Year: 2015
Editor: Guy Bingham, Darren Southee, John McCardle, Ahmed Kovacevic, Erik Bohemia, Brian Parkinson
Author: Christian Tollestrup
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Aalborg University, Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology
Section: Problem Based Learning
Page(s): 506-511
ISBN: 978-1-904670-62-9


The Curriculums and programs in Problem Based Learning (PBL) utilizes the project-format in a team
based setting for rehearsing the competencies of applying the design-oriented skills and knowledge
learned in courses and workshops. If the project period is self-organised, there is a tendency to start
out with low speed and push the workload forward because the deadline is far out in the future. When
approaching deadline the workload intensity increase creating an asymmetric effort over the project
period (9-11 weeks).
So how can we create a sense of urgency in longer project periods, not just workshop format, that
would help a team of design students to engage and drive the project from the start to achieve more
and get further in developing their projects? - Without interfering with the content and development of
the project it self, but helping the team to move forward and become focused in their project
development. This paper discusses the effect from students participating in a time-boxed project
module with five milestones for 2nd.MSc semester in an Industrial Design Engineering program. The
semester evaluation, the process reports and supervisor perspective is very positive and that the
structure, strict enforcement and rolling project management responsibility in a group work setting
really helps them drive the project forward with high motivation. The main challenge lies in the
balance between loading the teams with too many challenges and just providing them with enough
structure to create the sense of urgency that fuels motivation and sparks ideas.

Keywords: Milestones, time boxing, sense of urgency, open projects

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