In Chapter 5 of The Business of Design, Keith Granet provides detailed advice on best project management practices for a successful design business. He emphasizes the importance of planning as much as you can in the beginning with the project kickoff and then explores team structure and roles, scheduling, budgeting, contracts, project management technology, and communication throughout the rest of the chapter.
In this blog post, we examine the important six steps every designer should follow at the beginning of each and every project.
“For a design firm, project management is what sets the successful firms apart from the struggling ones. If you can master how a project is managed, it can influence so many other parts of your organization.”
Six Steps for a Successful Project Kickoff
Develop a “Project Vision Statement” that incorporates your company’s overall vision and your client’s vision for the project. Think beyond the architecture in your vision, and think about including experiences and needs that the project can address.
Do you best to get the budget from the client, especially if the client declares that there is no budget. In such a scenario, suggesting a ballpark figure can usually get a client to agree to at least a budget range. Afterward, you must assess whether a client project can be accomplished within the budget.
The Decision Maker
Establish the main decision maker or makers in the project who must always be present at every crucial meeting throughout the duration of the job. Consider the person spending the money and the person writing the check to be equally important.
Identify the external and internal teams and make sure to define each team member’s role in order to ensure project success.
You must set up a preliminary schedule with a plan to constantly update it. A good project process comes from matching performance with client expectations.
From the very start, document client and firm expectations to understand your capacity to meet expectations and understand how they change according to different factors throughout the project duration. Expectations include design satisfaction, performance, meeting the vision, budget, etc.
After following these six steps, you can feel confident to start the design process. Read more about project management in Chapter 5 of The Business of Design.
This is the fifth in an occasional series of blog posts drawing from ideas explored in Keith Granet’s books The Business of Design and The Business of Creativity. To get more detailed insight on best practices for your design business, you are encouraged to read both books and they can be found at your local bookstore or click on each book image to purchase online.
The Business of Design
Alternatively, if you have already read either book and want to share your experiences using its advice, send an email to email@example.com.