In the design world, project management is all about getting things done as quickly as possible. If you dream to be successful in 2022, there’s more to project management than just cranking through tasks on a list. You need to think about how your projects will be completed efficiently and effectively by all team members involved. So let’s take a look at 15 steps you can take now to make sure your next project goes off without a hitch!
1. Identify Your Project’s Stakeholders
Include all the people who will be affected by the Project and make sure they’re aware of their stake in the outcome. That includes internal stakeholders, who are directly involved with the Project and might be able to provide you with feedback or assistance, as well as external stakeholders, who are not as close to your Project but whose opinions still matter to you.
2. Define the Long-Term Goals for the Project
Defining your long-term goals for the Project is an important step before the actual work begins. When you’re working on a project, it can be tempting to focus on the task at hand and not think too much about how your work will contribute to the bigger picture. But defining your long-term goals first can help ensure that you’re spending your time wisely. Besides, it helps you stay motivated when things get stressful.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
– What do I want my product or service to achieve? (e.g., increase revenue by 10% over the next year)
– How can I measure success? (e.g., a specific growth rate in sales)
– How am I going to reach these goals? (e.g., create new features that target new demographics)
3. Set Out Specific Objectives for This Particular Project
Define the goals of your Project and how they will be achieved. What are you trying to accomplish? What is your objective? Where will you be at the end of this Project, and how will we know when we’ve reached it? Do not just list a bunch of random tasks (e.g., “create a website”). Instead, define specific goals for this Project that can be tied back to your overall business strategy (e.g., “increase web traffic by 10 percent”).
List the tasks you want to accomplish in order to reach those goals (e.g., “implement new features”) as well as any resources required for each task (“web developers”). Then detail who will be involved in each task and what quality standards may need to be met before moving on or completing that phase of work on time or under budget (e.g., “web developer needs two weeks from start date before she can begin working on new features; upon completion, go live within six weeks’ time frame”).
4. Discover What Assets and Resources You Already Have
As part of the discovery phase, it’s important to identify the assets and resources you have at your disposal.
This list should include everything from people who are already on your team to what kind of technology is used in their work environment to any existing furniture or fixtures that can be reused for a new project.
You may also consider which external resources might be helpful in completing this Project. For example:
– Do you know anyone who has experience with similar projects? This could be someone from within your company or even an outside vendor that specializes in design services. It’s worth asking them for a piece of advice as well as possible collaboration opportunities.
– Is there someone whose expertise could help solve problems during development? Maybe they’ll lend their expertise by reviewing some early drafts so that only high-quality work makes its way into production.
5. Decide Which Assets and Resources to Acquire
This is the step where you really have to think about what and how you need to achieve. For example, let’s say that your goal is “to have the best designers,” you might ask designers to complete some online courses in order to gain more knowledge in a specific area of design (like typography). Or perhaps it’s attending conferences where they can listen directly to industry experts themselves? The point here is that this step shouldn’t be taken lightly — you needn’t worry too much about what other people’s goals might be: after all, there are many different ways of achieving success!
6. Plan a Budget
A budget is a set amount of money that you allot for a particular purpose or expense. If you’re working on a project, it’s important to set aside an amount in your budget for other people’s expenses — to ensure that they have what they need to do their jobs properly.
There are many different types of expenses that could come up as part of your efforts to get this Project done.
7. Outline Your Team Members’ Roles, Skills, and Responsibilities
You’ll need to make sure your team members understand their roles, skills, and responsibilities on the Project. This is a great time to get buy-in from them so they can be more invested in its success.
To do this well, you should provide a detailed description of the Project — the tasks involved, any resources or timelines needed — and then outline each person’s role(s) within it. Try to create a list of all tasks that need to be done (including progress indicators), as well as dependencies between tasks (i.e., when one task needs to be completed before another can begin).
8. Create a Timeline of Tasks That Needs to Get Done, with Durations and Dependencies
Create a Gantt chart that shows the major phases of your Project. You can use software like Microsoft Project or JIRA Agile to do this, or you can create your own spreadsheet in Google Sheets or Excel. In the chart, note which tasks are dependent on each other and how much time is required for each task (or phase).
9. Define the Quality Standards You and Your Team Must Meet When Completing Work
Now that you have an idea of what your design should look like, it’s time to talk about how it will work. The next step is to define the quality standards your team must meet to complete their tasks. Quality standards are the minimum acceptable levels of quality in your design. These can be defined in terms of aesthetics, usability, and performance. You need to ensure that they are clearly defined and measurable so that everyone working on this Project knows what they’re aiming for.
You must also ensure that these are verifiable — you’ll probably want to test them at a later stage in development as well as before you go live — and repeatable because if there’s one thing we know about software projects (or any business venture), there will always be more than one person involved!
10. Create a Communication Plan for Stakeholders and Team Members
Communication is an essential part of project management, and when it’s done well, it can make all the difference in the world. A good communication plan will help you keep all your stakeholders informed about key milestones and deadlines, as well as provide a space for them to share their thoughts with you on how things are going or what they need from you. Your team members will benefit from regular updates on the progress of their projects so they know exactly where everything stands at any given time.
A good communication plan also makes sure that there’s always someone available who has expertise in a specific area — and if they’re not available right now? They know who else they can turn to in case there’s some sort of emergency (like an unexpected meeting).
11. Identify Potential Risks and Decide How to Mitigate Them
Risk management is a critical part of successful project management and will help you avoid costly mistakes in the future. When building your risk management plan, identify not just problems but also the possible solutions for mitigating those risks. You can use this plan to easily track all of your Project’s risks and how they’re being handled throughout the process.
12. Write a Complete Project Description for Future Reference or Approval by Stakeholders or Clients
It’s important to write a complete project description for future reference or approval by stakeholders or clients. This document describes the tasks that you need to perform and how they fit together with other tasks in order to achieve the Project’s goal.
When writing your project description, make sure it includes:
- A clear statement of what you want to accomplish (i.e., “We want our website redesign to be eye-catching and user-friendly”)
- The major steps needed to achieve your goal (i.e., “Create new graphics and layouts; design responsive mobile experience”)
- Any dependencies between different parts of your plan (for example, “The graphics department can’t start until after development has completed its first round of testing on the new layouts.”)
13. Appoint a Lead Designer Who Will Communicate with the Client Directly
The lead designer should be the person who will be most involved with the client. This is typically someone who has experience in dealing directly with clients and can communicate well, but it does not have to be someone who necessarily has extensive experience managing projects or teams.
The only requirements for this role are that they are able and willing to work closely with clients throughout all phases of design, including conceiving new ideas and making sure everyone understands what themes need to be explored in each phase so that you don’t waste time exploring an idea that doesn’t fit your brand or strategy.
The lead designer must also have good organizational skills, as they’re responsible for keeping track of project timelines and ensuring that all deadlines are met on time.”
14. Assign Individual Tasks from the Timeline to Each Team Member
Now that you have a timeline, it’s time to assign individual tasks from the timeline to each team member. Each team member should have a role, responsibility, and task that they are responsible for completing. Each team member should also have a deadline by which they will complete their task and deliverable (i.e., what needs to be done before the deadline).
15. Monitor Progress throughout the Project Lifecycle
Since you have a plan, you need to make sure you’re doing what you said you’d do. That’s where monitoring comes in. Monitoring progress throughout the project lifecycle is a key part of project management. This can be as simple as checking off tasks on your to-do list or as complex as collecting data on every team member’s output and comparing it against their goals.
Monitoring allows for the next steps when something goes wrong or even when something goes right! You may find that some tasks take longer than expected, which means you’ll need extra time to complete them — or maybe things are going more smoothly than anticipated, so there’s no risk at all! No matter what happens along the way, it’s important that we’re aware of any changes that need to be made (and how we can make them) so our plans stay relevant and accurate throughout this process.
We’re sure that you’ll find your own way to use project management in your design work. But now, we hope that you have a better understanding of what it is and why it matters. We also hope that these 15 steps will be helpful as you get started with your own projects — especially if they involve other stakeholders!