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We're a team of around 4 UI Developers, 1 Designer and 2 UX. We work on a series of ongoing projects and every month or so, we start a new small project from scratch. All projects are owned by the company we work for.

Up until now, when a new project started, the UX and Design team started almost from scratch. There are no standards regarding typography, font sizes, margins, paddings, button colors and so on.

There is no brand consistency between our projects right now. We can't allocate time to start a "branding" project. What we can do is decide on standards as we go.

My question is, what is the best way you can think of to start organizing the team to slowly adopt design standards? Where and how would you share it and make sure the team knows about it. What would you include in the standard?

The time frame would be 2~3 weeks while working on other projects. Higher management does not consider this a priority.

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Vlad, I edited the title and a few words in the question to help get more directly relevant answers from the community. Let me know if I'm off the mark. –  Mark Phillips Nov 15 '12 at 22:25
    
Thanks Mark, the title is quite clear now. :D –  Vlad Nicula Nov 16 '12 at 2:25
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Maybe asking for the UX guys could bring up some great ideas as well... ux.stackexchange.com –  Tiago Cardoso Nov 17 '12 at 3:20
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Either way, just to be clear, I consider this question on-topic for PMSE seeing it from a point of view of 'how to apply standards in a project' (regardless of what standards). –  Tiago Cardoso Nov 17 '12 at 3:22
    
You have a point Tiago. I updated the question on ux.stack ux.stackexchange.com/questions/29242/…. –  Vlad Nicula Nov 17 '12 at 17:31
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are really two ways to handle this. One is more intentional than the other.

And a bigger reason for it that might get mgmt behind it.

The first is do a "lessons learned" after each project. What went right, what went wrong, what could we do better, what new risks did we identify, etc. During this time one of the things you can review is the idea of 'standards'. What did we need to decide on? Have we had this same discussion before? Did we come up with the same solution? Did we use something again that we already knew about. Use this time to codify the standards.

The other approach is to find some time to go back and review previous projects for those common themes, those things that you keep asking, and what the answers are. You'll develop the standards out of the common tings you keep finding.

Lastly, mgmt (2 arguments) -

  1. re-inventing the wheel cost money each time you do it. So it's in the company's best interests to develop these standards to save time and money on all future projects. For each project you bid, you'll be able to eliminate the amount of time spent defining these items. That translates into either more profit, or a lower bid (which secures more work). Position it as a short-term cost for much longer-term gains.

  2. The most accurate type of estimating comes from historical data. Historical data only comes from a thorough review of past projects, and finding the 'standard' way things were done and what it cost. So taking the time to find and develop these standards wont only improve your bids and eliminate cost, it will make your bids that much more accurate. That helps with both work in progress, and cash projections.

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I really like the idea of "lessons learned". It's brilliant. Thanks! –  Vlad Nicula Nov 16 '12 at 2:27
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