Unlike traditional project management, creative project management is for the purpose of producing artistic content. Here, you mostly work with a creative team such as art directors, copywriters, and designers rather than engineers, software developers, and others.
If you’re a creative project manager, you’ll organize and plan your project timelines, budgets, and the scope of work to be done. You act as the link between your creative team and your client to come up with expectations and project objectives. You'll also monitor the progress, making sure everything’s going to plan. Sure, you can utilize a project management app, but the skills of a successful project manager extend beyond that.
Here are the characteristics of a creative project manager:
Picking the right software, spreadsheets, and templates for your project can be tough, but it’s vital that you get it right at the start. If you pick the wrong template or implement the wrong system, you might end up having to start from scratch, wasting valuable time your project team could be using elsewhere. There are a lot of options available to you. One of the more popular ways to track a project is by using an excel kanban template that allows you to keep up with what’s going on. You might have developed your own project management template or spreadsheet but finding something that everyone understands is important, especially if they’re new to the team. Before diving into creative project management it’s vital that you set the tone and ensure everyone is upskilled on modern project management uses like kanban boards, agile, etc. Once you’re all happy with the basics, you can get creative.
The focus of every creative project manager is to lead a successful project. This, in turn, makes them sought-after by clients. In this article, you’ll learn important tips for successful project management.
Many people usually see creative teams as hard to work with. This is because of their desire to have their ideas be captured and not be boxed with their innovations. However, the truth is each one of them is investing in their fair share of conceptualization.
It's believed the way you can foster collaboration within a creative team is to integrate cooperation in the natural flow of the project. This majorly hinges on your capacity to have a great workflow as a project manager.
You can improve creative collaboration by the use of online proofing software. This central tool makes your efforts simple with easy feedback. It's more efficient than the use of printouts, email, and hallway dialogues. You can store project files and specs in a central point for easy access by your team. Where collaboration is at its best, responsibilities aren’t seen as mere burdens but as duties that can be done delightfully.
Steering a project successfully may require you to be aware of your creative team’s personal needs. The moment they realize you care about them, they'll feel valued and they’ll offer their best efforts. Even if they're experiencing personal struggles, be there to give them the moral support they need. This may help them gain focus rather than distracting themselves with worry.
Creativity will flow naturally with peaceful hearts. Be approachable and listen to your team's concerns. You’re dealing with real lives alongside dealing with the project deliverables. You should go ahead and know the personality traits of your team. What brings life in them and how can you create the right environment for them to thrive?
Similar to other project management endeavors, you need the mastery of good communication skills. Remember, as a project manager, you’re the connector between your team and the client. A project will go through numerous changes before it’s finally complete. Thus, you need to communicate the client’s needs to your team, which significantly helps in the success of the project.
You can make use of workflow management software to help you update the project schedules in real-time. Thereby ensuring each member of the team is up-to-date with the progress. With this, you can connect with different parties and allocate individual duties to designers, writers, and creative directors. While benefiting from a good flow of the project work, you save yourself from the burnout of administrative work.
Some of the clients you may work with may give you undue pressure with their timelines. It's good to ensure your clients are happy. But accepting an unachievable deadline will derail the success of the project. You'll find yourself transferring this pressure to your team with no time to relax and be with their families. Your creative team may need to brainstorm ideas and sketch designs, so a strict time may prove to be counterproductive.
As the one who knows the best time frame for the project, talk to the client about why you need a flexible deadline. In case they still need the project within that time, be realistic. Let them know what you can deliver so they don’t cause havoc later.
You need to set the creative project’s goal so work can flow and avoid becoming chaotic. Good creative minds set boundaries within which to operate, adding depth to each individual’s work and making use of all possibilities within the constraints.
However, there are times you may be working on an open-ended creative project where anything goes. Nevertheless, having a flexible boundary may help establish the foundation of the project.
Communicate your expectations at the onset of the project. This ensures your designers, writers, and other creative team members won’t have to lose their time editing their work because of misunderstanding. Or due to miscommunication, and changing expectations as the project progresses.
As the project manager, you’ll be liable for such turn of events for working with assumptions and failing to ask critical questions for the project delivery. Ensure you get every critical information and be attentive to the client's remarks, requests, and others.
To ensure your team is as creative and innovative as possible, you have to create an environment fostering teamwork and encouraging collective problem-solving. To facilitate creativity, you may use several strategies such as solo work, mood boards, storyboarding, and idea-sharing. In those work environments, be mindful of the colors and good natural light as they can influence the mood of your team.
The success or failure of a creative project majorly lies on the shoulders of the project manager. Creative project management requires the use of the above tips, so you may deliver your project in time. Establish good collaboration, don’t forget to be empathetic, create the right space for innovation and creativity, and concisely communicate the project expectations. Consider the ideas here as you spearhead your organization’s endeavors.