What You Need to Know Before You Begin Your Next Digital Project

Before you begin your next project, be sure you are prepared. 

When embarking on a new digital project, it may seem like there are a thousand things to worry about. To help you get started on the right foot, we've asked our experienced project managers to share their top tips for a ​smooth, collaborative, pleasant and ultimately successful digital project.

- Digital Experiences
Graphic illustration of what you need to know before you begin your next digital project.

These tried-and-true insider tips will help you streamline and simplify your next digital project. Whether it’s a few quick website updates or a sweeping redesign of your entire digital presence, we know it can be hard to see the forest for the trees.

Align Your Goals

Most projects can be boiled down to three factors: time, scope and budget. We’ve found that in the most successful projects, one of these factors tends to be flexible.  

For example, if your timeline and the budget simply cannot budge, then the scope of the project may need to be scaled down in order to prioritize those two unmovable factors. 

Alternatively, if the timeline and scope of the project can’t be compromised, you’ll probably need to be flexible on the project budget, willing to invest more in the interest of time and quality. 

The goal should be to keep two of these factors as fixed as possible and allow one of them to change as project needs change. Identify which factors are non-negotiable with your internal team ahead of time and be open to discussing this with your agency team.  

Knowing your non-negotiables ahead of time, and sticking to them, can set up you and the project for success.

Know Your Team Members — and Their Roles 

One thing that can majorly disrupt a project’s workflow is bringing in new stakeholders or decision-makers at the eleventh hour.

Maybe the CEO originally said she didn’t need to see the website designs before launch and changed her mind. Or perhaps no one asked the product team to review the content until a few days before the go-live date. 

Before beginning a new digital project for your business, it’s always a good idea to consider:

  • Who in your company needs to be a part of the process? 
  • At what stage should they be brought in? 
  • What are they responsible for in terms of reviewing, offering feedback, and approving designs, content, and assets?

An unexpected bottleneck or a last-minute approval at any stage can make or break a project. 

Get Your Ducks (and Accounts) in a Row 

When we start nearly any digital project, we have a list of accounts we'll need to access, available business assets and anything else the client must provide. Having these documented and ready to go from day one will make everything go smoother.  

This might include (but is not exclusive to):  

  1. Google Analytics: Do you have it implemented on your website, and is it correctly gathering data? Do you have access to GA and the login credentials? If not, do you know who does and how to get in contact with them? 

  1. Assets: Does your organization have brand guidelines for colors, fonts, logos and styling requirements? Do you have your logo and all its variations properly formatted and ready to transfer? Who has access to a company image database/DAM or stock-photo account? 

  1. User Accounts: Are you able to create user accounts on your current site? Do you even have access to your current site? Can we log in using your account or can you make us a special Lightburn account? 

  1. Audience: Compile a list of who your audience is, why they interact with your brand and what they want do on your site. This may change with the new project but it's a solid starting point. (Pro tip: your audience is not “everyone.” Discuss internally and be specific — and realistic.) 

  1. Inspiration: Start thinking about brands, websites, organizations, campaigns (digital or otherwise) and design aesthetics you’ve seen in the wild and why you like them. Note specific, sensory and strategic reasons why it speaks to you. Go beyond “it just feels right” or “I know what I like when I see it.” Our team benefits from knowing you and your company’s tastes. And the project is stronger when we learn what draws you to a specific look, feel or interaction. 

  1. Status Calls: Our project managers will likely set up a weekly or biweekly call to touch base with your team. Depending on the number of stakeholders included on this call, finding a time of day and day of the week might be challenging. Get a sense of what will be best for your teammates who should be on status calls ahead of the project kickoff so we can jump right in.

Be Prepared & Know Your Digital Needs 

Come prepared with company requirements:

  • Do you have international GDPR requirements?  
  • Do you have a specific level of ADA compliance you’re trying to reach? 
  • Any language translations or multi-lingual requirements? HIPPA or other privacy concerns?  

Look into organizational requirements before writing your RFP so that these are clearly defined from the start. Language translations, for example, could significantly affect the project scope and budget — while potentially requiring third-party apps or companies, different CMS licenses, software integrations, APIs, platform subscriptions or other information-architecture needs. 

Of course, if these are items you don't have insight into for your company, we can help you identify these high-level needs and make an action plan for meeting all of them. 

Ask Questions — All the Questions! 

Our kickoff meetings aren't just intended for our team to get to know yours. We're an open book, so ask us anything. 

Be ready with questions and don’t be afraid to push for what you need, big or small. While we are digital experts, we don’t claim to know everything. There are no silly questions — and we believe in no-nonsense answers. 

We consider it imperative (and love) to hear your questions, concerns, apprehensions, hopes and dreams for this project. Along with that, tell us your fears, anxieties and past-project baggage. True partnerships can't be acheived unless both teams are honest and authentic with one another. 


We hope these suggestions help as you begin your next digital project. But don't stress too much if you can't address them all. 

A big part our job as your agency partner is to be the keepers or stewards of the project. We’ll guide your team along the way as we tackle each step, define what success means and figure out how to be successful together.