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February 4, 2016

DPM:UK 2016

Digital Project Management Conference, Manchester

Last Thursday, a couple of the Space48ers attended #DPMUK16; THE event for anybody involved in managing digital projects. The event was the third of its kind and consisted of a two-part workshop and conference the following day.

As advocates of such a great event, we were the official workshop sponsors.

The workshop was held by Peta Kennett-Wilson and Colin Preston and covered the ‘rules of engagement and human-centered design’. Within the morning session, Peta (Senior Project Manager at Zone) took us through an interactive presentation demonstrating the importance of how we, as Project Managers, interoperate briefs. We focused on thinking outside of the scope, budget, deadline, and used the brief to really analyse what the client wanted, flagging possible pain points. We then drew up a conclusion that ensured the project was delivered on time and on budget, whilst also avoiding any previous pitfalls the client had experienced in the past.

The afternoon covered, ‘An introduction to human-centered design’ and was run by Colin Preston (Creative Lead at Code). The aim of this session was to come up with designs for a user completely led by their requirements and not what we think they need. We did this by interviewing the user about a subject, in this case their daily commute to work, and what their journey pain point was. We listed these issues and collaboratively designed a storyboard on the solution we would propose.

Next up, the conference …

After eagerly keeping a close eye on the conference line up, I was delighted when such great speakers were announced. The day consisted of 6 in-depth talks and a series of lightning talks, spanning a wide range of topics from agile working, prioritisation, and communication, to technical debts and the cost/price conundrum – something for everyone, at every level.

My favourite talk of the day was ‘Transform from project manager to project leader’ by Susanne Madsen. Susanne stressed the importance of leadership skills and relationships within a team and shown great insight on prioritising people, building trust, and offering praise. A highlight of the talk was Susanne’s ‘eat the frog’ explanation, meaning to complete the ‘frog’ task you have been procrastinating and delaying – first thing in the morning. As mornings are proven to be a time where most people are more productive, putting 60-90 minutes aside for clear focus allows time for you to bite the bullet, or eat that frog, so to speak! I felt this was something that not just Project Managers could relate to, but in fact everyone.

Both days were very much about knowledge sharing and collaborative learning, with all the speakers encouraging the audience to shout out about their own ideas and thoughts. As anticipated, I came back to the office brimming with enthusiasm and already looking forward to DPM:17