With a new year come new projects, and good or bad, what happened last year is done. It’s time to look forward, learn from the past, and make good choices.

There’s much to consider when assigning a project to an outside group or inviting in support for your internal team. What’s their experience? Have they done something like this before? How about their capabilities and their capacity? These are important questions, but not the only questions to evaluate.

When we dig a little deeper, there are other considerations that should not be forgotten. Here’s our list of the five most critical questions to answer when considering an ID firm:

       1. Know yourself.

What capacity and resources do you have in-house? How much time do you have to impact the project?

       2. Know your project.

What are the performance demands? Environmental requirements? Who is the market for this product?

       3. Know what you need.

What are you looking for in a firm? What are the firm’s capabilities.

        4. Know the firm’s experience.

What projects has the firm brought to market that have similar characteristics to your project?

         5. Know whom you can talk to.

How accessible are the key team members?

         6. Know your budget.

How do you evaluate pricing that’s often all over the board? Estimating product development is challenging, essentially trying to quantify R&D, an activity that is famous for going over budget.

With these six questions answered, you can draft a project brief and make a good choice in who will support the development of your next product.