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Work Smart: How to Manage Large Projects (For Design Teams)

project management tips for design agencies
Large scale project management, streamlined

Managing large projects (vs small projects) takes extra planning and consideration if your design team is to deliver their best work on time, and within budget.

We know you want to produce the highest quality design work for your customers and clients, but when projects get huge, management is all the more essential if you’re to avoid losing control.

If you’ve just won a new multi-layered project (congrats!) but don’t know where to begin, or are wanting to take on larger scaled design projects within your team but feel daunted with managing all of the moving cogs needed, this article is for you.

We’re sharing our best advice on how to manage large projects, after years of tried and tested processes.

Large scale project management starts with getting out of your head and into your client’s

At the beginning of any large scale design project (or any project, in fact) you need to understand the needs of the client.

Establish the messaging and brand identity required for the designs, before you start designing.

Lay everything out on the table. Allow the client to throw out as much direction as possible. Things like:

  • The core of the project
  • Values of the brand
  • Target audience
  • Color ideas
  • Design restrictions

This is the foundation that will shape the direction of the design work and allow you to assign the right designers for the job. Go deep.

Managing large project teams: Know who’s who

Get to know the structure of your client.

  • How many eyes does each element have to go through?
  • Who has the final say?
  • How do they want files to be transferred and in what format?

Make sure all of this is as clear as possible from the start.Then you can assign the right designer for each design type.

  • Do you need a UX designer?
  • Is the client looking for illustration or animation?

Managing large project teams: Break down the deliverables

Break the project down into each deliverable and its respective deadline, and implement a project management system to make sure everyone is on track throughout.

We wrote this article on the 3 P’s of project management, if you need more guidance, here.

Be smart, outsource design work

If you see from your planning that the design deliverables required exceed your capacity, outsource additional help.

Design Force is the invisible design service behind small and large agencies world-over. We’re here to help you deliver your most outstanding design project yet, and with flexible pricing and a dedicated Design Manager as your single point of contact (no more juggling multiple freelancers), we can step in to lighten the load with our team of high-quality designers.

By outsourcing an on-demand service like Design Force, you can double your output while halving your efforts.

And what’s more, we take confidentiality seriously. Working behind the scenes so agencies like yours can say yes to more business.

Start with the basics, get regular feedback

When you start designing, start from the very basics: sketches. Simple pencil to paper to get your ideas rolling. 

Take these initial sketches back to your client and assess whether your direction meets their brief. Build things up from here and gather feedback at every stage of the design development, until you’ve nailed the core identity of the project and the client is happy.

It may seem tedious to share designs in every stage of development, but catching design conflicts here will save you from making huge changes further down the line. 

Keep this feedback loop firmly in place as you continue the project and you’re set to deliver a project that excels, keeping clients coming back for more.

In summary:

When that dream pitch comes your way (and it will), remember:

  • Determine the core identity of the project
  • Know who’s who and how design elements need to be presented
  • Get your project management system organized using our 3 P’s process
  • Outsource to Design Force’s on-demand designers to lighten the workload and upscale your output|
  • Start with the basics, ask for constant feedback, and check in regularly with your client

Want to know more about our invisible services? Get in touch today.

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