One of the joys of working in an agency and across many sectors is the exposure you get to organisations and industries that sit outside of your current experience. This also creates a challenge. How do you gain a deep understanding of a new domain and at speed?

At the start of a project I like to throw myself into the client’s world. I like to dig around and see what I uncover that I find interesting and surprising. The treasure trove of information I amass provides lines of questions to pursue and sparks of ideas to explore. The client immersion checklist is what I use at the outset of a project to help make the unfamiliar more familiar.

Regardless of how much information you consume, it’s always good to remind yourself you’re still the newbie on the scene. The purpose of a deep dive is to have more insightful conversations with your new client, their colleagues and the organisation's customers.

Screenshot of the shared client immersion checklist

Over the years I’ve collected and curated a checklist of information to gather. It’s a mix of places to look and information to ask for. All of which helps to accelerate my understanding of the organisation and how digital and design fit into delivering its strategy.

I use the client immersion checklist as a prompt for what to look for. I can’t think of a project where I’ve ticked everything off the list. It’s a guide to focus your limited time on uncovering and discovering a wide range of stimuli.

What do you look for?

In sharing my approach. I’m interested in yours. What are your go-to sources of information ahead of the project kick-off and discovery period?

If you use the checklist do let me know how you get on and what improvements you’d suggest. You’ll find contact details in the checklist.

The client immersion checklist is free to use and regularly updated.