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Go at your own pace
8 Sessions / 6 hours of work per session
Included w/ premium membership ($20/month)
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
Administration, Management
Starts Aug 31, 2016

Project Management for Designers

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Enrollment for this course has closed. But you can enroll in a future offering (please select)

Enrollment has closed

Go at your own pace
8 Sessions / 6 hours of work per session
Included w/ premium membership ($20/month)
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
Administration, Management
Course Description

Project Management for Designers is intended for students who would like a broad exposure to the field of Design, with a specific interest in administration and management. This curriculum investigates the practical, business side of design: getting organized and staying on-track through timeline projections, cost estimates and workflow charts in order to ensure success and profitability. Students will study the essential paperwork – estimates, memos, model releases, change orders and contact reports – and will look at contracts and copyright issues, and when to get legal and accounting assistance. Students will also learn the principles of research, and its important role in the work of a designer. From working in a small to mid-size design studio, to more independent roles, students will gain important skills in both understanding the context and needs of designers and the field broadly, and strategies for developing administrative processes that support these practices.

The program is intended for students who already have foundational training in Design, and who are looking to move into a design field in an administrative capacity, or for designers who are interested in gaining valuable management knowledge. On completion of the modules, students will understand the principles of how to make a business work cleanly and efficiently, how to manage yourself and your workflow, and how to ensure client relationships are productive and clear.


This course is in adaptive mode and starts Aug 31, 2016. Learn more about adaptive courses here.

Session 1: Where We Begin
This session will introduce the basics of project management for designers: how it works, and how it can optimize workflow, time management, growth and general sanity. We will discuss both the practice and practical skills of effective project management.
9 lessons
1. Introductions
2. How does Project Management Work?
3. Managing your projects improves workflow (Premium Exclusive)
4. Managing your projects improves your sanity
5. Managing your projects makes your business extensible
6. Why do so few people do it?
7. The practice of managing your projects (Premium Exclusive)
8. The bones of managing your projects
9. What we’ve covered, the brief, the assignment (Premium Exclusive)
Session 2: Before a Project Starts - Part I
This session will focus on how to gather information at the beginning of a project to understand the clients’ needs and create accurate (and inaccurate!) estimates.
9 lessons
1. Before You Start to Work on a Project
2. Questions, Questions, Questions - Part I
3. Questions, Questions, Questions - Part II (Premium Exclusive)
4. The Information NO
5. Tailoring the Questions for Various Work Scenarios
6. The Beginning: Intake Form (or a version thereof) (Premium Exclusive)
7. Estimates/Bids vs. Contracts
8. Estimating on Your Own Behalf
9. Estimate/Bid Samples (Premium Exclusive)
Session 3: Before a Project Starts - Part II
This session will focus on how to create a contract that solidifies an agreement with the client, including expectations, estimates, signing, and how to handle red flags or other situations that may arise.
9 lessons
1. Recap of Intake Form and Estimates
2. Management of Expectations (Premium Exclusive)
3. Estimates Becoming Contracts Part I
4. Estimates Becoming Contracts Part II (Premium Exclusive)
5. A Client Contract
6. When to Say No and When to Say Yes (Premium Exclusive)
7. How to Handle the Approval and Signing of Contracts
8. Discovery Agreements and Contract Addenda
9. Wrapping Up and Moving Forward
Session 4: The Project Begins
This session will focus on how to ensure a project runs smoothly from the beginning, through the use of meetings, timelines, milestones and deadlines, feedback and signoff processes - and how and when to adjust if the timeline changes.
9 lessons
1. Recap
2. Working On a Project - Part I
3. Working On a Project - Part II (Premium Exclusive)
4. Working On a Project - Part III (Premium Exclusive)
5. Negotiating Client Feedback and Signoff During Projects
6. The Handling of Deadlines During Projects (Premium Exclusive)
7. Changing the Timeline - If You Need To
8. Changing the Timeline - If the Client Does It
9. Recap & Assignment
Session 5: Client Relations: Pitfalls & Best Practices
This session gets into the nitty-gritty of working with a client: how to handle comps, work with difficult clients, listen effectively, follow up, and move a project forward. Also, Scope Creep! What is it, and how to work with it.
9 lessons
1. Why You’ve Done Everything You’ve Done So Far—How It Works in Practice
2. How to Handle Comps, In Any Form
3. The 25 Worst Things Clients Have Ever Said in Meetings (Premium Exclusive)
4. How To Listen In a Presentation
5. How To Follow Up Every Meeting
6. How To Handle a Client In Crisis (Premium Exclusive)
7. The Theory of Gases—How to Handle a Client That Can’t Make Up Their Mind
8. How To Be The Engine That Moves a Project Forward
9. Scope Creep (Premium Exclusive)
Session 6: Self-Management
This session will introduce tools and strategies for self-management. We will look at how to manage more than one project at a time while staying sane, keeping clients happy and never missing a deadline through effective time management, communication and billing.
10 lessons
1. Recap & Intro to Self-Management
2. Making Clients Feel Like They’re Your Only Client (Premium Exclusive)
3. How To Map Out Your Work Week
4. How To Map Out Your Day
5. How to Not Miss a Deadline, Ever (Premium Exclusive)
6. Keeping Track of Your Time
7. Check-Ins On Large Pieces of Work Within a Project
8. A Glimpse of Working With a Project Manager Who Isn’t You
9. Sending up a Flare
10. Billing (Premium Exclusive)
Session 7: Bringing a Project to Launch
This session will look at how to bring a project towards successful completion. We’ll learn how to avoid issues before they arise through the use of milestone checks, quality assurance and beta testing, and how to handle issues such as client bottlenecks, project changes, and our own mistakes.
9 lessons
1. Working with a project making its way towards completion
2. Milestone checks
3. Client bottlenecks
4. Sudden Client-Driven Deadline or Project Changes and Scope Creep (Premium Exclusive)
5. The importance of QA
6. Soft Launches/Beta Testing/Printer Proofs (Premium Exclusive)
7. What stupid mistakes do
8. Owning your own mistakes
9. Discussion of all forms of QA again, drive home the point, assignment
Session 8: Wrapping Up
This session will cover essential steps for ending a project well. We’ll learn how to launch the project, handle post-launch issues and press, how (and why) to do a postmortem, arrange final payment, keep the door open for future work, manage any upgrades, changes, retainer agreements or nasty surprises, and wrap up!
7 lessons
1. Launching, going on press, releasing to the wild
2. How to handle post-launch issues/press issues
3. Keeping the door open for future work and final payments
4. Postmortems (Premium Exclusive)
5. Retainer Agreements
6. Upgrades and Changes - Managing Ongoing Expectations
7. What we’ve learned, course outro
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Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Instructors And Guests
What You Need to Take This Course
  • Materials: a sharp mind and a notebook or other device for note taking.
  • Equipment: access to a computer and internet connection.
  • Software: word processing software, or a facsimile thereof.
Additional Information

Please note: Taking part in a Kadenze course as a Premium Member, does not affirm that the student has been enrolled or accepted for enrollment by Emily Carr University of Art and Design. 

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  • Be Polite. Show your fellow students courtesy. No one wants to feel attacked - ever. For this reason, insults, condescension, or abuse will not be tolerated.

  • Show Respect. Kadenze is a global community. Our students are from many different cultures and backgrounds. Please be patient, kind, and open-minded when discussing topics such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other potentially controversial subjects.

  • Post Appropriate Content. We believe that expression is a human right and we would never censor our students. With that in mind, please be sensitive of what you post in a Peer Assessment. Only post content where and when it is appropriate to do so.

Please understand that posts which violate this Code of Conduct harm our community and may be deleted or made invisible to other students by course moderators. Students who repeatedly break these rules may be removed from the course and/or may lose access to Kadenze.

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