Wearing the hats of project manager and graphic designer means finding the balance of leading the project without limiting your own creative process.
Planning Your Project
The SMART philosophy lends itself to many forms of goal setting and can be particularly useful in project management for graphic designers. Ask yourself questions based on these criteria to form a plan that fits your creative style, and your client’s needs.
S – specific
M – measurable
A – achievable
R – relevant
T – time-based
Create a detailed timeline for the project with concrete deadlines. Set clear expectations in regards to your availability, the number of allowed revisions and schedule of project check-ins. Having a specific timeline and budget in place is the foundation for an achievable project. Budget oversights are a concern for all stakeholders and can affect the success or failure of a project. An important part of staying on budget is making sure that all involved team members are aware of current budget status.
Open communication is key when managing a project. It is essential to your project that all parties are on the same page. Involve stakeholders in each step of the process, and have them sign off on the decisions being made. Discuss which forms of communication work best for your client. Do they prefer emails to phone calls or in-person meetings to conference calls?
Use your creativity as a tool to enhance your skills as a project manager. Take advantage of your design skill set, and turn standard communications into visual communications. Use colors and images that effectively communicate with your stakeholders. A PowerPoint presentation in a meeting can replace a multi-page summary, and be more relevant to your goal.
Even the best-laid plans will face roadblocks. Project managers need to be flexible, and pragmatic in regards to resolving issues. Deploy your creative thinking in managing risks and problem-solving. As you strengthen your project management skills, you will be able to anticipate risks, and solve them before they become actual problems.
Consider investing in project management software that streamlines your process and supports collaboration. Using these tools will help you become successful by increasing your productivity, keeping your team organized and your clients informed.