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Set Goals on a Timeline


Achieve your studio vision by creating tangible goals for studio and putting them on a timeline.  Mapping out a studio timeline aligns your goals with your vision and lets leads know what they should do to help your studio reach your vision. Schedule events from before the project kickoff to after the final expo to have a clear picture of your term and keep track of your progress each week!

Output : A one-year timeline with specific goals and assigned roles for each term.

Effective ways to do set goals on a timeline:

  1. Download this Studio Timeline one-pagers on sample studio timelines and tips on creating them! A good studio timeline includes:
    • Recruitment plans and project scoping plans
    • Kickoff where you welcome members, introduce hcd, and kickoff projects
    • Milestones of DFA process to guide project teams
    • 2+ Critiques, usually a midterm and end of term
    • Studio reflection session at midterm
    • Final review, expo, or presentations to celebrate impact
    • Reflection at the end of term and discussion of next steps for projects
    • Feedback plan to incorporate as you evaluate your term and plan next term
  2. Select the right project timeline for your studio. Check out the one-pager for detailed information on each project timelines.
    • Sprint projects: 6 - 8 week projects that rapidly move through all steps of the process.
    • One-term projects: One-term projects where teams dive into the design process and make prototypes rapidly.
    • Year-long projects: Projects with a year-long timeline where teams go through the design process to develop their design solution in the 1st term, and iterate solutions, build relationships, and refine an implementation approach in the 2nd term.
  3. Turn your vision into achievable annual and term goals.
    • How do these annual goals tie back to the larger picture of achieving local, social impact?
      • Check back on “Set Studio Vision” for conversations on what your studio would like to achieve this term.
    • How will you know that you have achieved the goal? Check out “Define measures of success” for examples on short-term and mid-term measures of success!
  4. Make a studio timeline by putting your milestones and tentative dates on them.
    • Set milestones for the studio and the projects. When should you finalize teams and kick off projects? When should they build and test their concepts? When should your studio hold a crit to provide helpful feedback for teams? Set tentative dates on them!
  5. Make sure your leads know their goals, tasks, and resources.
    • Your studio will need resources and manpower to achieve your goals! Assign responsibilities to your leaders and make sure they have the support they need to achieve their goals!
    • Check out “Set leadership structure & roles” for tips on setting up leadership structure and roles where you clarify responsibilities, keep each other accountable, and reduce the workload of everyone to make leading DFA rewarding and fun!
  6. Review the studio timeline with a mentor. Here are some questions to ask your mentor:
    • Is the plan feasible based on their experiences?
    • What resources can help you reach your goals, and how could your mentor help you find them?
    • Are there any important campus events or competitions that we should note? What are their deadlines?
  7. Finalize your timeline and share with your studio and network!
    • Share your timeline with your studio members and project teams! This will come in handy especially when you kick off your projects. Know that the timelines can adjust when integrating with the team’s project timelines.
    • Check out “Paint a picture” to turn your visions and goals into an engaging story to get everyone excited about your plans! 

Network Best Practices

Check out DFA Northwestern’s quarter-long timeline from Fall 2015

At DFA Northwestern, project teams are a quarter-long commitment but with a strong possibility of continuing. Within a quarter, the teams go through the Identify to Test stages of the DFA process. Securing users and setting visit dates before the start of the quarter allow teams to Reframe early enough to Build and Test their concepts. By the end of the quarter, teams present their concepts and prototypes at a Design Expo. Then, because teams have gone through one round of testing and iteration, they are encouraged to continue into a second quarter to foster relationships, continue prototyping, and ultimately reach their users! Check out their Fall 2014 Timeline here.