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This post was originally published on Draper's blog site.

Project management probably doesn’t get top billing when it comes to custom solutions. Yet it’s just as important as the design and production processes in making Draper’s custom solutions efforts a success.

Because custom projects can involve several key stakeholders and extended timelines, providing these solutions requires outstanding project management. And a key to successful project management is setting expectations early and managing them effectively.

There are several ways Draper accomplishes this:

We get involved early.
Being there at the beginning helps us better understand a client’s needs. It also gives us a more complete picture of the project with the client’s key objectives and any pain points that might develop throughout the timeline.

We are creative, but realistic.
The cool part of custom solutions is the ability to dream an idea into existence. Draper encourages thinking creatively about custom solutions, but also recognizes there are realities to be considered. Budget, time, and physical/structural requirements can put restraints on how something can be accomplished.

We put together the right team.
It’s hard getting and keeping everyone on the same page. So, we create a project team that includes not only the necessary technical support on our end, but also major stakeholders in the project.

We communicate.
Once we have our team in place, our project managers keep everyone in the loop with the appropriate level of information required. We communicate roles and responsibilities, schedule regular status updates and meetings, and keep team members apprised of progress. If there are road bumps ahead, we identify them and work out ways to minimize their impact.

We develop a clear project scope.
Nothing creates more chaos on a project than scope creep. From the very beginning of our involvement, we outline the project goals and make accomplishing them our focus. Sometimes circumstances necessitate big changes in a project. When that happens, we re-evaluate and either edit our plans and the timeline or create new ones.

Many skills work together in successfully developing custom solutions specific to customers’ needs. Ingenuity, technical knowledge, agile engineering and manufacturing capabilities, and acute attention to detail are all important. However, it’s Draper’s project management team that makes the real difference.

The post Setting and Managing Expectations appeared first on Draper, Inc Blog Site.