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The Types of Design Meetings


Certain phrases, when uttered into the void of a Calendar invitation, have very specific meanings to designers.

For example, if you wake a lead designer up for a 9am Design Review, our expectation is that we’ll be leading a call where the work to date is packaged up and presented to directors, VPs, or even a sponsoring executive. It isn’t a phrase that you should use lightly when summoning a creative.

Product Owners, Product Managers, Scrum Masters, and others of the ilk: are you unsure what to call a meeting or whether you should be the one to schedule it? This handy list should help you decide what type of meeting you need to call or schedule in order to get the best communication out of a creative team.

Intake
Introduce the new project, requirements, and expected delivery window to team leads

Unpack
After the design lead(s) process the intake it is unpacked to the creative team in an actionable way, typically using a creative brief. This will include a summary of the intake alongside research findings and a design challenge articulation.

Alignment
An expanded version of the processed intake will be placed into a project brief. The goal is for the lead designer to restate and reframe the intake in an actionable way that everyone can agree on while setting expectations for what will be delivered. Once the agreement is made any shifts in the strategy will affect the delivery timeline.

Ideation
This is a creative call where we brainstorm potential solutions to a design challenge.

Checkpoint
A meeting to inform team members and stakeholders regarding the status of the design project

Review
This word triggers alarm bells for any designer. It is a critically important meeting where we present our work, defend our decisions, then agree to additional research spikes or change orders. A review call can include core stakeholders or a full stakeholder review. This is a sign-off meeting if no changes are requested. Changes beyond this point may have a significant impact on the delivery timeline.

Developer Checkpoint
A specific version of the regular checkpoint where we meet with the lead developer(s) to ensure the solutions we are pursuing are feasible under our current technology stack and timeline

Developer Handoff
We hand the design off to the dev team for production. After this point any changes unrelated to content or graphical assets may impact the delivery timeline

Fidelity Checkpoint
A follow-up version of the developer checkpoint meetings where the lead designer(s) and developer(s) ensure the product being delivered matches the one that was designed. Gaps are addressed. Compromise is a common outcome.

Stakeholder Presentation
The completed work is formally presented to the entire stakeholder group

Pre-flight check
A final look at the complete product ahead of launch

Retrospective
An internal meeting to review the design process and establish next steps, if they exist

Congratulations! You’ve been empowered with a knowledge of what certain words and phrases mean to designers. Use that power well and stop calling 7am “design review” meetings when Asia Pacific isn’t on the line and you actually meant “pre-flight check.”

We still love you, product owners/managers!

At the time of this publication, I am the Lead Designer for Dell Technologies Digital Events team. I learned HTML in 1997 and built my first commercial web experience in 1999. Professional designers and entrepreneurs can connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Unless you are a designer, executive, writer, or founder; please leave a note when connecting on LinkedIn or I may not add you.


The Types of Design Meetings was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.