In design school every designer learns the process of how to actually design. The process of coming up with concepts, creating a product, figuring out how to manufacture the product etc…is well covered by design schools (well in most cases). However an integeral key to creating successful products is actually managing the project you are working on, so that not only do you create an amazing product at the end of the process but that you do so on time, within budget and to the clients specifications/expectations.
Unfourtunatley the process and practice of Project Management is something that most designers don’t learn while in school. It is usually learnt on the job, which means they will probably screw up more than once (unless they are lucky enough to have someone to guide or mentor them) before they get it right.
Fortunately there is a solution to help alleviate this significant education to real world gap – William Ramroth has written an excellent book on the subject that will help any designer get a grounding in the basics of project management before they make any major stuff ups in the real world.
Starting off with a history of project management (a who, what, when, where and why of the practice), Ramroth moves into the fundamental principles that underpin project management in relation to design projects. He then dives into the doing, rather than continually bombarding you with theory. Although thats not to say that there isn’t any thoery in the book, its just artful weaved in with a high dose of practicality to make the book more useful. The topics covered within the book are extensive and will give you a solid grounding in the project management of design projects. From planning through to controlling your design budget or managing your team or client, Ramroth has covered it.
Something that is great, is the way that the books chapters are constructed so as to make it easy to navigate for later reference. Each chapter starts with a mini introduction to whats in the chapter, followed by the bulk of the chapters content being broken down into clear subheadings (making it easier to find things for reference) and then wrapping up with a chapter checklist. All the chapter checklists are then included at the end of the book to form a mega project management process checklist.
Project Management for Design Professionals by William G. Ramroth covers the practice of Project Management, in relation to design projects, in a straight forward way from start to finish. The only criticism I can raise is that the book was originally written for architects (it would be great if anyone knew of such a book focused on Industrial Design) and thus occasionally designers might need to substitue words such as “construction costs” for “manufacturing costs”.
However that aside, Project Management for Design Professionals is a highy useful and educational guide for any creative who wants to learn how to project manage design projects effectively.
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