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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Insights from the 2019 CEO Outlook

9 Tips for Managing Creative Teams

Top PM Conferences

What Goes on in the Mind of a Project Manager?

What do Project Managers do all day??

9 Tips for Managing Creative Teams

Project Managers need to balance process rigor and process with allowing teams the time and space to do their best work. Here are nine (9) tips and lessons learned for managing creative teams.

1) Shield your team from as much administrative work as possible. Keep your team focused on the most valuable tasks and where they can be most productive.

2) Train your team in creative problem-solving techniques.

3) Allocate time for new ideas to emerge. Try not to hold your team to unreasonable and arbitrary schedules and deadlines. 

4) Let your team do their job without the constant check-ins and oversight. Avoid micro-management!

5) Stress the importance of open communication. 

6) Encourage your team to utilize you as an escalation point.

7) Allow exploration to happen and encourage the team to share ‘learnings’ across all disciplines. Promote interdisciplinary collaboration.

8) Keep challenging the way your team approaches their work. Encourage team members to keep looking anew at the way they approach their work.

9) And most importantly — tolerate risk-taking. It is inevitable with design thinking and agile models now being used on projects. Foster a team environment where failure is a learning opportunity, not something that would limit one’s career.

 

In summary, make space for creativity, investigation, and failure on your team.

Posted on: July 27, 2019 07:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

What Goes on in the Mind of a Project Manager?

Have you ever stopped to think about the common characteristics you have with other Project Managers? In order to explain these to an audience of non-project managers, I generated a user persona to explain the goals, motivations, mindsets, and pain points of Project Managers.

The persona I generated is based off of interviews Aurora Melchor, a UX Designer, conducted with her team as well as additional data points that I added from my circle of colleagues.

GOALS: Keep everyone happy; Deliver value and project success; Predictability

MOTIVATIONS: Wants interesting, fun, and challenging work; Recognition and promotion

MINDSET: Likes problem-solving; Feels the urgency to “get stuff done”; Driven by accomplishment; Often does well “riding the wave” of change

PAIN POINTS: “My day is a fractured experience!”; Inadequate planning and poor estimates; Manual repetitive work across multiple applications; Having to do more with less; Risk, complexity, and uncertainty has increased (VUCA)

 

Let me know your feedback on this representation of a Project Manager.

 - What insights do you draw from the persona?

 - What can non-Project Managers learn from this persona?

 - Is there additional information that you recommend to include in the persona?

Connect with me here on Linkedin, at www.brucegay.com, or follow me on Twitter @brucegay

< Right click and open image in new tab to read the text more clearly. >

Posted on: July 11, 2019 09:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

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

I am reflecting on my experiences attending multiple PM conferences over the last couple of months. My aim is to identify and share emergent themes that are bubbling up across the project management profession.

Moritz Sprenger's "Voices in Project Management" retrospective on the PMI EMEA Congress had a topic that stood out to me. Mortiz made the keen observation as to why we are passionate about our profession, it is the PM mind-set.

An excerpt from Moritz’ blog post: “I have realized for why I am passionate about the profession of project management: It’s all about mind-set. The people I met [at PMI EMEA Congress] in Dublin had these things in common: Personal drive, the willingness to communicate, being results-driven, working passionately towards personal goals, and foremost: curiosity. These are exactly the traits that distinguishes a good project managers."

Project Manager mind-set. Is that what attracts us to the profession?

I would love to hear if others agree whether it is the mind-set that drives passion for Project Management?

Posted on: June 11, 2019 06:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

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 (5)

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)
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