Project Canvas

What's a project canvas? 

Being able to concisely articulate the purposeaudiencevision and goals of a project is crucial. Yet it's harder than it sounds. Other well-known canvasses can feel too large and grandiose, or far too granular. This project canvas — like Goldilocks' porridge — is just right. It provides key information that is summative, visible and, crucially, relational. Through open dialogue and collaboration, the canvas helps to create a shared understanding around the brief and goals of the project, aligns the entire team, exposes unknowns and assumptions and provides a strategic purpose to the project at hand.

When should I use it?

A project canvas is a great kick-off exercise, as a collaborative and remote workshop. The canvas highlights and makes visible the relationships, dependencies and intentions that are often intangible or muddy at the start of many projects.  However the canvas shouldn't be used once and thrown away. Using a Miro board makes it revisitable at any time. Ideally the canvas should be updated as and when needed, with new project intel, stakeholders or if the scope changes.

Sounds good. So how do I start?

There is no linear method for using the project canvas. It is laid out in three separate altitudes that provide varying levels of strategic detail, and four pillars that address the purpose, audience, vision and goals for your project. You might want to start with the 'known knowns' such as the audience, stakeholders and team. Or you might want to start large and uncover the proposition and vision. It's entirely up to you.

Whichever way you approach the canvas, the key is to involve the widest team possible. Get your team and stakeholders involved. Uncover and unpack assumptions. Create alignment and reduce opacity. The key here is to provide transparency and a shared understanding; a summative, high-level view of your project at hand. It will show the meaning and intentions behind the project, which provides the bedrock for a successful outcome.

To learn more visit Canvassing a project on the Clearleft blog.

Strategic Design Studio
Clearleft is a world-class team of designers, thinkers and makers. We’ve made it our goal to advance the field of design through our writing, conferences and the quality of our work. This is why we’ve gained a reputation as one of the most experienced UX & design consultancies working today.
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