Managing your design projects

The key stages of the design process

Guide

Whatever your resources and business' size, effectively managing design projects can benefit your business.

You may find it useful to divide the design process into different stages. Each clearly defined stage becomes an important milestone in bringing your new product or service to market.

Different stages in the design of products or services

There are four distinct design process stages:

  • discovery - forming your ideas, once you have identified the need for a new product or service
  • definition - refining ideas, establishing the business objectives of creating this new product, ongoing management of the design project
  • development - creating a prototype of your new product and testing it in order to see if it performs as it is designed to do
  • delivery - producing and launching the product or service

Graphic representing the design process

Dividing the design process up like this can help you to develop and plan the timetable for your new project. You can use the project structure as the basis for communication between all those involved in the design project. Throughout the process it is important to encourage people to share their views, hold regular reviews and be flexible enough to adjust plans when problems come up.

To see examples of how businesses structure and manage their design projects, browse through the Design Council's case studies.

How to evaluate your design process

Once you complete the design project, there is one last essential step in the process. Don't forget to evaluate the impact of delivering a new product on the service your business offers.

A number of indicators will help you to evaluate the success of a particular design project:

  • Has your market share increased?
  • Are more people using your service?
  • Is customer satisfaction increasing?
  • Is brand awareness increasing?
  • Does it cost you less to manufacture your goods or deliver your service?

Alternatively, you can find reports, case studies and guides in the Design Council's resources section or find out more about the design support for your business.