from other certifications like PRINCE2, ITIL, etc.
  3. Educate members about adjacent certifications and partner with those groups as the management of projects evolve,
  4. Promote both the hard and soft skills that project leaders need for future of work (e.g. less command & control and more adaptive planning and discovery),
  5. Be more supportive of chapters and regions - Global staff should be seen more often and be more responsive to innovations from and the needs of chapters,
  6. Continue and boost efforts to promote project management with veterans and universities, and
  7. Have more fun! Our profession is both challenging and rewarding, but in the end - we get stuff done!

What opinions or recommendations do other members have around PMI's "strategy refresh"? 

Posted on: December 11, 2018 11:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Professional Development Day Volunteering

Last week, the PMI Pittsburgh Chapter held its annual Professional Development Day (PDD). The volunteer organizing committee rallied around the theme of "Adaptive Delivery", which served as a common thread woven though our speaker's topics and presentations.

The PDD is our chapter's largest event of the year and after staging it in the city's suburbs for the past 5 years, the event returned to downtown Pittsburgh. We found the central location boosted attendance and we actually had to cut off registration in advance of the event.

I played the role of both volunteer organizer and session speaker, so I had the unique vantage of what was going on behind the scenes as well as on stage at the PDD. 

Here are some observations that I made leading up to and during the day of the PDD:

  • It takes a lot of planning and volunteer hours to pull together an event like PDD or PM symposium - but it is well worth it!
  • Having a clear chain of command and defined roles and responsibilities keeps things moving along.
  • Having a balance of "thinkers" and "doers" on the volunteer committee is key. Too many of one type would cause issues.
  • The networking opportunities were awesome! I am now closer to my fellow committee members and had the chance to network with sponsor companies and well-known speakers. 
  • While it sometimes seemed like a second job, we could have fun too!
  • Spending social time with the speakers the day before the PDD made them feel more connected to our chapter. 
  • Reading survey feedback from attendees is both very humbling and rewarding.
  • Lastly, volunteering the PDD is a great way to become immersed in your local chapter's activities and recognize by the chapter leadership team.

Looking forward to an event bigger Professional Development Day (PDD) in November 2019!

Posted on: November 12, 2018 05:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Design Thinking Resources for Project Managers

"Evolve or be Disrupted"

The pace of change and disruption in the business environment demands that Project Managers acquire and grow new skills. Indeed, we need new tools and models to operate in a more flexible, discovery-driven world. To be successful, our profession needs to look past the rigor and discipline of managing projects and embrace agility and collaboration, thinking about customers first, innovation and adaptive leadership. Design Thinking has emerged as a successful methodology that organizations use to approach problem-solving and delivery of innovative solutions that delight their customers.

This article provides an updated list of resources that Project Managers (and others) can use to become more knowledgeable on Design Thinking. (In no particular order.)

IDEO

IDEO (pronounced "eye-dee-oh") an international design and consulting firm headquartered in Palo Alto, California, has been a leading proponent of applying design thinking methodology to design products, services, environments, and digital experiences.

Frog Design

Frog is global product strategy and design firm founded in Germany and currently headquartered in San Francisco, California. Frog has developed and made available a "Collective Action Toolkit" that helps put design-thinking tools into the hands of local change agents to transform their communities. While this toolkit is more geared to solving community problems, the tools and methods can be applied to problem-solving in the government and business sectors.

Stanford d.school

If there is one place to start learning more about Design Thinking, I would highly recommend the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, more commonly known as the "d.school." The d.school provides an excellent "Virtual Crash Course on Design Thinking" on their website.

Luma Institute

The LUMA Institute provides training programs for learning and applying key practices of human-centered design. Their "Looking, Understanding, Making" approach is very accessible to average people who may not necessarily think of themselves as "innovators". 

Google Ventures (GV)

GV has developed a 5-day process for tackling business questions through design, prototyping, and testing of ideas with customers. A guide for "The Design Sprint" is laid out nicely at their website.

IBM Design Thinking

IBM Design Thinking is billed as a scalable framework to help teams understand and deliver. At the heart of this framework is a is a set of behaviors focused on discovering users’ needs and envisioning a better future, called the "Loop." The Loop is a continuous cycle of observing, reflecting and making.

Interaction Design Foundation

The Interaction Design Foundation is a 16-year-old nonprofit community, founded in Denmark, whose aim is to lower the cost of design education. IDF offers an extensive library of design-related textbooks and comprehensive instructor-led online courses.

Canva

Canva is a graphic-design tool website, that uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. In 2014, the Canva team unveiled the Canva Design School; a new platform, workshop series and teacher resource hub designed to increase the world’s visual literacy.

Design Council UK

Design Council’s stated purpose is to make life better by design. It’s mission is to champion great design that improves lives and makes things better. The Design Council aims to harness design to drive business growth and improve service efficiency, design practical solutions to complex problems, create better, more sustainable places, and to lead and share the latest thinking on design.

University of Copenhagen's Innovation Toolbox

The aim of the innovation toolbox is to support teachers with planning and carrying out innovation & entrepreneurship teaching, both in relation to minor processes and workshops as well as longer-term courses. The innovation toolbox provides an overview to Design Thinking and provides over forty methods to use on projects.

Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI)

HPI is an institute and faculty of the University of Potsdam. Since 2007, the HPI School of Design Thinking has brought together students and academics from different fields to work in multidisciplinary teams where they learn to become innovators and to develop user-friendly products and services.

 

I am passionate about the intersection between Design Thinking and Project Management and welcome any feedback or comments on available Design Thinking resources. 

Connect with me here on Linkedin or follow me on Twitter @brucegay

Posted on: October 21, 2018 07:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)
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