Problem: You have a process that varies widely, depending on what the project entails (i.e. a 100-page website vs. a Facebook Page). However, when you propose a solution to a client, you still do not have the hours required per task fully detailed.

Solution: A clear hierarchy of your process. A discrete but non-sequential list of steps that adjust based on what the client agrees to pay for, and what is deemed appropriate for the project. A task tree!

Example task tree for a website user experience design process.

First, the user creates a task tree with all of the possible steps in a particular project. Here, that project is a website design.

Now that the tree is created, the project manager or designer can pick elements (or “leaves,” if you want to continue the metaphor) from it and complete a project scheme.

An example task tree with elements selected and a list of suggested deliverables outlined.

The selected tasks are highlighted, and a list of suggested deliverables is created. From here, the amount of hours required for the project could be estimated.

It’s not robust, and it’s definitely a very rough concept. But the simplicity of being able to just pick and choose tasks from a complete and transparent selection and have a solid list of required project deliverables propagate… now that would be useful.

This could even be morphed into an application. Once a user selects all of the steps in the process, the system could auto-build a document template, from which the project team could complete and deliver to the client.