Copyright by Kim Goodwin

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Chapter 3. Project Planning

Project Planning

A design project may start at any point in the lifecycle of a product or service, from the first moment a problem or opportunity arises to just a few weeks before the product ships. It's possible for a design team to succeed at any point in that process, so long as everyone understands that design is like a lever: the longer the time between project start and delivery, the greater the effect. Designers provide the most value when they're involved in the early stages—defining the problem and the product or service that will address it—but can still provide some value late in the process by cleaning up screen layouts and making icons more understandable. Your project has a good chance at being considered a success as long as the expectations match the time and budget at your disposal.

One of the keys to setting those expectations for a successful project lies in what Flawless Consulting[9] author Peter Block would call the "contracting" phase: getting agreement on what you're expected to accomplish (at least in the first part of your work), how you'll go about it, and how much time and money it will take. Most consultants literally get agreement in the form of a contract; this kind of formality may not be necessary for in-house projects, but it's useful in any case to have some kind of working document that outlines the understanding between the design team ...

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