So, you want to start a new project. You think it’s a great project with plenty of potential. It’s unique and interesting, authoritative and relevant, and you’ve got enough money to fund it. What could go wrong?
But then, after starting your project, everything suddenly falls flat in a heap of failure. You start to question what happened, and look for things to blame. Perhaps your business strategy was wrong, or perhaps someone made a mistake along the way. It’s so hard to understand how something with so much potential failed so quickly, and it’s even harder to figure out a way to fix it and get a project back on its feet.
Why do most projects fail?
Oddly enough, projects fail all the time, and there isn’t just one aspect to blame. In fact, there seem to be characteristic underlying flaws to projects that cause their failure. These include restricted thinking, narrow and uncompromising views about the project development and design, bad communication and segregation within the project team. When everyone gets together to get the new project kick-started things can seem to run smoothly, but without a healthy approach the project can fall apart all too easily.
How can a project become successful?
All you need to do is see the project as a problem to solve. For a project to become successful you simply need to have the right mindset. A project team needs to be capable of thinking together about how to solve the problem, rather than what the solution is in the end. And this is where design thinking comes in.
What is design thinking, anyway?
Design thinking is a phrase that’s appearing evermore frequently among business enterprises. There are a plethora of different definitions, but all amount to the same general principle: design thinking is all about how a team of workers thinks, rather than what the team knows. Instead of focusing on what the project is, design thinking helps an enterprise transform into a machine of creativity and problem solving, with all team members feeling included and aligned towards specific aims and goals.
How can design thinking help a project become more successful?
With a little bit of creative thinking and realistic expectations, design thinking can be used to help project team work together and produce successful outcomes.
Motivate your team
It’s always easy to look for someone to blame whenever something fails. You always hope it’s an easy solution that can be solved by identifying the single weak link in the process. But pinning down the sole cause of failure isn’t often that easy. Instead, create a team and let them know that failing isn’t a problem. It’s all about positive motivation, and striving to reach that goal of success together. If the team can be trained to think as a team rather than a group of individuals all waiting to point the finger of blame at each other, the success rate will improve.
Get the right people into the right team
For any project to work, you need to have the right set of specialists to push things forwards. But for any project to become successful, you’re going to need individuals with different areas of speciality.
Rather than putting together a team with different ideas and perspectives, create a team with a single goal but with a wide range of disciplines. But try not to make these multi-disciplinary teams too large – ever heard of the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth”? Keeping things close-knit with excellent communication and understanding will result in a much more efficient and successful team.
Do not fear failure
No project will ever succeed by staying within the safety of comfort zones. To push out of these zones a project team will need to try new things, but, most importantly, must be willing to accept that mistakes happen. The project team must also be capable of accepting and learning from these mistakes so that rather than repeating the same mistakes in an endless loop. If the team can work together to correct the mistake, they’ll become not only wiser, but more successful.
The perception that a successful project is based solely around a promising project design is false. Project success requires a multi-disciplined team approach, with members willing to push the boundaries of their tasks, make mistakes, and learn from them together as a team. The method of design thinking helps projects at all stages of development, and improves the communication, efficiency, speciality and problem-solving ability of the project team. Design thinking helps individuals recognise and accept mistakes, but then work together as a team to make corrections and become stronger.