Novice Project Manager - Design

A small introduction. We had a need to make a website. And not just a business card, but an online store with a non-standard ordering system. More precisely - to redo the existing one, but since the existing one in terms of security and ease of administration (as well as design and quality of the Verska) was no good, it was necessary to do it again.
After talking with a number of programmers (I myself am one), we realized that CMS (even a modified one) does not suit us, the self-written code - it disappears for a number of reasons (there is no security guarantee first of all), we need a website on the framework.
Why didn’t you turn to the ready-made team for the site, where there is a manager and trusted employees?

At first, already had experience working on freelance exchanges, experience 2 years, an employer account with 20+ reviews ... everything seemed real, given that I myself can make up (though something quite simple), install it on a hosting - in a word, I have basic knowledge and experience with specialists.

Secondly - I wanted to try myself in a new position, this is career and personal growth ... but what it sounds like - a “project manager”!

Thirdly , honestly, I wanted to save. The project budget was about $ 2500 (+ -), and an assumption arose, which then seemed obvious - why pay more if it’s better if we hire not just a good designer, but a very good designer ...? This also applied to other project participants.
Everything turned out to be not so obvious at the audit, but there appeared basic principles that I would like to set forth in the article, as well as to get additions - perhaps the one who was or is the project manager also had them - in this way the collective mind forms an interesting topic and, perhaps discussions in which truth is known to be born.

Everything written is a personal opinion, be sure to consider this.

Qualities required by the project manager

1) Stress resistance.
It may happen that at the most crucial moment the performer disappears. The designer will make not a layout, but something completely unsuitable, although they seemed to explain everything to him / her, and alterations will not work. It may happen that the deadlines are out, the customer will be justly unhappy. Or very dissatisfied. It may happen that you have to pay performers for a number of reasons out of your pocket. There may be a fire, flood, the server with your unfinished site will burn. Be prepared for stress, this is inevitable. Cheaper for your nerves to hire a manager or contact the development team, but since I called myself a load ...

2) General literacy and well-read.
The ability to write correctly will save a lot of time, the ability to communicate competently will allow you to establish communication with people. After all, the customer and, say, the programmer are often very different people. Everyone needs to explain something, employees need to motivate ... it is always pleasant to communicate with a competent and well-read person, this will give you extra points in front of the customer and specialists.

3) Technical literacy.
Of course, it’s good if you are a programmer. But this is a topic for a separate discussion - even people who write books on management did not come to an unequivocal opinion on this issue.
But if you are not a programmer, then you should understand in general terms what the program code is and how it works. The more knowledge of this kind, the better. And it is more pleasant for the programmer to communicate with an interested and broadly representative person, than with the “oak” in general.
Read, find out - the mass of literature.
It’s good if you yourself can do something from what your team has to do.
Although, for example, it’s hard for me to imagine a project manager who is not technically versed at all.
“At worst” - you need to understand at least design or usability, only professionally.
You need to understand what the customer wants. And bring it to the designer. Because in 90% of cases the designer gave out “not at all” - the manager is to blame. Even the fact that he misunderstood the customer and found the wrong designer.


Spend not 2-3 hours, but even 2-3 days of your time to compose a good technical description, with pictures, with a detailed description of what happens when you click on such and such. It is desirable that the main essence is reflected graphically + explanations. This tk, as practice shows, is most optimal. There should be a site prototype in the statement of work, this is a general statement of work, which is then broken into parts for the designer, layout designer, and programmer.
The site prototype is made by an interface specialist. If you yourself can not draw a prototype site, then be sure to hire it. In addition, there will be an additional bonus in the form of good usability). Although, if this is a business card site, for example, you can also take on the role of the prototype creator yourself by spending time on this. The main thing is that the site prototype be agreed with the customer.
Customers generally do not like to be bothered by nothing, but this is one of the key points. Because alteration of any elements on the finished site is that same gimmick.
The first thing is to reformulate your big TK into a TK for the designer. There should be a minimum, very briefly, in a simple language of an ordinary person, the site’s functionality is described - and a maximum is given to designer gadgets, details, colors, as well as small details.


There are not so many designers on freelance exchanges, but a lot.
Here you need to clearly know the budget and imagine what level of design you get for it.
A very good website design starts at $ 1,000. About.
There is a segment of 15,000 rubles. - 20,000 rubles. If the customer is not picky and a simple design suits him, then here you can also find good specialists, but with a greater share of risk, of course.
Cheaper to look is not even worth it. The project should not turn into a lottery in any way, but here it is either a novice good designer (a lucky ticket - 1 out of 100) - he will quickly leave for another segment, or they will draw UG, but the designer needs an advance payment. Think about it and in no case try to save.
Be sure to check with the customer what style of sites he likes. It will be difficult to answer him in most cases on the go, so prepare yourself in advance and show examples of sites. As many examples as possible.
So, we have conditionally decided on the budget and move on. Dozens will answer your application “Site Design”, and quite quickly. How to choose someone among them? ..
It would be nice, by the way, to formulate a request “Website design in such-and-such style” or somehow describe it, you can also name the budget (although here, I’m probably interested in the opinions of readers, what’s and what is the best way to write in the application?).
View portfolio. If you do not like at least some site - go to the next portfolio. Thus, part of you is eliminated, the rest will be eliminated further.

1.Take a look at your favorite portfolio. For example, I have such a mistake - as it turned out, it can be fatal - to pay special attention to the sites in the portfolio that I like, and not to particularly focus on those that are "not very".
It is for the latter that you should take a closer look and ask yourself the question - “What if my site is like that”? As practice shows, in a portfolio a designer hangs out the best works. That is, it is highly likely that your site will resemble the site that is "not very" in terms of overall performance. Here, approach the work critically. Tolerance will be needed when he sends you the first layout. And it may be necessary, perhaps, to convey this tolerance to the customer. At your designer all sites should be pleasant and suitable. Everything.

2.Thus we eliminated another part of the designers.
Now we look at the following topic: do the designer’s sites reflect the site’s theme? That is, is it possible to understand the site of what it is by looking at the picture? And it’s easy to check yourself - look, make an assumption about what the site is about - read the name (follow the link). A very important point.

3. Probably, again someone dropped out.
Now we look at your TK for the designer. What do you need?
If you need a beautiful background in the form of a picture, we look which of the designers makes the background in the form of a picture. If you need beautiful icons, we look at whose sites it is especially beautiful on. If you need a design on a white background - look at who has good designs on a white background. This seems obvious, but the moment must not be missed, scrupulousness is needed here.

4.Now, having selected several candidates, we read reviews. We immediately note those who have mentioned in the reviews more than once the long deadlines of the project, plus for themselves those whom users praise for punctuality. If there are no reviews at all ... or there are few of them ... then my ho is not to risk it. Because along with a novice designer (who may not be able to get a good design for this project), it may be a fraudster who does not give his work as his own. I didn’t want to talk badly about people, but on exchanges it happens.
It’s verified that it’s better to work with experienced designers, and again - do not save ... because it is likely to pay twice, or even three times.

5. We send our technical specifications for the designer to the candidates we like.
Choosing a candidate is normal plus or minus a day. Some good designers work at night, some answer in the morning, they need to read everything, and you need time to think ...

6. It would be nice if you could show the designer’s work to the customer.

In TK for the designer it is worth showing examples of sites. As much as possible, each phrase should be supported by examples.
Example: we like it when there is a color transition on the site and a background like this is a link.
Example 2: we need very good clear, beautiful buttons like this - link.
The fact is that in the concept of the designer “beautiful buttons” and in yours can be completely different. It is desirable that there are several examples of each statement.

Thus, for example, I managed to find a good designer, the collaboration with which was (and maybe still will be) pleasant and fruitful.
And how do you look for a good designer on freelance exchanges?

To be continued - layouts need to be made up.

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