Project Builder

Project work
20-60 minutes

We all want projects that have great impact. And one of the best ways to do that is to "see" how the project will unfold, and recognize the downstream pressures, constraints, needs, and enablers that can make or break a project.

Because the skills represent basic decisions that need to be made throughout the life of a project they let us "build" a vision of how the project might work, so we can frame our early decisions with a clear understanding of the downstream outcomes.

Using this tool is the first step toward building out a "team playbook" for certain types of projects. A good sequence of patterns will define a project with enough room to adapt it to specific contexts.

What you'll need

  • Start from the project builder template on Miro
  • Rough understanding of the project goals & outcomes
  • Small group to work with, or who will provide immediate feedback


  1. Answer the phase-questions to chart the context around your project
  2. Select skill-patterns from the card listing, and drag them up to your project plan
  3. Review the skill patterns backwards: do any downstream patterns require new upstream arrangements?
  4. Now add new cards for your project-specific patterns.
  5. E.g., if you're testing a concept prototype, you might add a card in '2. Approach' for "Clickable Prototype"
  6. Use this project plan to create a rough timeline and scope for the project
  7. Now socialize this "pre-built" project with the larger team, and see what else you need to get moving
Last updated: .
February 23, 2021 3:47 PM

Examples in the wild


  • Work on this with your project team, to build a shared understanding
  • This activity is perfect for a ~25 minute meeting to think through a project before you need to get into the heavy details
  • You can send the questions from each phase to the team ahead of time, so they can answer those that are most relevant to their needs


  • You can sketch this frame pretty easily with pen and paper while referencing the main template.

Can we clarify or improve?
How did it work for you?

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