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Scope Your Project

Perhaps the most important part of any project is when you sit down to design it, scoping out the time and resources necessary to complete it. In contrast to a typical policy design process, the human-centered design process allocates more time to defining the problem, generating many solutions, testing ideas, and regularly examining your own assumptions, biases, and preferences. The resources below will push your thinking about how much time you should spend defining the problem, developing novel solutions, checking for your own blind spots, and maintaining an equity lens.

What is this?

A simple process to consider the full spectrum of people who will be affected by your solution.

When should I use this?

At the very outset of your project, focus your work on those who will be most affected by certain policies and those whom you want to influence to create or improve policies.

What is this?

Tips for assembling a team that will result in deeper understanding, original thinking, and innovative solutions. 

When should I use this?

When you’re staffing a project that needs some out-of-the-box thinking.

What is this?

A process to look at your challenge from different angles before you launch an exhaustive research phase. 

When should I use this?

When your policy issue is coming into focus, but before you’ve finalized your project plan.

What is this?

We all have assumptions about the education issues we research. Assumption storming is a way to get your team’s assumptions out on the table and foster objectivity.

When should I use this?

During the early stages of a project, orient your team to the issue they’ll be investigating. 

What is this?

A guide for selecting, framing, and communicating the intentions of a design project. Much of the advice provided runs contrary to conventional wisdom in the education policy world.

When should I use this?

When you’re scoping a proposal for a funder or client in which the project seeks a new or better solution for a specific group of people, like students, principals, or teachers.

What is this?

Design projects are commonly focused on addressing a specific challenge or question. This process will help you frame a challenge that’s not so narrow that you can’t generate multiple solutions or so broad that the work is ambiguous.

When should I use this?

When someone articulates a pain point and asks for your help to understand it.

What is this?

These cards are loaded with questions that you should ask yourself and your team at every step of your project to practice self-awareness and interrogate power structures.
 

When should I use this?

This resource is best consulted when designing a project plan and then at every major stage of that project.

What is this?

The way we conduct research and create solutions has the potential to exclude or ostracize the very people we aim to help. This article introduces practices “that organizations, teams, and individuals can use to mitigate the impact of racism and inequity in design practices.”

When should I use this?

When you’ve learned the basics of design thinking and want to understand the role of power, race, and privilege in the process. It would make a good discussion reading for a team starting a policy design process.