One of the projects that I did while studying in Norway at HiOA was Design Office - Project Management. Three other students and I lead with seven 1st and 2nd year design students through the design process. This was a great experience to learn, not only about managing people and working with a client but also, the design process.
Our Client was HiOAs’ Department of Property, and Department for Digitization and Infrastructure. The contract for their annexe campus in Kjeller will be ending soon and they will be building a new campus that is within a 5-7 min walk of Lillestrøm train station. The current campus is 15 minutes away by bus. They asked us to design learning environments for the Product Designs Students in the new campus.
We did a lot of work to prepare ourselves before meeting our other group members including Meeting with clients, working with our teacher, and making tools.
Meeting with client
When we first met with our clients we had different ideas of what they needed and what we would be doing for them. Our clients were originally thinking of more traditional learning environments and the brief asked for two types of room: Lecture room for 60 people and Auditorium for 200 people.
The Product Design program at HiOA is not a traditional program and would not thrive in a traditional learning environment. We needed to write a new brief that was more in line with the students' needs.
Meeting with Jonas Aakre
We also spent time in class with Jonas Aakre to learn about Project Management and to get advice about any problems that we were having. The first two-week were filled with classes and planning and creating tool and content for rest of the project.
Creating Tools and Content
Having a resource of tools and content was important for us because we didn’t have much experience leading in the context of design but having prepared material us to always have something to pull out of our sleeves when something didn’t go as planned.
Team Member Info Cards
To get to know each other we created Team Member Info Cards for everyone to fill out. The cards included SWOT analysis, Relevant Skills and questions. These Info Cards helped everyone learn about how they would be working with and allowed us to make more informed decisions about how we divide us into smaller groups.
We had a daily agenda tasks, descriptions and time frames that would span the whole day. Initially, we would make the next day’s agenda at the end of each day, but then we started to make the agenda each morning as a group. Having a daily agenda was important for us to keep on track, both on a daily basis and over the length of the project.
When I/we found out we would need to track the other student’s attendance and make sure it was above 80% I/we created this timetable to track everyone’s’ time in the Design office. By imputing everyone’s In and Out times and number of hours they were expected to be there (usually 6 hours) Google Sheets would calculate the attendance personage. To make things easier the table also importers events from a calendar and colour codes the percentages. Having the time table helped establish the importance of daily tracking and avoid larger problems.
Sometimes we were called away from our group and were not able to spend enough time explaining a task or answer questions while we were away. We make task sheets that they could refer to if they needed. These task sheets were great for reference but they also forced us to think about the task as a whole before giving it.
Evaluations were an important part of our learning during this project. We needed to always know how we were doing as leaders in order for us to learn and grow as leaders. Our primary means of evaluation was our daily motivation evaluation where we ask each member at the end of the day to rate their motivation and why.