Manager, Team, Time Plan, Stakeholders and Processes
Once we have the product and the brand in order, we move on to the meta-level and deal with the realization.
Design projects often lead to development projects which need to be managed precisely. It is vital to define a clear management and decision-making structure which all project participants can follow. Defining who will be project manager, both on client and agency side, and defining who is ultimately accountable is critical to the efficiency and success of any project.
Any project will have a number of interest groups or so called ‘Stakeholders’ which each hold a different stake in the efficient running and successful outcome of the project. To what level they may be involved or interested may vary based on hierarchical level or specific departmental role. Ensuring all stakeholders are kept up to date and involved can be a difficult task though, particularly when senior stakeholders can often be absent from the process for long periods of time only to throw a curve ball at the last minute. Making sure that all key stakeholders have had their chance to give input and have signed off at key stages is not to be under estimated.
Not all processes are the same and unfortunately there is no set template. How a project is run is largely to do with the type of industry. For example, the medical device development process is highly regulated. Clearly defined documentation requirements must be met and often a usability engineering file or design history file must be supplied.
The back bone of successful process and project planning is the time plan. The time plan requires forward thinking and planning and helps to anticipate future issues. While no time plan is perfect it helps to give the project and design process a certain structure without which the project can easily derail or drag on.
A project manager is an indispensable part of the team and holds a huge amount of responsibility. Communication is the project manager’s most desired quality. Keeping all parties informed at what stage the project is in, defining who is responsible for what decisions and managing resources and time are just a few of the tasks a project manager needs to juggle on a daily basis.
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