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Organizing the Design Workshop

Last week SPAKL had a chance to show how instrumental process management tools can be, even in small domains. It’s not about forcing a framework on inexperienced program managers; but, rather about adapting a process that fits into their contextual needs, which makes them more productive and is flexible enough to allow for some amount of scope creep–which inevitably arises for uncompromising innovators.

The management wanted to work without the burdens of project management software. So, I worked with the designers and project managers at Alite/lwrSF Design to create a visual project management worksheet to inform resource allocation decisions. The process flow diagram was documented in a spreadsheet that allows for the recalculation of work timelines. The sheet allows the project manager to more easily prioritize requirements if the team finds itself running against a deadline.

In the process, I realized a new avenue to promote SPAKL services. Creative minds don’t like to think about a fixed process because it strains their creativity if they organize their work too much. ¬†Yet, knowing when to be creative and when to move forward with a bound design strategy is critical to meet client needs, deliver great products on target and generate interest towards more business.

Having a visual template to estimate work remaining, and calculate the level of resources necessary to meet the client’s timeline should significantly free up the project managers to facilitate, and keep designers more aware in balancing time constraints.

Those of you looking for a place to start laying out your design project work estimates, can refer to this document as a reference: ProjectPlanWorksheet. Please note that this can be handled in many different ways. This process was customized for this design workshop. I have an alternate version (available upon request) that will allow you to calculate project estimates according to the work DAYs allocated for each task.

The complexity of human interactions in your space needs to be assessed first in the domain problem space, as it will dictate how much communication, collaboration and usability is built into the solution you ultimately select.