Project Management

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.

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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)

Tips & Lessons Learned for Novice PMs

Recently I was asked to present 30-45 minutes on the topic of "project management tips" to an IT operational department within my organization. Most of the analysts in this department already practice some level of project management, but are not well-versed in the traditional PMP methods. 

After reaching out to the community on for guidance, I received many excellent responses from colleagues. See the full thread at:

After reviewing the guidance and feedback, I thought about starting the presentation with basic PM concepts: What is a project, Project work versus Operational work, What is a program, Introduction to PM process groups, etc. But given the time constraints, I decided to dive in and start with my "tips and lessons learned", and to allow more time for Q&A from the group.

The final presentation can be found on SlideShare "PM Tips & Lessons Learned".

Here is a summary of my presentation to the operational department:

  • Spend time up front to identify your stakeholders.
  • Understand who the project champion (or sponsor) is. Typically he/she is not the project requester, but someone whose business will benefit from or be impacted by the project.
  • Use a Scope Document to ensure everyone has a clear definition of the project. Review the Scope Document with your stakeholders.
  • Have your project champion sign off the Scope Document at the start of the project results. 
  • Create a Communication Plan to manage stakeholder interactions.
  • Take time to do project planning - do not rush into execution.
  • Stay focused on dependencies and their impacts on milestones. Set milestones for your team to rally around.
  • Empathy and listening is key. Listen to you team and your stakeholders while managing the project.
  • Teams do not communicate well. It is the job of the project manager to ensure communication is working and everyone is kept informed.
  • Escalation is a powerful tool. Escalate issues/risks, in a timely manner and escalate the right things.
  • Remain vigilant of scope creep. Be prepared to conduct Scope Change Management -  assess and communicate impacts of the change to the project champion or sponsor. If the new scope or request is quite different or larger than the original project scope, recommend a new project be requested.
  • Make sure everything on your project plan has an owner. Do not end meetings without action items and clearly defined owners.


I was fortunate to have the opportunity to share my project management skills with the operational department. Feel free to let me know if there are other tips that I should be sharing the next time I repeat this presentation.


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

Posted on: January 30, 2017 08:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

"Only two things are infinite, the Universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

- Albert Einstein