Project management by remote control

Seamus Barden, Left Hand of Fr@nk Innovation & Transformation

For Seamus Barden, the Master of Technological Futures was literally life-changing.


“It’s made a massive difference to my life - how I interact with other people, how I learn and absorb, it's made me a lot lighter on my feet in terms of the way I problem solve. I've had a few people come up to me and say I'm like a different person.”


Seamus moved from construction project management to IT ten years ago and thought he’d reached the top of his game.


“I’d gone as far as I could go with IT Infrastructure project management and actually was pretty overloaded with work at the time. So it was quite ironic when the course was recommended to me. But I went along to the interview and signed up the day after. The idea of listening to a whole lot of industry ‘doers’, that's what excited me the most.”


And that’s when the transformation began.

I thought I'd come out with a working piece of software and it would be my business model going forward but actually it’s opened up so many different doors. 

"At the back of my mind I had aspirations I'd be the next Facebook, don’t we all! But there really is that level of excitement and I hadn’t got that level of excitement from my work for quite a while. To be able to sit there and dream about the ‘what if’ and be exposed to all these new ideas, you realised you had this chance to create a brand new future.”

Through his Master’s, Seamus created a project management platform that allows consumers to manage their small land holdings remotely. 

“My Master’s project was inspired by a block of land we own on Waiheke Island. I was getting local trades to go and have a look at a job and I wouldn't be there to hand it over to them. We were getting lost in translation on the phone, and I couldn’t monitor the property when I wasn't there. We’d have a big storm come through and I'd have to get on a ferry. So I wanted to see how I could put that all that onto a dashboard. If there was a fence broken, I wanted to be able to take a photo of the fence, geotag it, explain what I wanted, send it off to a custom trade, get them to go straight to that geotag location and then for me to be able to live track that they're actually on the job when they say they are, for them to photograph it, send it back, close it out and then put in an invoice without me having to go back to follow it up.”

He got it through to the prototype stage and now it’s waiting to be developed. Waiting, because Seamus is flat out. Since finishing his Master’s, his business Fr@nk has doubled in size.

“I've now got my certification in running design thinking workshops, got Scrum certified, got Agile certified and become an Agile instructor. And I’m almost about to become DevOps certified. It’s opened a floodgate really. It’s also made a huge difference to how I spend my free time. I got rid of all social media and I must have read or listened to 150 books since I left the course.”

Seamus says the Master of Technological Futures is an absolute no brainer.


“I didn’t know how insular I'd become. I think for males in particular, you reach your mid 40s and you get a bit time warped. I’d got to this really comfortable place and thought yeah I've cracked it but then I realised no, I haven't cracked it at all, start again. Once those blinkers come off and you start seeing all these new opportunities, it’s very exciting.”

Related video: Welcome to Tech Futures Lab

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Tech Futures Lab is an education facility of The Mind Lab, a NZQA registered Tertiary Education Organisation under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. Candidates who are studying on a programme delivered by Tech Futures Lab are enrolled with The Mind Lab.