Politecnico di Milano - Master of Science in Management Engineering
Management of Design and Innovation Projects
Claudio Dell’Era| Stefano Magistretti
Overview of the Course
Projects are the managerial tool that enable innovation. Until some years ago only companies operating in few specific sectors (e.g. aerospace and defense, civil engineering) needed a full set of tools and methodologies to manage projects. This course focuses on some key aspects of managing complex projects. Special attention will be devoted to uncertainty and risk management in design projects, to agile project management (e.g. SCRUM), to quantitative operating control and to the economic and financial aspects of projects. Moreover, organizational and behavioral topics will be presented through models and methodologies aimed at increasing competences in negotiation and team management.
- Management of Innovation Projects: module aims at enriching the capabilities to define and effectively manage innovation teams and innovative projects;
- Management of Design Projects: module aims at enriching the capabilities to effectively manage design projects characterized by multidisciplinary teams and a high level of creativity and innovativeness.
The course aims at providing conceptual models, methodologies and tools to manage innovation and design projects. At the end of the course participants become managers with a specific sensibility in managing design and innovative projects and to develop specific competences in:
- Having a systemic view of the project and a holistic view of all its variables (organization, activities, time, cost, risk, control, value, etc.)
- Properly defining and controlling the project scope
- Identifying and managing the project uncertainty and risk
- Defining and controlling the project value
- Controlling the project status and foreseeing the final project performances
- Managing creativity in design projects
- Early prototyping design concepts
- Managing teams with different skills
The course has been designed around two modules:
- Management of Innovation Projects:
Systemic view of Project Management: Projects can be seen as complex systems in which many variables like the scope, the resources, the schedule etc. are in equilibrium. Every change to one variable will have inevitably an impact on the value creation. The systemic view of the project will allow future project managers to explore direct and indirect cross effects among variables and show that many problems can be faced with indirect approaches.
Scope Management: Managing the Project Scope is one of the main responsibilities of project managers. Its management starts with a full implementation and validation of scope statement documents. In innovation and design projects, though, a complete upfront description of the scope is often impossible. Flexible scope management, agile methodologies and specific approaches like SCRUM, will be presented as well as negotiation approaches and tools to manage the customer relationship.
Advanced Planning: Planning cost and time of a project is seldom enough. Projects must convey value to companies. Economic and Financial tools (NPV, EVA, IRR) will be refreshed and attention will be devoted to what specific PM decisions can have an impact on variables (e.g. working capital, cash flows etc.) that influence the creation of value. Moreover uncertainty should be planned as well. Risk management provides a set of powerful tools and methodologies (mitigations, contingencies, risk profiles) to help managing uncertainty in advance.
Advanced Controlling: Controlling a complex system of variables requires a multi tool and methodology approach. The controlling toolbox should cover scope, organization, time, cost, risk, value etc. Specific attention will be devoted to advanced use of Earned Value methodologies focusing on basic indicators (CPI, SPI) and introducing advanced ones like EAC or TCPI.
- Management of Design Projects:
Design Thinking: Explanation of the methodology by showing the guidelines and the steps to follow. This in order to show how thinking like a designer can transform the way people develop products, services and even strategy. The Design Thinking approach broke the mold of the “lone genius inventor” and it is considered the father of the modern R&D laboratory. Considering this it is clear the importance to approach and understand this methodology to manage properly Design Projects.
Prototyping: It is a crucial aspect in today’s world and not only in the Design field. Students will explore some methodologies and tools useful to address this topic. Indeed no designer wants to deploy a “go to market” based on an inside-out hypothesis developed only on the project team. So it is important to consider this aspect during Design Projects and use tools and methodologies like: 3D printing, Rapid Prototyping, Experience Prototypes, Iterative Design and Open Source approach in order to manage complex projects.
Lean development: Lean development and lean startup are approaches that are getting more and more relevance in today’s panorama not only in hi-tech industries. In particular we will present and discuss the necessary stages, the Agile loop of rapid development, the Service Design, the MVP (Minimum Viable Product). These techniques will be transferred to students because developing a project in today’s complex and volatile market needs to be managed in a different way compared to the past.
Minimum Valuable Service: It is a structured framework combining the Lean Startup Agile loop with the Service Design approach. It is an evolution of the MVP approach to develop new technological solution considering the relevance that service Design and Design itself is gaining lately. A focus will be given to the impact of this methodology in large organizations.
Claudio Dell’Era (firstname.lastname@example.org; +39 02 2399 2798)
Stefano Magistretti (email@example.com; +39 02 2399 4093)
The table below shows the classrooms and the class scheduling for each section.
09:30 – 13:00
(15 min break between 11:15 – 11:30)
To Be Defined
Slides / Case Studies / Videos
Slides, case studies and videos will be made available through the course website on BeeP.
Suggested Textbooks, Papers and Case studies
There is not a unique reference textbook, but rather a collection of textbook chapters / papers / case studies from different sources that complement an active participation during classes. Material is available at http://www.biblio.polimi.it/.
Management of Innovation Projects
- R. Burke.
Project Management – Planning and Control Techniques. Rory Burke Publishing
- Project Management Institute (2013). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK Guide. Fifth Edition
- Tommaso Buganza, Martin Gerst, Roberto Verganti (2010). Adoption of NPD Flexibility Practices in New Technology-Based Firms. European Journal of Innovation Management
- Alan MacCormack, Marco Iansiti, Roberto Verganti (2001). Developing Products on “Internet Time”: the Anatomy of Flexible Development Process. Management Science
Management of Design Projects
- Tim Brown (2009). Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. Harper Collins Publishers
- Tim Brown (2009). Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review
- Roger L. Martin (2009). The design of Business: Why Design Thinking Is the Next Competitive Advantage. Harvard Business Press
- Tenny Pinheiro (2014). The Service Startup: Design Thinking Gets Lean. Hayakawa
- Eric Ries (2011). The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. Crown Business New York
3. Educational Process
Course will actively engage students in an experiential learning process: in addition to conceptual inputs, the faculty will use case study discussion, workshop, teamworking sessions and team presentations. The Course require that participants:
- Attend class regularly and contribute to class discussions;
- Be fully prepared for class (by accomplishing the pre-assigned tasks);
- Actively participate in team projects and activities outside of class, and contribute to team learning.
The main educational process is thought for students who will actively participate in class and who will engage in team-bases activities. The course allows some students, who are not able to provide this form of active participation, an alternative educational process.
The course is based on individual and team activities.
The lectures manly aim at illustrating and sharing frameworks, models and tools. In order to facilitate the understanding, case studies are presented and discussed along the lectures. During both modules, participants will take part in Team-based Laboratories in which they will experiment, in Team, every main topic presented through lectures. Each laboratory session will last approximately 4 hours during which students will have to apply, in a realistic project environment, what they learnt using real tools like project management software or excel to manage data. The Individual Written Exam, scheduled at the end of the module, is composed by small case studies and open questions.
Not-attending students are those who—for some major constraints that should be clearly explained to the faculty by email—are not able to participate to more than 30% of classes and/or team activities. Students with overlapping classes should commit in participating to Management of Design and Innovation Projects activities within the above mentioned limit or follow the course as not-attending students.
The final exam consist of a written part and an oral part scheduled in the off-lectures period. Not-attending students will not be included in laboratories.Access to the oral exam is allowed only if the written exam is sufficient.
The faculty of the course strongly suggest to attend classes and to engage in team activities. An active participation to the course not only improve the effectiveness of the learning process, but also reduce the overall effort that the student has to put in the preparation of the final exam characterising the course.
 E.g. Interns, Erasmus, etc.