Pamela Armstrong

Paper and Presentation: Enhancing Agile with Design Thinking

Abstract: Today’s emphasis on stakeholder engagement and customer experience underlines the importance of understanding their real needs. While scrum and design thinking methods are both built on a foundation of satisfying the customer, they differ significantly in how to decide what the best solution is. In scrum, the focus is often on functions and features and not on understanding the true needs of the customer. Design thinking provides techniques for deeply understanding the customer, gaining stakeholder insights, finding the right problem to solve, and creating customer-centric solutions.

This presentation highlights the similarities and differences between scrum and design thinking, and demonstrates how design thinking can be effectively combined with scrum to develop superior products. It introduces specific techniques for customer discovery and problem definition, recommends best practices, and presents a process for successfully integrating design thinking into scrum. Together, these methods can help us create better products, reduce risk, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.

PMI Talent Triangle: Strategic and Business Management

Biography: Dr. Pamela Armstrong is an Clinical Professor in the Decision, Operations and Information Technologies department at the Smith School. She teaches courses in design, quality, operations management, operations strategy, decision analytics and project management. She is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship where she develops and teaches design thinking workshops. Prior to joining the Smith School, Dr. Armstrong ran a management consulting firm that provided operational analysis, strategic planning, and performance management services to federal clients. Before consulting, she served on the faculty at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Dr. Armstrong also worked as an engineer at IBM, AT&T Bell Laboratories & Hughes Aircraft Company. She earned her Ph.D. in Operations and Information Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, her M.S. in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and her B.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona.