Many people’s first introduction to the idea of a design management team has come from television. Shows such as “Flipping Out” entertain with stories of beautiful designs and personal stories but don't always provide a great model of how a team should function.
In over a quarter of a century of service to the most demanding clients in the world, our team at VIR Construction has learned some effective ways to run a design team. Below, we have listed five tips on how to do design management properly.
What Is Design Management?
Design management encompasses the business side of providing design products or services. It harnesses the creative processes of talented staff for the needs of the business.
It includes ongoing strategies, processes, and requirements to ensure that your design team not only creates brilliant and desirable results but also serves a business's most important function, earning profits.
Managing design work requires making the best use of time and resources while still allowing for inspiration and innovation.
One of the most essential aspects of good design management lies in effectively supervising design teams.
Run Effective Design Team Meetings
Meetings serve as either incredibly productive forums to get work done or interminable time wasters that sap both effort and energy.
Running a business meeting takes skill, authority, tact, and, most of all, preparation. Design team meetings have as much potential as any other business gathering to go off the rails for a variety of reasons.
Experts suggest that when running a design team meeting, do the following to keep it on task:
• Establish what type of meeting it is
• Determine who needs to be there and who does not
• Distribute and follow an agenda
• Set a hard ending time to keep the meeting focused
Manage Time Wisely
Effective planners create feasible schedules for themselves and others. Then they follow them precisely. This maintains organization and enhances productivity.
Today’s technology can come to the rescue when time gets short. For example, you can use Skype or other similar services to hold meetings rather than try to assemble a group in one place.
Delegate Responsibility When Appropriate
Creative people can be the worst delegators. They often want to have personal control over each detail of the process, fearing a lack of attention will cause a project to not meet expectations.
Effectively delegating responsibility occurs when you learn to trust your team with important tasks. Figuring out which jobs to assign to others will free up time for working on more challenging tasks.
Listen to Ideas from All
Every team should function in this fashion. Groups work best when every individual feels that their supervisors respect their input. We may not always agree with the ideas and concerns expressed by those whom we manage, but listening is vital.
If those ideas are rejected or do not pan out as hoped, a leader should take the time to explain why to the person who had the courage and intelligence enough to suggest them.
Keep the Entire Team Involved
The other side of the “listening to ideas” coin is when we have shy or introverted individuals on our team. Knowing how to keep them involved can present a challenge and managers must remain flexible.
For example, if a team member hesitates to share in a group setting, ask for their insight in other situations where they feel more comfortable. Don’t ever discount introverts because they often are our most creative and talented individuals.
Design management presents a number of challenges to those leading the team, but when performed properly it can result in outstanding efforts.