For the past year and a half, Ian MacDuff has been testing a new approach to managing customer work with great success.
As Vice President of Client Engagement at Product Creation Studio (PCS), a Seattle-based design and engineering firm, MacDuff is a seasoned product engineer and team leader. He and his ace team at PCS are responsible for helping aspiring innovators in the technology and healthcare industries develop some of the world’s most recognizable and interesting products. These range from name-brand fitness trackers to amazing machines that help slow the spread of degenerative vision problems. PCS is in the middle of bringing these inventions to life; consequently, the company places a great deal of emphasis on managing each project efficiently and effectively.
Building and Solving for the Unknown
When a client comes to PCS with a new idea for a product or machine, Ian and team are responsible for nurturing the idea and turning it into a working prototype for testing. If successful, they go into full-scale manufacturing. No two product ideas are ever the same. And with every new concept comes a series of engineering, design, user experience and production challenges that his team has never before faced. This uncertainty, which takes many forms—form circuit board, software and user design related roadblocks, to budget related issues—can crush months of work in the blink of an eye. This is especially true if the product design team struggles to quantify and communicate challenges with customers in the moments when they crop up.
A GPS Approach to Project Management
Ian knew it was important to make his customers fully aware of every bump, snag and change throughout the product design lifecycle. As a result, he hit on a simple yet effective way of managing risky project work that takes into account changes, and enables real-time communication with customers. He calls it a GPS approach to project management. This might just be the key to a new way to work in which risk, change and uncertainty are no longer viewed as destructive forces, but things to be embraced as part of the journey.
We sat down with Ian to learn more about how his unique GPS style of project management. In the following video, he tells us how his GPS project management integrates with LiquidPlanner’s:
Do you have the tool it takes to manage project uncertainty? Find out! Take our Project Management Health Check, a 9-question multiple-choice assessment of your project management process.