Innovation because at MMID, we seek to deliver products that add a lot of value to our clients and users. We are constantly improving ourselves, our products, and our design methods; I would call that innovative!

Peeking into our Fields of Expertise:

Project Manager

At MMID, every designer works within one of the following five Fields of Expertise: Functionality and Systems, Producibility and Assembly, Electronics and Software, Look and Feel, and User eXperience. Designers from different fields work together to create valuable projects, which need to be managed. In this series of interviews, we speak with MMID employees to give a peek into our work and culture. For this week’s peek, we interviewed Danny Houwing; one of our Project Managers in Delft. 

Hi Danny, could you tell us about your career and journey to MMID? 

Hi, I’m Danny and my journey at MMID started in 2013 when I did an internship as a part of the Integrated Product Design master’s in Delft. After graduating I started working for a staff leasing agency because I wanted to see more of the engineering world. Throughout the years I have worked at various production companies and experienced different engineering roles. Eventually, I ended up at the NS (Nationale Spoorwegen) in Haarlem where I worked for a couple of years as a tooling engineer. This entailed creating specialized tools for the maintenance and modernization of trains, including smaller hand tools, lifting beams, and larger guiding machines. I eventually progressed into the role of project manager at the Facility department of the NS, bearing responsibility for the acquisition and retrofit of machinery. This included projects in which we renovated a blasting room, set up a new measuring room, and relocated the production process for wheelsets.  

 

 

Eventually, I left the NS to work at the municipality of The Hague as Project manager / Executive. My role was the upkeep of machinery in the public space. At The Hague, I learned a lot about the amount of work a municipality does, how to smartly maintain machinery, and how to closely collaborate with contractors. However, I found that the work did not suit me. I missed innovation! By coincidence, MMID and I crossed paths again in February of 2022. Since then, I have been employed as Project Manager at MMID, overseeing projects for both the Netherlands and the United States.  

What made you want to return to MMID? 

I wanted to go back to my roots of the IPD master and pursue innovation. The industrial design sector is more exciting and dynamic than the mechanical engineering and maintenance world I previously worked in. I remembered MMID from my internship as a company with a friendly and open culture that values people’s growth and works on cool projects.  

What do you tell people when they ask you about your job? 

I tell them that I’m a Project Manager at a design agency that creates cool products for different markets, such as the consumer market, the medical field, and the building management segment. I always get the follow-up question ‘What is that exactly?’. Then I usually look around the room for an example of something that MMID could have created.  

Described more in detail; I overlook the efficiency and effectiveness of our design processes in current projects. I make sure projects stay within their limits of time, budget, and quality. Together with the content owner of a project I make decisions according to these limits. The client is also kept in the loop for optimal communication and expectation management. We make sure the whole design team is on the same page by means of weekly meetings, both internally and with the client. In those meetings, everyone’s progress and issues are discussed. We keep track of everything regarding the project’s boundaries on an extensive dashboard.

 

What do your day-to-day activities entail as Project Manager? 

Currently, I manage five projects. I start my morning by checking the dashboard of the projects I will be working on that day. When needed, adjustments are planned. Afterward, I can meet up with the team or the client for a progress update, or I discuss topics with the Content Owner regarding the scope of a project. Sometimes we brainstorm about decisions and new work. Supporting the estimation of how much resources are needed for new projects is also part of my work. I dedicate four to eight hours per week to each project. In the meantime, I’m working on developing the Risk Management competence at MMID, and I am focusing on emphasizing evaluation sessions throughout the design process to improve team collaboration and mitigate possible problems.  

 

 

 

What do you like most about your job? 

The thing I like most about my job is the variety and the social focus of my role. I am analytic, which is beneficial to being project manager since it requires a lot of monitoring and managing risks. What I also like is that the job is all about people. You need soft skills to be Project Manager, as you work closely together with a team, a content owner, and a client. You must try to understand the stakeholders, support the team, and communicate the necessary information to relevant parties.  

Can you tell us something about a project you are proud of? 

Although I have not been with MMID very long, I am proud to have been involved with the realization of a medication aid. This is a product designed for oncology patients who do not have the strength to take their medicine in the way that is usually offered to them. When I joined, the focus of the project was to deliver a small series of products, and today we have received the first manufactured samples. They are going to be thoroughly tested, and if all is well, 500 units will be produced to be distributed in Europe. I am proud to have been a part of a product so simple, yet so helpful to people.  

What do you do next to your job at MMID? 

Recently I have become a dad to my son Ian! He is five months old, and that is where most of my time is going. It is so much fun to see him grow and develop his personality. Besides being a father, I am trying to take up some hobbies I used to do, such as playing squash and boxing. Another thing I enjoy is everything around food and drinks; I have made my own bread for a couple of weeks, grew mushrooms, fermented food, and brewed my own beer. This beer brewing has gotten a bit out of hand, and my friends and I organize a party twice a year just to get rid of all the beer!  

If you would describe MMID in three words, what would they be? 

Talented, open, and innovative.  

Talented because I was amazed at the capabilities of the designers when I returned in February. Everyone is very knowledgeable and ambitious and works hard to make the best products for our clients. In the beginning, I had to adjust to how quickly things get done at MMID with a very high quality of work.  

Open because of the company culture; MMID has a very nice group of coworkers, and everyone is allowed to be who they want to be. There is a lot of space for personal growth; I am working on developing my risk management skills and evaluation sessions.  

Innovation because at MMID, we seek to deliver products that add a lot of value to our clients and users. We are constantly improving ourselves, our products, and our design methods; I would call that innovative!