Guide To Design Project Management

Project management in design is about creating a system that gets things done.

By: TJ Bryant


Design project management is about creating a system that gets things done. You have to plan for success, prepare for the unexpected, and be there to support team members who need help along the way. In this guide, I’ll cover the basics of project management—from defining your objectives to keeping stakeholders happy along the way.

It’s all about the prep work.

The prep work is what sets the stage for a successful project. It’s a time for getting to know your client and their needs, as well as an opportunity to establish a system that will help you get things done in the most efficient way possible.

There are three main aspects of preparation: defining scope, defining resources and timeline, and planning processes.

Don’t wait until you’re too far into the process to document your project requirements

You can’t begin a project without some sort of design documentation. It’s important to communicate with your team, stakeholders, and clients about the requirements for the project. If you don’t document your ideas and plans, then it will be difficult for others to understand what you’re trying to accomplish.

It also helps you remember what was discussed at meetings when everyone’s attention is distracted by other things going on in the room. You might forget something significant that someone said about a requirement if it wasn’t written down somewhere accessible by all parties involved with the project.

Communicate with your stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle

  • Communicate with your stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle. Stakeholders need to be updated on the project’s progress, delays, and problems. They also need access to tools that allow them to stay involved in the project. Make sure you provide your stakeholders with frequent updates about status and progress.
  • Keep an open line of communication with your clients or customers as well as other team members who will be working directly with them (such as account managers). If there are any issues that arise during this process, make sure these are resolved quickly so they don’t turn into bigger problems down the line—i.e., making a change after it has been approved can lead to further delays because someone else needs to approve it again before being implemented into production

Set expectations and keep them updated on progress and delays

A project manager’s job is to keep everyone on the same page and get them working together toward a common goal.

Setting expectations for each person involved in your project will help you to:

  • know who needs what information from you,
  • make sure that everyone knows what’s going on at all times, and
  • ensure that your team is working efficiently together.

Make sure your team knows what their responsibilities are and what they should be doing at each step along the way.

  • Make sure your team knows what their responsibilities are and what they should be doing at each step along the way.
  • Establish clear expectations for everyone involved in the project, and make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to those expectations.
  • Create a timeline with deadlines and milestones so you can stay on track with your progress as well as make sure your client is aware of how things are moving forward.
  • Provide access to any documents or information needed by members of your team so they can complete their tasks.

Give your team access to the tools they need to work efficiently

As a designer, you may have a tendency to focus on the visual aspect of your projects. That’s fine! But you’ll need to also keep in mind that being able to visualize your project is just one part of the overall task at hand.

To help keep everything organized and make sure everyone on your team has access to the information they need, use a project management tool like Trello. Project management tools allow everyone involved in a project (including those who aren’t designers) easy access to relevant data and resources from anywhere with an internet connection. This helps avoid bottlenecks caused by emailing large files back-and-forth or trying unsuccessfully to remember where something was stored last time it was needed. The whole team can work together more efficiently while staying organized as they go along; what could be better than that?

Ask for feedback frequently

Feedback is essential to the design process and you should be asking for it at every stage.

When working with stakeholders, you can get feedback in a few ways:

  • Stakeholder interviews—these are short (usually 15-20 minutes) one-on-one sessions where you talk about particular designs or pages. These conversations often happen during your weekly checkins.
  • Group sessions—you’ll have larger discussions with a group of stakeholders, usually once a month or so.

When working with team members, there are two main options:

  • A quick “what do you think?” conversation or two throughout the day as you’re making edits, which usually takes 5 minutes or less each time.
  • A formal review session at least once per week (usually before lunch).

Project management in design is about creating a system that gets things done.

The first step in effective project management is setting goals and deadlines. You need to set a time frame for your design project, and then break it down into smaller chunks with specific deliverables. For example, you might have a deadline on when you need to have the final copy of your design ready to send off to clients or employees. Or maybe there’s an internal event coming up within your company that requires some new branding materials—and it’s already been decided that they need to be designed by this date!

Once these deadlines are set (and ideally written down), it’s important that everyone involved knows about them so they can keep track of how much time each task will take them. Once all of the tasks are laid out and assigned due dates, it should be easy enough for anyone working on the project receive updates as needed.


Project management in design is about creating a system that gets things done. Even though it may seem like there are more moving parts than ever before, the steps outlined above will help you manage your project and keep it on track.

You might not always be able to predict what challenges will come up during a project, but by keeping these tips in mind throughout every step of the process, you’ll be better prepared for whatever comes next!

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