Project Management

Introducing the Pathfinder Squares: Time Management for Academics

Posted by
Carl Peters
June 5, 2023

In the fast-paced world of academia, efficient project management is crucial for researchers and students to stay on track and achieve their goals. Introducing the Pathfinder Squares, a time management technique inspired by the Agile methodology of sprints, similar to the popular Scrum approach. Squares provide academics with a structured and iterative process to navigate their projects successfully.

The Pathfinder Framework is designed specifically for academics, offering a systematic way to manage projects from start to finish. Just like in a board game, a team of academic researchers, known as the Caravan, moves through different "Squares" to complete their projects effectively.

The Pathfinder Caravan consists of three key roles: the Pathfinder, who acts as the academic researcher and project manager, the Messenger, who serves as the academic supervisor, and the Companions, who are team members supporting the Pathfinder's project. Together, they form the core team responsible for project success.

The Squares in the Pathfinder Framework serve as the heartbeats of project progression. Each Square typically lasts between two to four weeks and comprises three key events: Start, Run, and Finish. The Start event involves crafting a comprehensive Project Charter and prioritizing project tasks, while the Run event focuses on executing the project work and engaging stakeholders. Finally, the Finish event involves integrating and updating project documents and preparing for the next Square.

The Squares can be likened to sprints in Agile project management frameworks like Scrum. Just as sprints provide a time-boxed period for focused work in Scrum, the Squares in Pathfinder allow academics to divide their projects into manageable chunks and concentrate their efforts on specific deliverables within each Square. This iterative approach enables constant progress, adaptability, and continuous improvement.

As the academic landscape becomes increasingly dynamic and demanding, the Pathfinder Framework provides researchers and students with a structured and adaptable approach to project management. Embracing the concepts of agility, collaboration, and continuous improvement, this framework empowers academics to navigate their projects with efficiency and achieve their desired outcomes.

Learn more about the Pathfinder Framework here.