UX on the Job — Documenting your Client Projects

Project documentation is paramount as it can be the basis for the current state and future state analyses. But how do we get there?

KC Shiroma
May 13, 2019 · 4 min read

It started with a comment

I summarized my Q1 UX Review’s three key points on my LinkedIn account. See top 3 insights below:

  1. Ensuring that everyone is informed is key to any project. Make sure you have a way to document your projects.
  2. Streamlined processes breed consistency in your project delivery. Do not underestimate the impact of inconsistent processes and work outputs on your organization.
  3. Ask objective-based questions to understand your users and their contexts better.

Within an hour of posting this I received a comment from asking me:

“How did you end up documenting? What medium? Thanks!”

I had to explain that it depends on the clients I’ve worked with. It was here where it dawned to me that with the intention of documenting everything related to the UX project, we end up forgetting to make it easy to see what you and your clients need to find. We forget to “UX” ourselves.

“It dawned to me that with the intention of documenting everything related to the UX project, we end up forgetting to make it easy…”

Some clients will expect you to work within their current processes and programs(Slack + GDrive, Workplace, BaseCamp, Jira). While others will set-up a Viber group and post announcements there. There’s a method in the madness once you establish what the channels are for.

Project documentation is paramount as it can be the basis for the current state and future state analyses. People need to know where to find what they need to know and as a UX Manager, you can do this by ensuring two things:

#1 Document Projects by Creating Detailed Alignment Email/s with Call Recording Time Stamps

I’ve had some clients who record the entire meeting via Zoom or Skype recordings because they have off-shore team leads. This video recording also gets forwarded to us.

But the thing is, Who has 1–1.5 hours to spare looking through footage of someone they don’t know? Who would listen attentively?

This is where time stamps come in handy. If you were part of that meeting you can approximate at which part you discussed key things, find the timestamps and then include that in your alignment email. This makes it easier for them to get updated without taking so much of their time.

These conversations are client interactions have to be saved and documented for future reference. This makes it easier for both the client and I to recall the discussion. This can be done through a simple email:

“Hi team!

Thanks for the meeting. We’ve summarized the 1.5 hours into these ___ points. For reference, refer to time stamps beside each key point.”

I have a more detailed example for you in the image below.

Disclaimer: This is a mock email based on the ones I usually send. Note that ALL details, email, and deadlines are fictional.

I shared that the frequent way of documenting in my case is influenced by who I work with. My second tip on documenting UX projects rely on understanding the different platforms that work best for the people involved in the project. You have to understand that sometimes the platforms or tools you use — no matter how “cool” — may not be something your clients would like to adapt. That said, you must:

#2 Understand the Context and Tools that Work Best for the Project and the People involved in that project.

That said, regardless of how “cool” your tools are, do not force your tools to a client. Especially when they have their own processes and tools in place, they will most likely refuse. Be strategic with how you spend your time. Be flexible.

Recently, most my clients have been financial institutions so strict firewall restrict us to email as our primary way of documenting.As a way to ensure we get to coordinate and send information, we decided on 3 channels to communicate and document which you can refer to below.

Distinct and defined communication channels would help you in the long-run. Having a well-organized and well-categorized folders and files in your cloud will also.
  1. ALIGNMENT EMAILS — We send alignment emails summarizing meetings whenever important decisions related to the project are made. This is a standard practice that’s a better alternative to meeting transcriptions.
  2. ONE MAIN MESSAGING APP — We decided on having only one main messaging app for quick discussions. We chose to use the app that they were all using because it was the only one their firewall allowed.
  3. ONE MAIN CLOUD SHARING PLATFORM — Lastly, we made sure to have a well organized Google Drive for file sharing and documenting everything related to the project. (Each stage is a folder.)

It’s most likely that your organization may use a different platform or a different tool but what’s key about documenting UX projects is that you document consistently and ensure that qualitative (what are the causes of delay) aspects are highlighted just as much as your quantitative (percentage achieved, jobs to be done, etc.).

More importantly, if you’re working with a client, it’s important to be flexible and understand your client’s processes before you insist on your own.

Hope this helps! :)

Best of luck with your projects!

Thank you for reading!

If you liked the article, please leave a clap 👏🏼(you can clap more than once, by the way!). You can go ahead and share it with people who’d be interested. 😁 If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email at ux.kazumi@gmail.com ✉️

If this is your first time to read one of my stories — Why, Hello! 👋🏼 I’m KC, I’m a UX Consultant and I write about my experiences and learnings from the UX industry each quarter.

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