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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Thoughts on PMI 's Strategy Refresh

Professional Development Day Volunteering

Design Thinking Resources for Project Managers

Top Project Management Conferences

PMI Global Conference

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 (6)

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)

Top Project Management Conferences

 

I am a big proponent of proactive career development. Professional training and conferences are a great way to stay current on industry and business trends, gather new ideas, and expand our networks of like-minded individuals from around the world.

Over the past year I have been assembling a list of the top project management conferences that we as project leaders should consider in order to grow our careers and knowledge. This is not the ultimate list, but will provide you with plenty of new ideas. Plan ahead and save the dates!

January

Deliver Conference (January 2019) is based out of Manchester, UK and covers the full range of project execution methodologies. The sessions aim to help those who lead digital projects to learn and grow existing expert knowledge and be successful in their jobs and careers. In the end, it is all about delivering customer value.

February

Resource Planning Summit (Feb 10-13, 2019, Nashville, TN) is advertised as the premier thought leadership event for promoting best practices in resource management, demand management, capacity planning, and portfolio management across industries.

April

Change Management Conference (April 28 - May 1, 2019, Orlando, Florida) is the annual meeting of the Association of Change Management Professions (ACMP). It brings together change management professionals to share the latest business solutions, explore best practices and trends, and offers networking opportunities.

International Scientific Conference on Project Management (April 25 - 26, 2019, Riga, Latvia) is organized by the Research Institute of the Project Management of the Faculty of Business, Management and Economics, University of Latvia, in cooperation with the Professional Association of Project Managers. The aim of the conference is to discuss results of scientific research in project management issues and the sessions are conducted in English.

PM Congress “ADAPT OR DIE” (April 11-12, 2019, Delft, Netherlands) is organized by the Delft University of Technology and the PMI Netherlands Chapter. This year's theme is "Research Meets Practice: Towards Project Management 3.0" with the aim of building bridges between research and practical expertise.

New Trends in Project Management (April 2019, Gdańsk, Poland) is organized by the PMI Gdańsk and focuses on the exchange project management knowledge and best practices in Poland and abroad.

May

APM Project Management Conference (May 2, 2019, London, UK) will explore how the profession is Delivering Value in a Transforming World, and transitioning from a position of facilitation to influence. There are three streams of focus: adapting to develop your career, working smarter in your approach to projects and how to develop your performance.

UMD Project Management Symposium (May 9-10, 2019, College Park, Maryland) pulls together project managers from the Baltimore-Washington metro area, and abroad, for DC’s premier PM symposium. The PM Symposium a great hub for scholars and practitioners to meet and share their latest technological/organizational achievement and cutting-edge vision.

Global Scrum Gathering (May 20-22, 2019, Austin, Texas) is organized by the Scrum Alliance and is organized around multiple themes, such as Champions of Agile, Community of Agile, Organizational Transformation, Scrum in Hard Places, Scrum Toolkit, Scrum in my Heart, and Scrum in Unusual Places.

Agile & Beyond (May 2019, Ypsilanti, Michigan) is a grassroots, volunteer-run conference that helps people learn about agile principles and practices, as well as covers topics that help make people and companies awesome. I attended and presented at AAB18 and found the conference and its sessions to be well-run and informative.

PMI EMEA Congress (May 13-15, 2019, Dublin, Ireland) is organized by the Project Management Institute and gathers project, program and portfolio managers from around the globe. They are there to discuss best practices, identify new trends and reinforce core industry skills. This year's theme is "Be a Champion of Change".

HAPPYPROJECTS19 (May 23, 2019, Vienna, Austria) brings together project management practitioners and academic researchers to share information about new theoretical developments and best practices, as well as facilitate networking with participants of other companies and speakers. This year's team is "Reset".

June

Project Summit Business Analyst World is a series of conferences for project managers and business analysts. Participants can earn up to 26 PDUs/CDUs and the sessions are accredited by both PMI and IIBA. PSBAW Conferences are held in Orlando (April), Toronto (June), Washington, DC (June), Vancouver (September) and Boston (October). The Toronto event has their largest attendance.

Project Management in Practice (June 14-18, 2019, Boston, MA) is organized by Boston University and covers a wide range of topics of interest to both academic and business professionals. The two-day conference is also available online, and PDUs are available for attending the sessions virtually.

PMO Conference (June 2019, London, UK) focuses on portfolio, program and project offices. Attendees will learn about the latest PMO research, discover new PMO ideas and techniques, and network and share with other like minded practitioners.

August

Agile2019 (August 5-9, 2019, Washington, DC) is dedicated to furthering Agile principles and providing a venue for people and ideas to flourish. The annual event is organized by Agile Alliance is touted as "where the Agile tribes meet".

Women in Agile (August 2019, Washington, DC) is half-day workshop that strives to expand as a community and continue supporting, cooperating, and compassionately including all underrepresented groups in the Agile community. This event has coincided with the Agile2018.

September

The Digital PM Summit (September 2018, TBD) is organized by Bureau of Digital and brings together professionals who manage digital projects. The conference welcomes all methodologies and approaches, from Agile to waterfall and hybrid, offering new perspectives in a social networking-friendly environment.

October

PMI Global Conference (October 2019, TBD) is organized by the Project Management Institute and is the preeminent professional conference for project managers world-wide. The event focuses on the evolving role of project management, this conference is open to project, program and portfolio professionals and will discuss new ideas and approaches, while giving participants the opportunity to make new relationships and strengthen existing ones.

Australian Institute of Project Management National Conference (October 2019, TBD) is the premier event for the project management profession in Australia. The annual conference is the platform for project leaders, both established and up-and-coming, to gain knowledge and share experiences on a range of areas that impact the management of projects today and in the future.

November

PMO Symposium (November 2019, TBD) is organized by the Project Management Institute and provides participants access to executive-level networking, workshops and discussions. Participants will come away with insights that can be used to build resilient PMOs.

 

Again, this is not an exhaustive list. Whatever conference you decide to attend next year, and whatever the lessons learned, you will know that you can face the future of project management with confidence when you are equipped with the right tools for the job. Keep learning and growing!

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

 

Posted on: August 10, 2018 08:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

PMI Global Conference

Do you have experience and knowledge to share with project and program managers from all over the world? The PMI Global Conference 2018 call for presentations is now open! The deadline for submitting proposals is 28 March. 

Additional details and instructions can be found on the PMI Website. 

Key areas of focus this year include, but are not limited to:

  • Analyzing and Process Improvement
  • Communication and Teamwork 
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving 
  • Enhancing PM skills
  • Hot Topics / New Trends
  • Influencing and Business Strategy
  • Practical Case Studies

I presented at the PMI Global Conference 2017 in Chicago and found the experience to be both professionally and personally rewarding.

 

Look forward to seeing old colleagues and making new ones in Los Angeles this October!

Posted on: March 02, 2018 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)
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