This is the first post in a series I'll be doing on the product design process, starting with communication and meeting client expectations.
Meeting client (or your teams) expectations is a large part of delivering successfully on a brief, and to meet those expectations we should start out by asking as many questions as possible; this will help us to effectively align ourselves as a team to product requirements, business goals, and discuss why changes to the brief or designs may be needed as we go.
I like to ask questions that dig into what the client's business goals are, how the team works, and what work has already been done; this helps to make sure we are on the same page and gives us a good base to build the right product. It also allows me to remove as many assumptions from my process as possible, we want to shine a light on areas that may be overlooked and avoid surprises down the track.
The questions below cover topics that aren't always brought up in a briefing, they'll change depending on the team, the project, and what state the brief is in but give a rough example of the type of questions I ask before making a start.
This isn't comprehensive but hopefully what I've listed above will inspire you to think up more questions relevant to your own projects. The most successful projects I've worked on have had a minimal number of surprises, the aim is to have valuable conversations early.
Effective communication is more than deciding what chat software to use or having lots of meetings, it's about gathering and sharing knowledge. When a team is communicating effectively, working from the same playbook, and checking in regularly the expectations will be met by default, bumps in the road can be smoothed out as you go. I've found that in my own process, a 10–15 minute daily check-in is enough to keep the team aligned, it's short enough to hold focus but long enough to do a quick show and tell if needed, this is something I'll dive into deeper in a further post.
Asking questions is something we all need to get used to, we can be fearful of them making us look inexperienced or nosey when in reality the answers they give us help us do our jobs to the best of our ability.
Up next I'm going to be continuing the theme of communication with 'Be transparent, discuss your process', and moving onto 'Scope and what makes a good brief' and finishing with 'Milestones and setting timelines'. If you'd like to add to what I've written above, or have thoughts on what you'd like to see covered in any of my upcoming posts, leave a comment below.