By designing the experience of the project for your employees we can create an environment conducive to a great product development.
When you hear a programmer say they ‘put themselves into their code’, or an artist say ‘a piece of their soul is in the final art’, you can only expect that if they love the experience of creating it will be reflected in the final product. And conversely if they are not enjoying the experience you will see it. How many great apps were the result of the founders loving everything about what they were creating? And how many then fell apart in version 2 when they spent all their time raising money, dealing with investors and looming over programmers who were just there for the supposed culture and a good pay cheque.
Designing your customer experience has to begin with designing your employees experience… If your employees don’t love working for your company then why should your customers or their users like it at all?
The design thinking process, when used to manage, allows for greater control over the organically changing environment of a project. Tim Brown of IDEO has stated, “Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
Because of this core competency a designer as a project manager, is uniquely experienced. By treating the projects management as a design exercise, it is inevitable your employees are represented in the project dynamics.
We are also able to gain metrics which can be used to show the value of great project experience directly on business productivity. In the same way we measure value on a customer facing experience, we can measure the value of employee experience on a project.
This experience is tracked and adjusted throughout the project in order to best provide the employees with a work environment that they love.
When you can design the project experience, you create a project that gets done on time and create one whose result reflects the positive demeanour of those involved.
So where do we go from here? Once you decide to explore project management in this way, you start the design thinking process. Someone with design thinking experience can assemble the required information, bring together the team, and manage the process of designing the experience. But, the same person also manages the actual project through to delivery, adjusting the work experience, and the work, as the project evolves towards its conclusion.
Companies talk about culture and great atmosphere, but if you are not spending half as much time as you spend adjusting your customer experience, adjusting your employee experience, you are missing the next big thing in what makes a great company. And what makes a great company create great products.