How to get the project outcome you want

In the forth and final of a series of blogs, written for the Sport and Recreation Alliance and their membership, we provide guidance on how to ensure a successful design project outcome.

It’s very important that you are clear with your expectations from the outset of any project, with outlined deliverables, accountability and chain of approval, but how do you know what you want until you’ve experienced what you don’t want? This can be a good starting point, create a review of the areas that didn’t meet your expectations from past projects and use this as the basis for what you hope will happen on the next project.

Some of the items below can help to manage expectations and will provide a framework that will help give you better control over your project.

  • Ensure first that the point of contact has been defined, a clear chain of approvals should be outlined at the outset to avoid concepts being undermined at crucial checkpoints by additional stakeholders (often watering down the communication and direction between you and your agency)
  • Tell your agency what didn’t go according to plan with your last project so they know what concerns you may have on this one. Both parties should provide a post project review to avoid similar issues occurring on future projects
  • It can also be a good idea to arrange mid stage reviews and end of stage sign-off before the next stage commences to ensure your approval is met throughout the project schedule. If mid stage reviews are required, supply sufficient timescales to allow for the extra process
  • Try not to control the outcome; a designers job is to conceptualise and surprise – a certain amount of creative freedom is required so as not to stifle or direct creative concepts in the early stages
  • If at any point during the creative process alarm bells ring, arrange a meeting with your agency to halt further time consuming work continuing on a concept you are not convinced by. An open discussion is needed to re-align the project with expectations re-assessed
  • Maintain a quick response time; it’s very important to keep momentum on design projects, therefore a rapid response to queries and approvals is necessary to stop projects becoming stagnant and stakeholders and the creative team forgetting where they are with the project
  • Pay agencies promptly with reasonable terms and conditions, this will ensure eager and quick response to briefs

Your agency should be well versed in design management and some will have project management skills in house, this will prove extremely useful during the creative process.