Perfecting Project Timelines

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Imagine you’re planning a hike. Before you head out the door, you’d probably do a little research: check the weather, map your route, and look up how long it would take to reach each destination. By doing this, you can guarantee a smoother hike. The same is true of project planning. By creating a timeline, you can ensure the best results. 

So how long does it take to build a Ceros project? The milestones below can help guide you.  

  1. Gather some inspiration (~ half a day): Before you begin your project, get a lay of the land. Look around and see what your competitors are doing, as well as any organizations you look up to. During this initial stage, you don’t need to have a specific goal or objective for your project, but making observations can help shape the idea that you want to pursue. 
  1. Brainstorm your idea (~half a day): After you’ve taken a look at a few examples you like, work on defining parameters that you want your own project to fulfill. The guided questions below will help you craft a strong sense of purpose and direction: 
    1. What are my project’s objectives? 
    2. What key message do I want my project to communicate? 
    3. Which audiences do I want to reach? 
    4. What is the call to action? 
    5. What type of experience do I want it to be? 
    6. When is my desired completion date? 
  1. Create the content (~1 day): Once the questions above have been answered and communicated throughout your team, start putting pen to paper. Different types of audiences are familiar with and care about different subjects, so putting yourself in their shoes is crucial to reaching them. Think about: 
    1. What is important to your audience
    2. Pain points your audience needs solved
    3. The type of language that can reach your audience

This step can require quite a few iterations and reviews so that you get the tone and wording right. Be sure to have many different members of your team look at the content so you’re getting different perspectives.

  1. Build a wireframe (~2 days): This step can happen in parallel to the content creation stage. A wireframe shows the general layout and shape that your experience will feature. You can use software such as Adobe XD or simply sketch it out on a napkin or paper. Wireframes help you visualize how your content will look and can be a great time to explore different ways your audience will interact with your content. Check out our Wireframing Webinar to familiarize yourself with the process. 
  1. Get the first “go ahead” (~1 day): During the first round of reviews, you need to check if the layout of the project suits your needs and the content reflects exactly what you want to say. Ask yourself and your team the reflection questions below before moving on into the next stage. 
    1. Is the content expressing exactly what I want to my audience? 
    2. How easy is the experience to navigate for new users?
    3. Are we getting users involved through interactions? 
    4. How long will it take to add the design elements? 
    5. Will we be able to make our target delivery date? If not, what are some ways we can minimize extra time needed? 
    6. Has everyone involved given their approval to move forward with the project? 
  1. Bring it together (Design and Content) (~2 days): This step focuses on bringing together all of the key branding and visual elements into the project. To avoid being stuck in a feedback loop, ensure that everyone is aligned on the overall vision of the project. To set the design process up for success, check if you have: 
    1. Finalized copy and wireframe
    2. Brand guide containing:
      1. Colors
      2. Fonts
      3. Images
      4. Logos
      5. Organization-specific rules and regulations
    3. Reference materials 
  1. Get the second “go ahead” (~1 day): Getting the second go-ahead is crucial for meeting your project’s standards and deadline. Think of it like the final costume check and sizing before a big performance. All hands need to be on-deck when reviewing the design and a consensus must be met as to whether the project is ready to be launched. Review all of the questions asked in step 5 and think of any ways the experience could be improved. Changes can be made later to the project, but first impressions can stick in the user’s mind long after the project has been launched. 
  1. Launch the project (~1 day): This is the day when all of you and your team’s efforts can be shown to the whole world. Whether it is adding this to your website, inserting it into an existing page, or posting on social media, it will be out on the internet for everyone to see. To make this process smooth, ensure that you have tested the project before release for any bugs and have a plan if there are some hiccups. 
  1. Receive and implement feedback (~30 days after launch): Once your project has been live for around 30 days, look at collecting feedback from your internal team and external clients. Reflect on the project by answering the questions below:
    1. Were you able to reach your target audience?
    2. Which objectives did your project achieve? 
    3. What are some ways you could improve your project? 
    4. If you could do something different, what would it be?  

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