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Questions to ask during a project design kickoff

October 13, 2018

Starting a project without asking some of the basic questions will lead to failure. Here are the questions I ask my clients at the start of a project so that we begin with a step in the right direction.

We have a collaborative design process that is all about understanding the client, their needs and problems. This approach focuses us to ask questions instead of making assumptions.

At the start of a project, we conduct a design kick-off workshop with all members of the project. This workshop helps to align everyone’s understanding of the project and any expectations.

Asking questions helps us get a full understanding of the project goals, the product, the users, and any client inspiration. A lot of the questions are quite basic but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth asking. But starting a project without asking some of the basic questions will lead to the project failing.

I wanted to share my list of the questions I ask.

It is worth noting that the following:

  1. We may know the answer to some of these questions.
  2. Not all questions will apply to all projects.
  3. And the client will not know the answer to all questions.

So use common sense.

Project Goals

To understand the goals of the project, I ask the following:

Q: Why are we doing this?

Q: What does success look like?

Q: How will success be measured?

Q: When do you need it completed by and why?

Product purpose

To understand the product and its history, I ask the following:

Q: How would you describe the current product?

Q: What is the primary function of the product?

Q: What are the goals of the product?

Q: How do you measure those goals?

Q: How long has the product been available?

User Needs & Problems

To understand the user, their needs and problems, I ask the following:

Q: Who is the product for?

Q: Why do/will users use the product?

Q: Why do/will users pick this product over competitors?

Q: When and where do/will users use the product?

Q: What are the most common problems users face?

Q: What is the biggest problem they face?

Q: How will I be able to talk to the users?

Features & Tasks

To gain a better understanding of the features and tasks that the product will have, I ask the following:

Q: What tasks do/will users need to do?

Q: Which tasks are critical to the success of the product?

Q: Which features are most important to users?

Q: What feature do/will users use the most?

Inspiration

To get some inspiration for the product design, I ask the following:

Q: What do you like about the current product?

Q: What don’t you like about the current product?

Q: What sites do you look at and say “I wish ours was like that”?

Q: If you had a magic wand and could wish for one improvement, what would it be?

That is about it! Start asking questions early in your design process, not only will it help you to learn more about the project but it also helps to increase the success of the project.

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