The “PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS” reading by Williams G Ramroth was incredibly insightful and a good lesson to all designers on how to plan for a project.
I believe the things the book conveyed have been taught to many of us since young, although it was done part by part rather than as a whole. Some skills and practices mentioned were habits educators have been constantly trying to instill in students, yet, perhaps too young to understand the importance of it, many of these habits have been long forgotten.
Likewise, only as I read the chapters that I begin to recall the words of teachers from before, and how I had failed to recognise their concerns raised. It is only in these recent years where projects have become increasingly complex that I start to practice these rules and habits unwittingly.
In Chapter 2 of the book, it is said that “Project management is an outcome-oriented process”. Indeed, more often than not, the blood and tears put into a project goes unseen if the end product is not achieved in the first place. Thus, we must aim to manage well so that the goals are achieved, and therefore showing that the process and steps taken were well-planned. Otherwise, it would mean the process had not been sufficiently managed and would hence be considered a failed project.
Among the six project management goals, the first one is to reach the end of the project, with the third being to reach the end on time, and the 5th is to reach it error-free. These three goals stood out to me, and it is something I strive to achieve in every project. As a designer who aims to do the best I can, it is important to make sure I plan for my objective to be achievable within the time frame and with little to no flaws. Sometimes, I find myself setting an objective that may be challenging to accomplish within the time frame. In these situations, I must plan well, and re-assess my objectives, and see if any tweaking of the project is required to finish the task. This comes to goal 6, which is to reach the end while meeting everyone’s expectations. Designers may sometimes end up giving themselves high expectations and thus feel overworked. I, too, am guilty of this. It is important for us to find the balance between meeting the professor’s expectations, meeting our own, and having a healthy lifestyle.
It was mentioned that the most important fundamental project management activity is learning. True enough, it is vital that project managers, and of course all project members, continue to learn and experience new things throughout the project. It is through gaining new skills that the project may potentially grow and reach greater heights. It also opens doors for higher quality and higher complexity work in the future.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
“In design, the big picture is developed first-conceptually, without much detail. Once the big picture is conceptually completed, more detail is added as the design develops.”
In my opinion, it is important to have a rough idea of the end product before going into a project. Otherwise, one would be struggling to make proper developments, and much time might be wasted on experimenting with things that do not aid the making of the final in any way.
What is to be done?
When is it to be done?
Who is to do it?
How much will it cost to do it?
The book was also really insightful when it comes to group work. Having a QC/QA manager would be essential for every group project. It would be useful for the team to come to a consensus on the style and quality of the project they are aiming for at the start of the project. From there, the QA/QC can continue to ensure everyone is on track.
Finally, the Outline of a Typical Project Work Plan Document was a good template for documentation and planning. Adding to the document as the project progresses to record the changes and take note of initial objectives would definitely help in the long run, allowing designers to see how plans have changed, and also reflect how well they have followed their proposed and original plan.