Is Your Project Management System Working?

Project Planning

Project planning, especially for product innovation has two parts: (1) understanding the customer and (2) executing the project. We have discussed understanding customer needs elsewhere, especially the focus on what challenges a customer faces to solve their everyday problems. In this article, we will concentrate on managing the project and the importance of matching the project management (PM) system to the project type or complexity.

Traditional PM Process

You will use a traditional PM system for projects with clearly defined outcomes, processes, and applications. While the technology may be sophisticated, it is known up-front. There is little R&D required to transform product ideas into commercial offerings.

copyright Global NP Solutions

Scrum Project Management

On the other hand, creating a brand-new flower bed is a more complex project since the outcomes are determined as the project progresses through different stages. A typical Scrum methodology is shown in the figure below.

Design Thinking

While technically Design Thinking is not a project management methodology, it is an ideal set of tools to execute new product development (NPD) projects. Design Thinking, as shown in the figure below, is especially useful in situations where the problem is not clearly defined. As with Scrum, frequent customer feedback helps the project manager and project team ensure customer needs are integrated into the final product design.

copyright Global NP Solutions

Apply the Right PM System for the Project

All projects are not the same. NPD projects vary in complexity from the sophistication of the technology, the expectations of the market, and the innovativeness of the business model. You, as the project manager, must follow the system that will deliver the best outcomes in the shortest time with the least cost.

Learn More

Learn more about project management systems for innovation in Chapter 3 of The Innovation ANSWER Book available at Amazon (now available on Kindle). Review a discussion of these three PM systems from my presentation to the PMI Houston chapter on 2 June 2020 (YouTube, 75 minutes).

About Me

I am inspired by writing, teaching, and coaching. I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. It brings me joy to help you build innovation leaders. Teresa Jurgens-Kowal is an experienced innovation professional with a passion for lifelong learning with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in Computer and Information Decision Making. My credentials include PE (State of Louisiana), NPDP, PMP®, and CPEM, and I am a DiSC® certified facilitator. Contact me at or area code 281 + phone 787–3979 for more information on coaching for entrepreneurs and innovators.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Teresa Kowal

Teresa Kowal


I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. My passion is innovation and helping others improve their new product development ecosystems.