for product designers

Being a product design isn’t easy. The need to establish a strong design process is one of the common challenges that product designers face. The robust design process helps a product team to achieve two goals — create project transparency and establish excellent communication between people involved in product creation. The tool you use to manage design projects has a crucial impact on a design process because the tool, along with design principles, sets a foundation for the design culture.

In this article, I want to demonstrate how to achieve both transparency and streamline communications in product development companies using a tool called

Project Transparency

Time to market (TTM) is the length of time it takes from a product being conceived until its being available for sale. TTM is one of the most critical metrics for product design, and stakeholders love to ask the question, “When would you be able to ship this product?” during the very first meeting with a product team. Project transparency plays a crucial role in whether the team will be able to ship everything as planned.

When dealing with complicated design projects like a website or an app design, product teams present an entire project as a set of tasks. But as soon as teams start working on those tasks, it becomes hard to understand the progress a team made so far.

There are two types of project transparency — bird’s-eye view (be able to see a project perspective) and the dive-into-details view (see what the status of a particular task is). Here is how helps us achieve both goals.

Create a project tracking board (bird’s-eye view)

The project tracking board is a dashboard for your project. It will communicate the current progress at a glance, and this is what makes this board so great for project managers and stakeholders.

It’s relatively easy to create such a board using the All you need to do is to review your current design process and define its phases. For example, you can specify the following phases for your mobile app design:

  • Conduct user research and competitors analysis
  • Design a prototype of an app
  • Develop a functional product
  • Create a landing page or a product
  • Collect and analyze the feedback of the early users
A project tracking board is a high-level roadmap for your project.

You can see that every phase can have a status. For instance, “Work in progress,” “Done,” or “Stuck.” The last status is useful if you have any roadblocks that prevent you from completing the task. The great thing about this approach is that you will have a line by line breakdown of where your project team effort is going so both you and your clients will have a bird’s eye view of a project.

Create boards for different teams (dive into specific details)

Design is a team sport. Large-scale projects are created by a few different teams of designers, developers, sales & marketing specialists. For every team, it’s essential to create a low-level task board that will be used to communicate with team members on what they will need to do on a daily basis to launch a project on time. If the project tracking board that we’ve discussed above is a high-level overview of the project, this board is a low-level board that contains weekly tasks.

For example, for designers, this board will contain tasks such as creating a visual design, creating style guides, etc. This approach has a few benefits:

  • You see what each team member needs to do to complete the task. You see live statuses for each task and see how the low-level tasks relate to the global goals.
  • It’s easy to prioritize tasks. You can discuss the scope of tasks with a team and set a proper priority based on the feedback from your team.

Depending on the project scope, you can create weekly, monthly, or quarterly plans. The board in the example below allows your team to view tasks for each week.

Team board for designers

Visual timeline (see dependencies)

As I’ve mentioned above, product design is a collaborative activity, and team members need to work together to achieve a global goal — release product on the market. The status of a one team player’s task often depends on the time to completion for another team member’s task (i.e., developers wait for the designers to complete the UI design). Using, it’s possible to put your tasks on the timeline and see how they relate to each other.

The opportunity to see when a specific scope will be ready will help you build a better prototype-build-validate design process. So you can schedule individual activities such as prototyping, development, and usability testing according to the timeline.

A visual timeline has an interesting side-effect — it motivates team members to work hard to provide results. Seeing is believing. When you see that other people are depending on you, not only you understand the value of your work, but also you will be more motivated to complete your tasks on time. allows everyone on a team to visualize time to completion with their “timelines.”

Communication channels

Loop stakeholders into your progress

When stakeholders don’t have enough information about the current progress or want to know more about how things are going, they send emails with headlines like “Just want to check what’s happening.” With, they don’t need to do that because you can share a project tracking board with them (by inviting them to the board as guests). Clients will be able to track the progress and share files.

This approach also makes it much easier to get feedback on your work. Instead of emailing design assets back and forth, you can ask clients to review your design and provide feedback in context. Create tasks like “Please review X” and assign them to the client. It is a fantastic way to collect feedback on your design and share this feedback with the entire team.

Work smarter, not harder

A lot of people in the product development industry say that you need to work hard to achieve your goals. That’s true, but the work should be focussed on creating solid design artifacts and bug-free code, not on solving routine task management operations. Tools like make project management fun and enjoyable operation. But more importantly, they save us a lot of time that we can invest in product development.

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