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GPS (large company)

G

Interviewee

177 Project Leader; Designer

Team Disadvantages

4, 7+

Project Outcome

Successful

Industry

Mobile/internet/Communication

Location

London

Team Risk Tolerance

Low

Team Dynamics

TeamDynamics_FunandProductive

Company

GPS (large company)


It's just a very good, big, big project to get your teeth into. And I learned a lot as well, so learned good. But not too much learning, cause that's not smart. [8021]
On the client's side, it's usually someone who's my mirror in a way, like their project manager. And then, I don't know, it depends on the organization. These plans look like it's just a mess, and the latest client, the current client, is just a mess. We've got about twenty CEOs and CTOs that all have something to say and all have some decision to make. It's just a fuckin' nightmare. It makes the project a nightmare because everything takes five times as long. [8036],[8053],[8055]
So, I don't know, there's about ten people who have a say in what happens, which is a pain. But listen, there, I know there's like, nobody will like decision-maker [inaudible 00:03:46], so some guy at the top will say something all filled with rude, so like, someone who's a spokesperson to communicate that decision. It's rare that I'll be making some sort of communication with the main guy at my tack. It wouldn't happen. But his decisions come through the team. [8024],[8037],[8054]
Yeah. We're usually dealing with... it depends on the company. I mean, Navman and SKT, well Navman's a good example because Navman only do... the only people we were working with was the in-car device department, if you want to call it "department". But, so they're the only people we're dealing with. We're not talking to the CEO of Navman, the actual whole company, because they're dealing with [inaudible 00:04:51] to do all sorts of different types of nav-piece devices. [8028]
The biggest reason why they have gone well is because we've managed to get the best team together; so that has a big influence on how the project goes, just getting the right people. And that is not easy. [7996],[8016],[8008]
No, they're just sort of risk-averse. And it pisses me off, cause they're [inaudible 00:05:53] right? They gave us half a million pounds, right? And they go, right, we want the best this, the most innovative this, and no, we want... [8056],[8045]
But then again, the other side of it obviously is the client, and how much the client can emphasis with you and how much you can emphasize with the client; you know, understanding their kind of business goals and that kind of stuff is a big part of it. [7995]
You know, it's a big task to get the right people on the project. Once you've got the right team, then that's half the battle. [8009]
And they've obviously got massive aspirations, but then [inaudible 00:06:06] showing something, right. The feasibility of films come on, and they're just like, bang all the ideas. [inaudible 00:06:10]. And they go oh, we can't do that. So, it's well, don't do that, no, it doesn't make any money. Oh, can't do that, people won't like it. This is like project-miser, this is what the project's like. [8046]
The feasibility of films come on, and they're just like, bang all the ideas. [inaudible 00:06:10]. And they go oh, we can't do that. So, it's well, don't do that, no, it doesn't make any money. Oh, can't do that, people won't like it. [8058],[8057]
Just you know, I mean, I'm a project manager and just one of the big things that I think, I mean that I think I'm always thinking about is good communication and communicating with the client and making sure you understand their point of view. You try your hardest to, understand their goals; then that's what makes a project go well really. Because then I can relay that back to the team and make sure that work in the direction that we are going in is not only creative, and new, and all them things that design should be like, and cool, and whatever. But it is also like aligning yourself very much with the business sort of goal and making the brief at the end of the day. [7992],[8007],[7998],[8003]
Contemporary art just asks more questions in a way, whereas the work we do shuts down questions and answers questions; it does, you can ask more questions, but the goal of our work is to ask more questions and to have a final thing, [8017]
I mean the content, the content has got a lot to do with it, whether you think the projects gone well or not and getting all of those elements together, the best team who understand the content before they even start the project or have some sort of background in the content. You know its kind of scary when you, a lot of the time we do projects here where teams here have not done much work in that content area and you feel fairly out of depth and its quite hard to understand whether you're doing well or not, because you are always in this kind of fog of like are we doing well or not, you know, because we have never done it before. [8001],[8010]
And if you've never done something before, it's a very stressful situation to be in, like, and I try to avoid that as much as possible. But you know, most of my projects are you know, pretty standard industry design, software design that kind of stuff, design strategy stuff, where I am pretty experienced in that side of things. So that is one of the big factors that makes a project go well, whether you're experienced or not. I mean, the clients the big thing really, if the client is an arse, you can have a nightmare. There are only two ways about it. [8002],[8011]
selling these things to women, make it more unisex, and how we can take the device out - what happens when you take the device out of the car and into your lives? So that, you know, that's nice. [8059]
Because we all have little specialties, little kind of you know, [inaudible 00:11:13] whose been on my team is like a brilliant instructions guy, he's great visual interaction design. Whereas there are other interaction designers who are better at you know, doing things, like I don't know, different types of interaction design. So you've got to kind of say, 'what kind of project is this? What kinds of demands is going to make [inaudible 00:11:33]'. You know are we designing -- I've just designed a remote control for televisions so you make sure you get an industrial designer who knows about devices, not an industry designer whose might have been doing food and beverage packaging for the last 3 year or somethings, you know what I mean. [7990],[7997],[8012]
Yeah, they always do. It always changes. I don't even know how to answer. The brief changes so many times, it's kind of unbelievable. Especially with Asian clients, they're just, you show them something, and dunno, it changes. [8035]
Or mobile, you know someone who has done mobile phones extensively. So that team, getting that team things started out; but then, because we are on office, there are a whole bunch of projects going around at the same time; its about trying, that's hard because people get resourced onto the projects at the time of signing. So if you are trying to get a project team together and you haven't gotten a signature for a contract, then your best interaction designer goes to that team over there; then you, you know. I'm in the raw. Everyone at Ideal is great, I'm not saying that we have got shit designers, cause we haven't; but there are people who are suited to do things better, so you might end up with a team that is not perfect for the content area, so that's what happens. [8004]
Resources, just a fucking nightmare, its just a nightmare scenario resourcing. I don't know, we have gotten so many systems in this office over the last ten years, over resourcing and again it's about, there is no one way to do this; it's about blood and tears. [8005]
You're always having this argument, saying look, this high that I'm dealing with now, the miracle [crosstalk 00:08:19] is like, this isn't part of the statement of work, it's old-school, we're not doing it. [8047]
Its like people sitting in the room, sketching people out and fighting over resourcing. I've been in meetings where you know, people are getting upset about like who is on what project. And its really tricky because I don't know what the answer is to it really. Resourcing is such a messy business. [8006]
So they're asking for all this stuff, and I'm the one that's changed the brief, because it is, they're asking for stuff. They go, oh, are you doing this for us? We were expecting to see this, and yeah, you have to just say, oh, man, look at this statement of work, that's why it's here, there's the work [inaudible 00:08:40]. They still are going to write that at the beginning, with people that don't know what they're fuckin' doing, because you're just getting completely screwed by the client if you don't have a very concrete, very well-communicated statement of work at the beginning of the project. [8060],[8048]
Time's never the problem, but yeah, I guess so. I mean, you do what you can with the time at the end of the day. [8022]
So one good thing is to just a really nice backup of freelancers, trusted, tried and tested freelancers that we know are going to deliver; and we've used quite a few of them on my projects, cause you know, you can't do it without -- I mean the client often says like, can we translate this document to whatever, like great and you've got to do it overnight. There is nobody in the office that is going to do that for you, and you've just got to make sure that you have people so the networks are really important. [7991],[7993],[8013]
It's always tight, it's always very tight, yeah, it's all very tight. Some of these old designers, right, is that they're never satisfied. So we're all completely anal, and you polish diamonds forever, and it's never shiny enough. [8061]
It's always tight, it's always very tight, yeah, it's all very tight. Some of these old designers, right, is that they're never satisfied. So we're all completely anal, and you polish diamonds forever, and it's never shiny enough. Do you know what I mean? And you're always unsatisfied with it. So, we're in this constant state of fuckin' miserableness because nothing's ever good enough for us, and you always wanna do better, and you always try to do it better, so you always feel like you don't have enough time and enough money to do the job. So, but I think that's one of my roles, I think, as the project manager, to just go look guys, you've fuckin' done enough. Send it, cause it's down in the little things, there's nothing left. [8029],[8040]
And it was a really nice project in the sense that it was what we call a fair-zero; so it was like, go out in the world and find out what peoples navigational needs are. [8015]
Most people are quite unhappy with the shit that they buy. [8062]
And then again, the team was great, we had a really great team. [8018]
And then again, the team was great, we had a really great team. We went all over the world, it was fucking great, I remember driving down like, we did, it is a navigation device, we hired shit loads of cars and we stuck navigation devices in our wind screens and we drove across America and stuff, and it was just unbelievable. We drove from, right down the west coast of America in a ford mustang; and that's pretty cool. [8014]
you shouldn't be doing it, because the world's full of shit already, and you don't need to put any more shit into it. [8063]
And then we met all these great people, these users, which was really inspiring. And then the great, the other great, some of the great outcomes of that was that the company then really kind of embedded our process and our user sort of centered language in a way into their marketer and it not only, it [8019]
And then we met all these great people, these users, which was really inspiring. And then the great, the other great, some of the great outcomes of that was that the company then really kind of embedded our process and our user sort of centered language in a way into their marketer and it not only, it didn't just make the device; you know it started talking about the, it started marketing. I mean this is a great example of like how our user insights will draw their marketing, because their user insights; because now their marketing says 'We went out to see users and users said blah blah blah, and users said this, because users wanted that'. And its just really direct from the horses mouth; users wanted this, we've designed it. Most companies don't really do that honest marketing approach, they just talk bullshit so that was nice. (Phone rings) Oh shit. [7994],[7989],[7999],[8000]
I mean this is a great example of like how our user insights will draw their marketing, because their user insights; because now their marketing says 'We went out to see users and users said blah blah blah, and users said this, because users wanted that'. And its just really direct from the horses mouth; users wanted this, we've designed it. [8020]
Clearly, there's people that you can't get on with sometimes, but there's a professional air about. It all has to be professional. But there's plenty of times when we've done lots of things together in Taiwan in the middle of the night, getting cobbling drunk together. So yeah, good. [8041]
But it's more difficult with the Asian clients culturally, cause it's just difficult to connect with them. You just don't connect as well. [8064],[8025]
Why don't we connect? Just cultural, I mean. It's just very difficult [crosstalk 00:12:29], especially in Korea, where it's very hierarchical, and everybody looks the same. You go over there and like you design everyone. [8065]
Why don't we connect? Just cultural, I mean. It's just very difficult [crosstalk 00:12:29], especially in Korea, where it's very hierarchical, and everybody looks the same. You go over there and like you design everyone. Nobody has an opinion in Korea, you have to be very senior before you have an opinion. Otherwise, people are very scared of being criticized for their opinion, so they don't say anything. You don't have an opinion, cause you might get criticized. And they don't wear anything different, or they don't look different. [8026]
So that's quite hard. It's a massive conflict with us. If you pack your bag now and go an live in Korea, you can imagine what it's like. [8066]
So that's quite hard. It's a massive conflict with us. If you pack your bag now and go an live in Korea, you can imagine what it's like. And this isn't when you work with clients, this is big cultural differences, one of which is obviously that they [inaudible 00:13:16]. But it's a very different approach [8027]
On this one? It was cool, it was really good. I mean, it depends on what role you take as a project manager, really, because clearly you have some people on the team that are very experienced, and then you have other people who are less experienced, maybe there's even juniors, straight out of university and stuff, so you have to put on a few different hats. [8030]
You just project manage, but to the really inexperienced people, you're a kind of mentor, so there's a bit of teaching as you take them through this new thing that they're doing. And you have to support them, but I think you have to be firm as well if they do things wrong, or if they're not doing exactly what's expected of them, then you have to be a bit school teacher-ish. [8031],[8038]
But then there's the other extreme for that is the really experienced people who are possibly even intimidating because they might be more experienced than you are. And they have a very specific way of doing things, and you have to debate whether that is the right process with them. [8032],[8039]
The best way to get around all this obstacle course is to have a very open conversation right at the beginning with the whole team and just ask every team member, get them all to go, what's your goals? What do you want to do in this project? How do you want to approach it? What are you insecure about? What do you think you might need help with? All this kind of stuff. Just have a big conversation, right at the beginning, because that lets everyone understand that if you get into trouble halfway through the project and somebody's underperforming or it's not going well, you don't get on with someone, the least they feel they've got someone they can come and talk to, like the project manager. Or these are the systems here that we've got if things start going wrong. [8023],[8033],[8034],[8049]
I dunno, I mean you hear about it all the time, there's people that don't get on, clearly. We don't all get on with each other. And there's times when people bitch and complain. But I've seen worse in other companies. For some reason, our deal employs the sort of people that can be adult about it and professional about it. [8042]
We have had people here before who've been sacked quite quickly who can't deal in a professional ideal type work, stuff. And they haven't lasted very long. It's just an attitude thing, you have to try very hard when you employ people to understand that they're the right type of people. [8044]
And that was tricky. It was very hard for the rest of the team to connect with him because he just wasn't around. He'd just go off somewhere and nobody knew what he was doing. [8067],[8068],[8069]
It was fine. I know we had one guy who had just joined. He'd had a long job before that, it wasn't a job, he was kind of self-employed before that. And he was just like working on his own for five, six years before he joined Ideal, and he was very difficult to bring into the team because he was very into it, he worked in [inaudible 00:17:27]. And that was tricky. It was very hard for the rest of the team to connect with him because he just wasn't around. He'd just go off somewhere and nobody knew what he was doing. [8043],[8051],[8052]
I made quite a big point of sitting together, everyone sits together in the project space and you have to get on with them, so everyone does get on. You can't have people that... you just can't allow it. [8050]
Reference Tags
[8021] Great example - Individual & Team outcomes for future efforts,[8036] Indecisive leadership,[8053] Vague roles,[8055] Internal changes/challenges,[8024] Communication issues,[8037] Indecisive leadership,[8054] Vague roles,[8028] Decisive leadership,[7996] Decisive leadership,[8016] Organizing effectively,[8008] Organizing effectively,[8056] Lack of real innovation mandate,[8045] Risk compensation,[7995] Communication issues,[8009] Organizing effectively,[8046] Risk compensation,[8058] Anecdotal fallacy,[8057] Conservatism,[7992] Communicating ideas across domains,[8007] Empathetic disposition,[7998] Great example - Productive innovation norms,[8003] Win-win conflict about ideas,[8017] Methodologically creative,[8001] Inexperience,[8010] Organizing effectively,[8002] Inexperience,[8011] Organizing effectively,[8059] Empathetic disposition,[7990] Appropriate resources,[7997] Decisive leadership,[8012] Organizing effectively,[8035] Group attribution error,[8004] Lack of resources,[8005] Lack of resources,[8047] Scope creep,[8006] Lack of resources,[8060] Organizing effectively,[8048] Scope creep,[8022] Balanced workload pressure,[7991] Appropriate resources,[7993] Communicating ideas across domains,[8013] Organizing effectively,[8061] Perfectionism,[8029] Decisive leadership,[8040] Perfectionism,[8015] Promote autonomy & sense of ownership,[8062] Pessimism bias,[8018] Trust,[8014] Organizing effectively,[8063] Pessimism bias,[8019] Collaborative-Creative Disposition,[7994] Communicating ideas across domains,[7989] Great example - Individual & Team outcomes for future efforts,[7999] Great example - Productive innovation norms,[8000] Ikea effect,[8020] Empathetic disposition,[8041] Quick resolution of relationship conflict,[8064] Cultural differences,[8025] Cultural differences,[8065] Cultural differences,[8026] Cultural differences,[8066] Cultural differences,[8027] Cultural differences,[8030] Decisive leadership,[8031] Decisive leadership,[8038] Organizing effectively,[8032] Decisive leadership,[8039] Organizing effectively,[8023] Communicating ideas across domains,[8033] Decisive leadership,[8034] Great example - Productive innovation norms,[8049] Trust,[8042] Quick resolution of relationship conflict,[8044] Forceful conflict about relationships,[8067] Communication issues,[8068] Internal changes/challenges,[8069] Solitude disposition when stuck,[8043] Avoiding conflict about relationships,[8051] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8052] Unresolved relationship conflict,[8050] Trust

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MADISON BARNETT
I get my inspiration from the fictional world. I’m a social geek. Completely exploit 24/365 catalysts for change whereas high standards in action items. Conveniently whiteboard multifunctional benefits without enabled leadership.
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