Scrappy Design Thinking – Simple Rules, Practical Tools

In another article I rambled on about how design thinking’s powerful combination of tools and techniques produces outcomes beyond the predictable. Here I’ll share an approach that integrates key elements of design thinking with a Scrappy Project Management© style. Using this approach will generate new possibilities that you’d never discover using traditional problem-centric approaches. 

Scrappy Design Thinking Overview. Both design thinking and Scrappy Project Management© share an obsession with “the customer”. And both start by “thinking from the future” rather than getting stuck in the current situation, hampered by self-limiting beliefs about what’s possible. Rather than using the classic design thinking model of Empathize – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Test, let’s use a cycle that’s a bit easier to remember: Why? – Who? – What? – How?

  • Rather than instinctively jumping to HOW to solve a “problem”, start with WHY – Why is this project important? Why work on this? 
  • Next explore WHO – who cares, who’s impacted, who’s involved, and who’s judging the success of your project? 
  • Then move on to WHAT – what outcomes would go beyond “solving a problem” to surprise and delight your stakeholders? 
  • Then, and only then, design and prototype HOW to achieve these outcomes and delight these stakeholders. 
  • Go through the entire cycle again, expanding, revising, and refining your prototypes repeatedly, until you collapse in an exhausted heap, worn out, but with a self-satisfied smile on your barrier-shattering face. Hmmm . . . perhaps I overpromise. Let’s see what happens.

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Phone +1 650 867 0847

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This book unabashedly puts forward a new, unambiguous, non-shrinking, and ultimately empowering view of what we all as project managers should commit to be and do every day in our project roles.

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