Some things are easy group-made decisions. Like what kinds of toppings will go on the pizza. Or, what time the afternoon conference call takes place.

When it comes to making a decision on a design, let’s say – a web design… it’s not a decision to be made by the committee.

Every design project has its stakeholders. The main stakeholder probably created the project’s direction, managed the oversight process, and that person probably has their personal preferences. When taken to the group – new ideas, no matter how wayward they are or idiotic they seem to be, are inevitably introduced. This creates a new, unwanted hurdle to overcome. So, how do we overcome the dreaded perils of the Decision by Committee?

1) Establish that YOU’RE the expert.

After direction is taken, the web design an expression of the moment, crafted with purpose, using a plethora of carefully thought out ideas and elements that are inherently critical to the proper communication of the message at hand.

If you’re the designer: Establish that you’ve got the experience and know-how to execute the project.
If you’re the project manager: Establish that you’ve hired the best designer to execute the design.

2. Define the design objective. (Before, during and after design presentation.)

As key stakeholders in the website design project, nobody should be closer to the design vision than the web designer and the project manager. Execution will naturally progress to fulfill the objective and requirements within the given timeframe.

The biggest disadvantages to decision by committee is that it takes more time than the process of individual decision-making. These group decisions take longer to be finalized because there are so many opinions to be taken into consideration. A committee’s checks and balances (these is good) will weed out ‘bad’ design, but as the design project is presented to the committee – it should fulfill the objective, not delay the final decision.

If you’re the designer: Clearly demonstrate the design as it successfully meets the objective(s) and impose your expertise.
If you’re the project manager: Remind the committee of the design vision, concentrate on the feedback that is only the most relevant to the design objective.

3) Persuade through logic and rationale.

Within the committee, accountability and responsibility are put on the table. This sort of thing happens: the project manager hears split opinions, and compromises need to be made, and the original direction is degraded as the committee nips, pecks at and erodes the website design – which is now a victim of compromise, and the end result is a faded version of the original.

Your design project shouldn’t be a hard sell to your committee constituents. As you debut this design for committee review, your goal is to gain approvals, which will only come after the experts have met the design objectives. Everything should be supported by sound logic and reason, leaving the ONLY debate to be about what kind of champagne gets ordered for the website launch party.

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