An image of a nepalese farmer using a solar powered water pump

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Project Management for a government agency

I designed a remote project management solution

Gham Power is a solar company focusing on rural community empowerment and wants to create income-generating opportunities for smallholder farmers. They have a patent-pending IoT device that enables real-time monitoring of solar-powered water pumping systems and much more. I was tasked with designing a software solution for a government agency that wanted to utilize those IoT devices to monitor the solar-power pumping systems that they provide on a subsidy basis for rural farmers.

Problem

Growing need for digitization and cost-cutting

The operations of the government agency were growing on a large scale and the cumulative cost of visiting each project site for inspection was growing as well. However, while simple remote monitoring was the initial task at hand, the requirements also evolved into project management and quality analysis. Some of the requirements were also heading towards the fringe of technical feasibility.

My Role

As the lead product designer, I had a few roles to fulfill.

  • Set up and conduct user interviews with the people at the government agency for requirement gathering, design validation, milestone definitions, and project sign-off.
  • Create designs through an iterative process and ensure that the designs met the user’s requirements
  • Collaborate with the clients, the development team, the in-house R&D team, and upper management to create a product that satisfied everyone
  • Overlook the development process, and bring the R&D team and the development team on the same page to conduct QA and unit-testing
  • Manage expectations of all the parties involved. I had to rein in the project requirements, set realistic timelines, and reduce overall friction through communication.

Approach

How we solved the problem

With a project that wanted to grow in scope after every meeting and had to be completed on a tight deadline, I had to use all the tools in my arsenal to avoid being thrown overboard. Here are a few things that helped.

Empathy

Proper documentation

Keeping everyone in the loop

Solution

Highlights of the outcome

Despite the process seeming convoluted at times, the outcomes were truly rewarding. Nothing feels as good as coming up with efficient solutions to tangible problems. And that is exactly what happened.

Software Solution

Design System

Reflections

Working on this project was a great learning experience. Here are some key learnings from the entire design process:

  • The sooner the stakeholders are brought on the same page, the better.
  • At the end of the day, everyone wants to design the best solution. The tricky part is to identify the overlap between the various best solutions in everyone’s head.
  • Documenting conversations helps to anchor the design process. Having previous agreements in written form saves a lot of perpetual back and forths in the future.

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