Managing Your Chosen Product Design Consultancy

How to plan and manage the creative design process, creative design consultancies and product designers

Even at the most basic level of working with a creative person or company – for example a graphic designer on a logo – if there is an unhappy result, it’s rarely the fault of the creative person. I guess I would say this running a creative agency, but let me explain – the problem can be with the designer but more often than not the issue belongs to the client. A well briefed and well managed project by a client who communicates clearly and has taken the time to define exactly what they expect rarely goes wrong.

Problems are generally due to the fact the customer or specifier has not explained and agreed ‘the brief’ properly, or not managed the process adequately while it’s happening. This article seeks to inform how this can be done effectively meaning that a great result is far more likely!

Managing design and creative projects requires a clear methodology. For complex tasks the project manager must be organised and detailed. This is not to say you need to be ‘hands-on’ and constantly interfering – absolutely not – creative people need to be given freedom to use their abilities, however, you as project manager (and client) need to allow for and try to anticipate everything that could arise.

One huge help is to establish clear, positive and open communications at the outset, and then maintaining full openness at all times, irrespective of concern of hurting anyone’s feelings.

Product Focus Group

Process for managing a Product Design Consultancy on your project

Here are the ten key things you should consider as you manage your project and your creative team:

  1. Establish and agree the aims of the project. What does a great outcome look like?
  2. Agree a budget and timescales and ensure any changes to this are clearly communicated and agreed.
  3. Agree a detailed project brief.
  4. Ensure correct legal documentation is in place particularly in the matter of IP ownership.
  5. Appoint a main point of contact for the creative agency. Some meetings will involve multiple people from your team but a single main point of contact makes things easier for everyone.
  6. If multiple agencies are involved then agree clear roles, responsibilities and lines of communication.
  7. Develop a detailed project plan with approximate timescales and share with the internal and external team. 
  8. Agree the process for sign-off of the different work stages of the project plan.
  9. Be guided by the agencies on the involvement of production partners in the design and overall project plan.
  10. Give honest feedback whilst trying to remain constructive and positive.

We would always recommend a minimum viable product approach. Launch something that is viable and then innovative that further rather than continual scope creep that pushes the launch date back.

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Summary

Managing your product design consultancy well is a critical part of your project and of your role. 

Find out more about Product Development Consultancies: What is a Product Design Consultancy?

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