5 Tips and Tricks That Will Help You In Managing Your Design Project

This post is a collaboration with Nifty PM.

Design project managers have a very challenging task of trying to merge two very different concepts. They need to fit the creative process into rather strict organizational constraints in order to come up with a successful product, that will satisfy all their client’s requests.

They have to handle a group of artistic individuals who need time and space to develops ideas while also juggling numerous tasks, client and team meetings as well as deadlines. To complete their mission with a triumph, design project managers have to meticulously plan every part of the project, making sure their coworkers have enough time to find inspiration, apply it to a project and do all that within scheduled time limits.

At certain moments, this whole procedure might feel quite overwhelming so here are 5 tip and tricks that will help you in managing design projects and make your everyday life at the office a bit easier:

1. Organization is the Key

Although designing is a creative process, as a project manager you still need to meet certain deadlines. That’s why it’s crucial to adopt and apply various organizational skills and tools to your everyday work. This will greatly improve creative projects you’re managing and keep you on track.

Setting up a good organizational system will make the whole project run more smoothly and efficiently. So, make sure your calendar is up to date, the client’s needs and ideas are clearly outlined, the software you’re using fits your project requirements, team members are well – informed and that milestones are recorded. Also, don’t forget to check – up on your progress on a daily level. Just like in every project, you’re working under strict timelines and frequent reviews will make you less prone to eventual errors.

Investing some time in creating this sort of a system will pay out no doubt. It will declutter your mind and make you more focused.

Tidy desktop

2. Good Team Communication

As a project manager, you have to be able to communicate clearly with both clients and team members. Designers are visual types and many of them can’t be described as good communicators so it’s up to you to find a suitable way to convey what’s expected of them individually and as a team.

It’s not a bad idea to include them in client – talks on some level. Hearing first – hand from clients what’s the project goal and mission might give them a better idea of where to start, how to approach tasks and how much time it will take them to bring certain assignments from start to finish.

Also, take advantage of all available communication tools. In the last couple of decades, the technological revolution has significantly affected both our personal and professional lives. Some of the most important changes happened in the sphere of communication.

All project management comes with a variety of tools that will lift your experience to the next level. When it comes to interaction, you and your team members will be able to start discussions, share ideas and documents. You can create message boards and to-do lists, notifying everyone involved immediately.

So, you can choose the PM software program that will best suit your needs and simplify much of your daily work. No need for a huge number of emails or meetings and phone calls to keep everyone informed. Thanks to this, you will be able to use your time in a more efficient manner.

Nifty PM

3. Keep Clients Informed

As already mentioned, it’s important to have a clear line of communication with your client. After all, that person is your boss and you’re there to satisfy his/her demands. However, keep in mind that they might not be able to see the project the way you see it. Chances are they not too familiar with the field of design and that’s why it’s essential to keep them informed and engaged throughout the whole process.

By involving them and giving them the possibility to follow the progress of the project from start to finish, they will develop a better sense of what it takes to come to a final version. They will be able to give their opinions and suggestions as the project develops, making the whole procedure more cost and time – effective. Clients will witness the workflow tempo as well as the dedication of your team to complete the tasks and achieve the set goals. This sort of transparency and collaboration will, for sure, raise your level of productivity.

4. Managing Potential Risks

No matter what kind of project you’re working on, traditional or creative, they all come with certain risks. It is imperative for the success of any project to be able to manage these risks as better as possible, otherwise, they might appear at any time and endanger the whole process. That’s why, in order to prevent something like this happening, you need to be able to detect any possible problems and find solutions in case they appear. The most common risk types are:

  • Cost Risks – failing to successfully predict the costs of the project
  • Schedule Risks – needing more time to bring a project from start to finish which will increase financial requirements
  • Performance Risks – not coming with the results demanded in project specifications

Risk management has become one of the key elements in project management. Some of the other risk types are Strategic, Operational, Legal, Governance, Market risks, etc. As your experience grows, so will your ability to foresee when problems might arise and when to apply the necessary measures to eliminate them.

5. Learn from Past Experiences

Errors are inevitable, missteps and wrong decisions will be made while you manage a design project. However, it’s important to stay level headed and find a way to continue moving towards the set goal.

“Past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you.”

Once the process is concluded, the project manager should review it as a whole and analyze all its elements. Evaluate every phase you went through, all the performances, take notice of all the oversights made along the way and draw constructive conclusions that can help you better run the next project that comes your way. Use this experience to improve your future work.