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The process of seeing a graphic design project through from conception to delivery can be a challenging one for even the most talented designers, but one thing experienced designers know is that excellent project management is critical to delivering successful projects within identified deadlines and budgets.
There are many approaches to effective project management, all of which have been left in the dust by today's cloud-based project and team management tools like the ever-popular monday.com.
Used by more than 70,000 businesses around the world, monday.com is a simple yet sophisticated tool that allows team members to communicate with each other, plan each stage of a project, track tasks, costs and deadlines, brainstorm solutions and much more, no matter where they are or what digital device they happen to be using.
Let's take a look at how you can manage your next graphic design project expertly using monday.com.
1. How to Set Up an Account
The first thing you'll notice about monday.com is that it offers users a lot of flexibility in terms of pricing plans. There are, in fact, four different pricing plans to suit a variety of needs. What I suggest, though, is that you start with the free trial to get a feel for what this incredible tool can do. Set up your account by typing your email address into the appropriate slot at the top of the page and hitting the Get Started button.
Once you've submitted your email address, you will be walked through a few screens where you'll be asked to provide key details about the kind of projects you're likely to use the application for, your role in the team, and how many people you will be collaborating with.
At this point, you can also add the email addresses of your team members, and monday.com will automatically invite them to join you.
2. How to Create a Board
Now that you're all set up, your next step is to create a design board for your project. Here you have a number of options. You can use one of the 70+ ready-made and highly functional templates on offer to start customising and building out your project details.
Or you can create your own blank board template from scratch. That's the route we're going to take for our example here, so that you can get a clear idea of the level of flexibility monday.com offers in creating highly individualised boards.
Click the + sign next to Boards on the left of the screen, and select the Blank Board template.
Enter your project name in the dialog that pops up and press the Create Board button.
This is what your board will look like.
3. How to Customise Your Board
Design boards are a key organisational component of your project. As you can see in the image above, each board is made up of groups, each group is made up of a number of items, and each item can have several columns.
It is inevitable that each team that uses these boards will use them differently based on their needs, but let me show you how you can use them to manage your graphic design project using the goal of creating a brochure for a cafe.
As you can see, the Brodbake Cafe Brochure board already has two generic self-generated groups. I will use these groups to break the project down into more manageable parts/steps and then break each step down into even more manageable parts/steps.
A. Create Groups
First, let's change the titles of each group. To do so, just double-click on the title and type your title over the existing one. You can also change the colour assigned to each group by clicking on the coloured circle shown next to the title.
Once you've renamed the existing groups, you can add more groups to your board by clicking the three dots in the upper right corner of the app. This will expand an extensive customisation menu. Click the first menu item, Add Group.
B. Create Tasks
Now it's time to add the tasks that need to be completed in each Phase. To do so, just start typing in the row where it says +Add, and hit Return to create a new task row.
Repeat these steps for each of your phases until all the tasks that need to be completed to move the project from start to finish have been added.
C. Add Columns
Now that you have added all the tasks that need to be accomplished to create your graphic design project, it's time to add some columns.
Columns are all about accountability. They allow you to create checkpoints that identify and monitor critical details regarding each task, like deadlines and budget, who is responsible for which task, monitoring of progression on each task, and more.
To add a column, click the plus sign over the last column of any group.
This will open a list of the most popular columns. Select the More Columns button at the end of this list to open an extensive menu of columns options available for you to customise your tasks. When you see a column you want to add, simply press the Add to board button.
Any columns that you add to your board will be shared by all groups on your board, so if you delete or move a column in one group, it will affect the columns in another group.
D. Pick Your View
One of the coolest features of monday.com for teams managing a graphic design project is the ability to choose alternative ways of viewing project information to quickly gather specific information.
The standard project view is via the main table shown in the image above, but it is also possible to view project information in the form of a chart which could provide information like the distribution of tasks within a team. It is also possible to use a Kanban view in order to view tasks grouped by status or the Timeline view to identify information like pending tasks or the workload of different team members.
To access the different views offered by monday.com, go to the top left of the app window and use the dropdown menu to open the Views Center by clicking on the Add View button. Select the view you want from the list provided.
4. Communication and Collaboration
We all know that bad communication can sink even the most promising project. And that is why one of the most critical features of monday.com is the freedom and ease it brings to team communication and collaboration by having all your team's communication in one place.
With the ability to access the app from your computer or mobile device of choice, team members can bounce ideas around easily during the critical brainstorming stage of a project and comment on any aspect of a shared project from directly in the app using the @mention.
monday.com also allows teammates to share files, links, images and ideas easily, and no one has to worry about being left out of the loop or being bogged down by duplicating information endlessly. With the possibility of including the entire team on a project, communication is easy, fast, and collaborative.
5. Track Progress, Promoting Accountability
Being able to track progress is critical to a project's success, and monday.com provides several systems that will enable team leaders to keep things on track and intervene quickly before they get derailed. Not only does the app provide a "Project Tracker For Teams" template, but even if you're not using that specific template, it makes it easy to integrate its features in your project.
For example, you could use the Status column feature with its colour coding of red, amber and green, so that you always know at a glance where problems are likely to arise and are better positioned to head them off.
The Person column indicates clear ownership of each aspect of a project and keeps everyone aware of where team members are with any given project at any given time.
What's more, the Progress column is another great tool for understanding at a glance just how close you are to keeping your deadlines and delivering your project on time.
All these systems are indispensable in successfully managing a graphic design project from start to finish.
Manage Your Next Graphic Design Project With monday.com
All these great features make monday.com a terrific project management tool for the savvy graphic designer and team leader. To learn more about the other great features of this awesome app, check out the official guides and sign up for the generous free seven-day trial. You'll be so impressed with this app, you'll wonder how you ever got anything done without it.
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