Design Thinking & Project Management

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.

About this Blog


Recent Posts

Top PM Conferences

What Goes on in the Mind of a Project Manager?

What do Project Managers do all day??

Big Bang Delivery is Dead

Does a Specific Mind-set Drive Passion for our Work?

Big Bang Delivery is Dead

ASSERTION: The era of the big bang transformation and delivery is dead. Rapid, hybrid solution delivery is ascendant and necessary.

- Do you agree or disagree?


Given the rapid pace of technology and business disruption, most organizations are investing heavily just to keep up with the changes. What differentiates the leaders from the laggards in addressing this disruption is how they organize their business to execute against strategy.

We can no longer use the model of monolithic programs that go on for 2-3 years. Organizations find that what they set out to do or solve at the beginning is not what they will finish doing.

In the current business environment, traditional delivery models are now looking too rigid and organizations are locked into investments that often miss the mark. Leading organizations are using rapid delivery cycles that mobilize a project very quickly, aiming to release the product into market or to customers with minimum investment.


- How does role of the Project Manager change with this trend?

- How does the role of the PMO change?

- Does the approach to portfolio management need to adjust?


Posted on: June 12, 2019 06:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

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 (8)

February's Theme: Program Management


In keeping with February's theme on Program ManagementBruce Harpham interviewed me for an article "What They Don't Tell You About Becoming a Program Manager".

It's worth a read for PMs interested in growing into Program Managers. 

Posted on: February 26, 2018 09:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

#PMChat - Twitter Chat for Project Managers



I will be hosting #PMChat ...

Friday February 2nd at 12 pm EST /  5 pm GMT. 

Come join the discussion on how human-centered design can improve customer satisfaction and overall benefits realization for your projects. Looking forward to the dialog.


Twitter: @brucegay

Posted on: January 29, 2018 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (14)

Digital Disruption and Project Management

I am honored to participate on a panel at the 2017 PMI Global Conference on the topic of  "The Digital Future and You: The Project Manager in Times of Disruption"

The chair of the panel, Kirsten Lora, PMP, wants us to explore the role of Project Managers in the current era of "digital disruption". Here are a few of my thoughts going into the conference...

New technologies allow us to innovate at record speed. I would call out three themes that have manifested themselves from this economic disruption:

  1. Accelerating speed to market
  2. Personalization of products and services and
  3. Increased access to data & Too much data.

There was this excellent quote from Marc Andreessen in the WSJ (2011) “…all of the technology required to transform industries through software finally works and can be widely delivered at global scale.” Basically, the resources and infrastructure needed to start a new billion dollar company (i.e. via the Cloud) is widely available to anyone with a credit card and access to the web. Which is practically everyone.

So how do I see the role of Project Managers in this?

For companies to deliver value to their shareholders and customers, they in turn must embrace creative destruction of “digital disruption” rather than wait to become a victim of this unstoppable force. The creation of products and services, the production of something new is the end result of a group of people or disciplines working together to solve a problem. Project Management is the discipline largely responsible for guiding this effort from start to finish in an efficient manner to achieve the best possible outcomes, i.e. via projects. But Project Managers cannot continue to manage projects the way it was done 50 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago.

Some have used the analogy of the Formula One race car, with a PM in the driver seat. I see the role of PMs is one who is to build the right working environment for their teams to work effectively and efficiently together. The PM may not be the F1 driver, but they help the entire team succeed on the race track. This requires establishment of a culture, governance and pace to allow more flexible processes, early engagement with the product or services end-users and laser focus on the customer’s/user’s needs. Yes, there will be more chaos and uncertainty, but I expect good PMs to thrive in environments where they come in and “tame” the chaos. (I know that is what gets me revved up about my work in healthcare IT!)

The impact on the PM profession is that we need to become more empathetic to our customers’ needs, our stakeholders’ needs and our teams’ needs. PMs who follow traditional methods that are closer to command & control will not be successful. PMs will need to allow some level of exploration and allow their teams to take risks and have failures.

I have a slide share that captures some of my thinking:


I look forward to others' thoughts on the role of Project Managers in the current era of Cloud and "digital disruption".


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



Posted on: September 27, 2017 08:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso.

- Rita Rudner