How to break down a design project

I have a simple method for breaking down a design project. And it starts with answering these key questions.

  1. Who are the key user types? (Identify them)

  2. What are the “jobs to be done” for each user type? What do they want to do efficiently?

  3. What are the success metrics for the client? If we completed everything successfully- what would success look like? Metrics/Outcomes

  4. What is the projected timeline for the project?

  5. What is the project worth?

  6. Who are the stakeholders involved and what are each of their goals?

  7. Who is on the project team?

Once you have this information you can synthesise everything together into a cohesive roadmap, strategy and execution plan with stakeholders and the project team.

All wanky sounding terms. But essentially it’s gather all the above information, make sense of the above information into a clear set of goals, create a plan based on said and agreed goals. Put the plan into action with the team. Design, Prototype, Test, and Iterate across the lifecycle of the project. Once you make things put it in front of people. But not just anyone the people who will use the product/service you are designing.

I use an agile methodology. We test and learn along the way. More partnerships with everyone involved. Vs. Let’s make everything in a cave do a big reveal with the client. Then just launch everything into the world at the end in a step by step manner.

Let’s have a look at the above project in action for hospital site.

  1. Who are the key user types? (Identify them)

  • Patients

  • People to be admitted

  • Visitors/Family+Friends of patients

  • Staff/Doctors

  • Staff/Nurses

  • Staff/Administrators

  • Carers on behalf of patients

2. What are the “jobs to be done” for each user type? What do they want to do efficiently?

  • Patients - need to find a specific room

  • Patients - need to know appointment times

  • Patients - need to know which ward and wing they are admitted under

  • Patients - want to learn more about doctors and surgeons

  • Patients - want to get in touch with a specific doctor/surgeon

  • Etc. Do for all user types

3. What are the success metrics for the client? If we completed everything successfully- what would success look like? Metrics/Outcome

  • Reduce inbound support calls

  • Be able to schedule patients in seamlessly

  • Have clear patient data that is accessible to admin staff

  • Improve the current mobile experience

  • Etc.

4. What is the projected timeline for the project?

  • Tenders will be reviewed. A vendor will be selected on 21 January. The project will commence on the 1st of February with a projected completion date of 14th June. (We will be advised further by the selected vendor)

5. What is the project worth?

  • $285,000 budget for design and development

6. Who are the stakeholders involved and what are each of their goals? (Add goals to each of these stakeholders by interviewing them)

  • Head of Marketing - Sam Plight

  • IT lead - Vinesh Ramjik

  • Admin & Operations Manager - Stephanie Rice

  • Project Lead - Hanh Zo

  • CEO - Amanda Francis

7. Who is on the project team?

  • Creative Director - Nguyen Le

  • Design Lead - Justin Grathje

  • Copywriter - Tait Hill

  • Producer - Varenka Schill

  • Director of Technology - Lauren Powell


Once you have all this synthesize it together. Collaborate and divide and conquer together :)