Define Your Project

Recently I was talking on the phone with a potential client about his media project. In this case, the Client had been considering many approaches from narrated PowerPoint to an interactive avatar as a means to provide critical healthcare information to patients.

A Client conversation about a project idea is an almost daily occurrence, and something that is a core part of my role of business developer and project manager. As the Client and I talked through topics like target audience, content delivery, measures of success, budget, timeline, visual style, and content topics, the media concept slowly moved from idea to a more defined project.

The goal in these conversations is to help the Client refine their idea and achieve the best communication solution. The solution can be in the format – video, motion graphic, 3D. Or, the solution can be in the delivery – social, CMS, LMS, mobile. And sometimes the solution is in the visual style – documentary, iconography, photography, illustration. Frequently, the Client isn’t sure of format, delivery, or style in the beginning and is now trying to create this new “thing.” Did I mention that success for the new “thing” is the only known requirement?

Pulling from my almost 20 years in the communications field, below are some of my suggested questions to help you in “finding project.”  These are questions to answer at the very onset of the effort, whether you are in the Client role or the Project Lead role. 

  1. What was the impetus in starting this project?
  2. For whom is  the media (video/web/animation) being created?
  3. Is there an existing version of this media that the target group uses?
  4. Is your content “stable” or something that changes often?
  5. Where do you see the media being used (or accessed)?  (this goes to geography, location, and technology)
  6. How much content do you need to convey (or, do you know how long this should be?)?
  7. Who is approving the content? Are there other approvers or layers of review required?
  8. What are some adjectives you use to describe your final media? Fun? Serious? Somber? Energetic?
  9. What is your timeline?  When will you be available to start?  When should the final file be ready?
  10. What is the budget or budget range for the project?
  11. Do you have existing resources to leverage (images, video, presentations, etc)?
  12. When you describe this project to others, what you see? What does it look like when it is done?

Admittedly, these “finding project” questions come from a Project Management slant. You’ll need to use different questions for shaping the visual style and creative sides of the project.  However, the information you gain with the Project questions directly impacts the work on the creative, so it is very important to have that initial framework in place.
What questions do you use when you are moving an idea to a definable project?  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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