The Design Era of Project Management
Project Management best practices and methods continue to evolve to address the biggest challenges Government agencies face in today’s market. The increased use of Agile and the move from traditional waterfall methodologies is fairly common in Information Technologies. Projects use Agile methods such as Scrum or Kanban, and organizations invest a lot of time and effort to make this cultural shift on projects.
However, projects that are really good at Agile, and even waterfall, still experience challenges in areas of scope, requirements, and risk management. Project Managers continue to seek best practices and techniques to address these challenges. For our projects, we use a Design Thinking mindset and specific techniques to Project Management.
Design Thinking focuses on getting to know your end users or customers and empathizing with them to truly understand their motivations, feelings, and pain points. Project Managers need to use this approach in the Planning phase of the project. By spending more time with the end users, observing their day-to-day work before major transformation, and asking questions that allow them to express their feelings, scope and requirements are easier to understand and document. This level of clarity sets the project up for success.
Project Managers should allocate more time in their project plans to allow for early, low-tech prototyping and to promote iterative solution development, key features of Design Thinking. This allows teams to take these prototypes to the end users, collect feedback, and iterate as necessary to produce a solution that is more conducive to the scope and requirements. This also minimizes the risk for the user acceptance test and increases stakeholder confidence.
Project Managers can face challenges when it comes to risk management and developing a culture on the project that embraces it. Developers may be too busy to meet, as they are heads down in their sprint, or stakeholders may not want to spend extra time documenting risks. By using Design Thinking on their project to ask questions and understand and empathize with stakeholder’ needs, Project Managers “can develop a culture where managing risk is a natural by-product of learning.”
As we enter the ‘design era’ of Project Management, traditional practices and a user-centric mindset can lower risk and dramatically improve the mission results associated with major programs.
About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. As a rapidly growing company, Arc Aspicio has a bold strategy for 2016-2018 that drives growth through new capabilities in strategy, design, human capital, data analytics, information sharing, cybersecurity, and strategic communications. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude – for its clients and its great team. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.