Project Management is super important in keeping your projects from going absolutely nuts. Project Management is necessary for large teams and if you are just working as a freelancer. It is important to keep time, money, resources, and everyone involved in order.
There are various methods of Project Management that work for different kinds of projects.
I am a web designer. Yes, I make websites, but I also do branding and some print design. I mostly work with just a client and myself.
So the best system for me is the “traditional” method.
It starts with initiating the project: meeting with the client for the first time, discussing their goals and the services you can provide. You give them a project proposal which puts in writing everything that will get done and how much it will cost. You lay out a contract of terms and conditions. These documents and this first part of the process are so important as they are the basis of the rest of the project. Everything must be laid out as clear as possible.
Planning, Executing, & Controlling
This next part is a cycle of researching, designing, building, and revising.
This is where you further figure out what are the specific needs of the products. You brainstorm on ideas, find the appropriate theme, prepare wireframes, and create prototypes. Then you realize what’s missing in the design, and back up to more research or more sketching. You then continue this loop while checking up with the client, and meet your deadlines with the final products.
Don’t forget that closing the project with the client is just as important as the previous steps. You give them all of the final products and put the website live. You receive final payments and provide any “support” resources and documentation necessary for the client to upkeep the website, etc.
You return to the proposal and contract documents and review. You confirm an agreement with the client that the project has been finished and all payments have been dealt.
So this is a quick overview of the “Traditional” method of Project Management. It seems to work best with projects that span a set time period with a starting point and an end point. It provides both the structure and flexibility necessary to ship a website, a logo, or print piece for a client.
I have a current project working with a start-up business that needs their company branded with a logo, some business cards and a website.
I started the project by setting up a project proposal, laying out the project workflow and a timeline with deadlines and payments.
The project will include further analysis of the goals of the business. A business name will be established along with a theme to guide the rest of the development of the project. A logo will be designed that best fits the character of the brand and the name of the business.
After the name, logo, and design theme have been chosen and approved by the client, a business card will be designed. Wireframes and mock-ups for the website will also start to be developed alongside the business card. After the approval of the business card design, wireframing and construction of the website will continue with periodic check-ups with the client. Various revisions will be made according to what things I find to be missing or too complicated.
On the final deadline, when the website is finished, I will review everything with the client — the proposal documents and final products. The final payment will be paid. We will then reach an agreement that I have done all the services I agreed to do, and he has submitted all the payments. The website will be made live, and the final materials will be given to the client.
And that’s basically it. He may later ask me some small questions, but anything larger would probably require some more documentation, and we might even have to go through the process again.
But that’s the way I manage my projects. I may tweak it as I get more experience, but it will still maintain this basic structure.