What Is Project Design in Project Management: Overview, Uses, and How to Create?

Managing a project is never easy. With multiple departments working together, different deliverables, and multiple moving parts, it’s often pretty challenging to finish your project successfully. That’s why businesses (no matter how small or large) hire a project manager to ensure smooth and flawless project execution.

When starting a project, an initial meeting where you get a rough estimate of the budget and set a timeline won’t do. One of the essential parts of project completion is project design. In this post, we will walk you through everything you should know about project design, its uses, and how to create one. Let’s get started.

What is Project Design?

Project design is exactly what the name suggests. The initial phase of project management brings your project to life by getting you the blueprints, design, and all the visual elements. During this stage, you plan the structure, key features, deliverables, and other elements. Based on the requirements, you may have to show one or more designs to the stakeholders in order to help them choose the most viable one. The project design is executed before the project planning and charter stage. Several visual tools, such as Gantt Charts and flowcharts, can be used to streamline project design.

How does Project Design Work?

Even though project design comes before the project plan, it’s not as detailed as the latter. Project design is used to give the stakeholders and clients a basic overview of the project, so they can get a clear picture of what the project is about and how you plan on finishing it. It also specifies who will execute the project and which member will be assigned what duties. For any project, having a clear outline of the project goals, deliverables, timelines, execution, and other steps can make the job much easier.

Here are the steps for successful project design.

Define your project goals

The first step to starting work on any project is setting your objectives and communicating them to your team. Everyone who’s part of the project should know what they are trying to achieve. In the first step, you set deliverables and timelines. Writing a project description is an important step in project design. You can’t work on a project until you know your goals.

Determine outcomes

These are more detailed than the project goals. It’s basically the breakdown of the project into different tasks. It gives the details of how you will execute the project and what are the different tasks.

Suppose you got a project of building a landing page for a client’s website. Now, one of your project outcomes will be putting an email sign−up form so that their customers can fill it out and register for your client’s services. Identifying different deliverables will help you figure out what tasks you are supposed to finish to ensure the successful completion of the project. During this stage, you can list several project management methodologies and select the one that fits your project needs.

Tip − If you are working on a complicated project, consider agile methodology. It’s designed to break down larger projects into smaller sprints, which are easier to achieve than the traditional approach. The Waterfall method and Scrumban are the other two options for effective project management.

Identify risks

Identifying potential risks at the initial stages of the project planning will ensure that your project is completed by the deadline and without any hassle. Of course, it isn’t possible to identify all risks, but knowing what may create a problem, will prepare you for these challenges. Discuss these risks with the stakeholder and your team to identify the best solutions before you start work on the project.

Use visual elements to improve your project strategy

Your project strategy is the core component of your project. To refine it, use visual elements. Not only will it present your project strategy in a clear and concise manner to your team, but visual aids are easy to understand.

You can use a flowchart, which lists the tasks within your project in a step−by−step format. It keeps your deliverables organized and ensures that each step required to complete the project is mentioned clearly. Gantt Chart is another visual tool used to represent the timeline of the project. It’s a horizontal bar that shows the list of tasks with the timeline for each. Mind Map, PERT Chart, and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) are a few other effective tools for project design.

Set a budget

Determine which tasks need to be outsourced, what resources are required, and the project's profitability. This step will show you the total you will spend on the project vs. how much profit it will bring. Setting a budget also helps you in resource allocation.

The leader might give you the estimated budget for the project that you will have to execute your project around. If that’s the case, you need to allocate your resources and outsource tasks based on the budget set forth by the leader. Once you have created a budget, send a copy to the leader. Once your budget is approved, you can go ahead with the outsourcing and design work.

Have a contingency plan

A contingency plan is a backup plan for a project. Having a contingency plan that helps you identify the risks and mitigate them is essential to ensure your project is streamlined and executed as planned.

Document your milestones

The last step of a project design is documenting your team’s milestones. Every finished task will lead you one step closer to your final objectives. You can use project management software to document milestones effectively. It’s also easier for the stakeholders to know the progress of the project when you keep track of each milestone.


For the successful completion of any project, it’s important that you know its ins and outs, establish a deadline, set objectives, and determine the potential results. The above steps will help you design your project using the best visual aids.

Updated on: 14-Dec-2022


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