Who said the digital design process was easy? What is the ultimate aim of the project? Has a clear process been outlined of how the project team is going to get there? Who should be on the project team? Consequently, there is a lot for design teams and Product Owners to contend with.
Many Product Owners have been burned in the past by lengthy, unsuccessful or frustrating processes, with horrors of previous digital design projects haunting the success of new ones. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By following the steps below, Product Owners and all other stakeholders can ensure the success of their next digital design project.
Set clear objectives
As with any project, setting clear objectives from the very beginning is essential. These objectives should be agreed by all members of the project team so ensure there is a consensus of what the project will set out to achieve. To keep the project on track, these objectives should then be referred to at each stage of the roadmap. This will make sure the decisions being made are aligned to the goals agreed at the outset.
Listen to the voices in the room
From the beginning of any project, there are likely to be many people eager to have their say. Whilst gathering opinions and viewpoints is important, what’s also important is defining which voices should really be listened to. These are the people that will really help to decide what the end product will look like and will likely be the product users themselves.
Define the decision-makers
We’ve talked about the importance of defining who the key ‘voices’ are, but it’s important to define who should be making the final decision. Who owns the project? Who is in charge of the delivery and who is accountable for making sure the project is delivered on time, within objectives and within budget? These are the people that should be making the decisions. Product Owners must avoid a ‘too many cooks’ scenario where there isn’t a single person in charge. Without a clear leader, decisions can be stuck in limbo and timescales can quickly become a thing of the past.
Put a roadmap and timeline in place – and stick to it!
Every project needs a clear roadmap with a timeline of when each part should be achieved. This will ensure all members of the project team are able to stay on track. The leader of the project – the Product Owner – should be responsible for making sure the roadmap is adhered to and adjusted if necessary and will be accountable for any changes. If a checkpoint has been missed, why did it happen? What needs to change within the process to make sure it doesn’t happen again? As a result, understanding the answers to these questions can ensure the project continues to stay on track.
Reflect on success
You’ve reached the end of the project – well done! However, there is one more step that needs to be completed. That is reflecting on the success of the project. What went well and what could be executed better next time? A retrospective look back through each stage of the project will inform the decisions that should be made at the start of the next one. Should the same people be involved? Could another team’s viewpoint have proven useful? There is always room for improvement, so reflecting on the success of the project is an important way to bring it to a close.