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To set expectations on what they’ll accomplish together, design teams create project-level principles at the outset of the Design phase. These principles are valuable tools throughout a project’s development, acting as the team’s compass. Project-level principles are tactical and immediate. They reflect an organization’s strategy and mission, perhaps articulated through a set of global design principles*, but in a focused and outcome-oriented way. Design principles help set project intentions, aligning everyone to a shared project direction. These principles are not tactical goals, but are instead a continual reference for the team to guide design direction while integrating participant feedback. In evaluating a project’s success, these principles can be used to track how the project outcomes map to its original intentions. While the majority of design phases attempt to adhere to the design principles articulated at their outsets, this is not always the outcome. Similar to the Discovery phase, if participant feedback indicates that the team’s direction does not serve participant needs, the design phase, including principles, must be refocused and restarted. 

In this guide, we will articulate project-level principles to aid teams in their upcoming design phase. Global design principles are typically used in large-scale complex initiatives. Because they are communicated to wide range of stakeholders to guide collaborations across multiple projects, global design principles can take months, and sometimes even years, of skilled design facilitation to develop. * For a set of design principles applicable to design projects in general, please see the Global Design Principles section in the HCD Design Phase Concept Guide.