Managing a design process with Podio

27 Jun

Without proper management of design and development processes things can get really messy and frustrating. Here are some problems that arise when the process is managed poorly, how to do it right, and how Podio can support the skilled project manager.

A design process of say a web page, usually involves:

  • A project manager sketching out the context for and functions of the webpage as well as a sitemap
  • A designer creating the website graphical mock up
  • A developer coding the web page
  • A project owner to whom the project manager refers back to

Related offsite content: 6 Phases of the Web Site Design and Development Process

Problem: The design decisions lack clear direction

If you do not have a clear idea or focus, the final design will probably turn out to be a mix of what you or the designer felt like at that given moment. It will be a mess. The project owner will not have the sense of clear direction and will bring his or her ideas to the table, leaving the design even more unfocused than it already was.

The Solution: Make a masterplan

…and clear it with the project owner – pick a color scheme, describe the feeling, the touch, the user groups, and aesthetics of the site beforehand. Use reference sites to guide you.

Keep decision making and production separated

The project owner should have some process transparency but should always consult the manager, not the designer directly. To minimise confusion, the designer or developer should only be in contact with the Project manager

Stay organised!

Gather decisions into one place so the designer og developer always knows where to go when in doubt.

How to have Podio support this:

Set up two Podio Spaces

  • Management space: For behind the scenes communication between Project Owner and Project Manager. Make one app for everything to be shared in.
  • Development space: For coordination between Project Manager and the designer. The owner can also be a member but should only monitor, not engage. Make one app for everything to be shared in.

Linked items across spaces

Discussions in the Management app can link directly to the subject matter in the design space and app, making reporting back a breeze

An example of a good Podio workflow

  1. Share the masterplan in the management space, revise and discuss
  2. Set a date for when it should be “locked down”, and use the categories ‘idea’, ‘first revision’ and ‘final’ to indicate this progress
  3. Transfer the finished masterplan to the development space for the designer to see.
  4. Have a meeting, offline or online with GoToMeeting or Skype, ask for professional input, and revise the masterplan
  5. You can notify the project owner of this change in two ways:
    1. go to the masterplan, create new Management app item (press n on your keyboard), and ask for input/confirmation
    2. go to the masterplan, create private task (press t on your keyboard, choose project owner and choose private from the drop-down) and ask for input/confirmation

Design Management is a very delicate task, involving many interests, professions and ways of working. How have YOU leveraged Podio to make people collaborate without pushing deadlines and the overall design focus? Share it in comments for everyone’s inspiration.

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