A Brief Guide to Managing Creative Projects (+ Checklist)
Managing a creative project is an exciting but challenging task. As you lead your team to achieve your collective goal, you will get to witness their amazing talents and create something from nothing. You will learn the endless limitations of your fellow employees’ imaginations and how they can be combined to benefit you in your professional field.
As a creative project manager, you have the opportunity to lead your team to success so your company will stand out among your competition, and you will gain a positive reputation for further business growth. Leading creatives can be a challenge, but it’s possible and gratifying if done right. Thus, stay tuned as we discuss which steps it’s vital to undertake when managing creative projects and collaborating with your team towards the shared performance goals.
How to Manage Creative Projects
1. Drive the process
As the creative project manager, you need to keep your project moving forward so all deadlines are met, and you have a completed quality product by the final submission date. Creative project processes are similar to regular projects but require extra discipline as it’s easier for artistic workers to lose track of time when developing ideas for their creations. They may also get carried away and end up leading their creative process in the wrong direction, causing the need to revise their work and pause the project until it’s redone.
2. Encourage creativity
The creative project manager must, of course, promote your team’s creativity as you endeavor on this project together. You’ll want them to develop original content or products that will be unlike anything in your competitive market.
An effective creative project manager should have some imaginative capacity themselves. That way, you can guide your team with brainstorming considering their talents and creative skills. Your team will appreciate having room for creative freedom. They’ll respect you for allowing them to do what they do best with input to help them grow as artists.
By encouraging creativity on your team, you may find innovative ways to complete your project and shape a groundbreaking finished product that will bring positive attention to your business.
3. Maintain effective communication
As mentioned above, you will be the major point of contact between team members, clients, and upper management during your creative project. That’s why you need to be an effective communicator who knows the right questions to ask, information to offer, and feedback style.
It helps to speak with all parties positively, so every conversation is productive. This is especially important when you need revisions or to reconsider your creative project member’s work. Artists can be sensitive because their work is both challenging and personal.
So, whenever you find that they may be missing the project’s overall goal or there are flaws in their execution, you need to approach the conversation with sensitivity and empathy. By showing your respect for their hard work and offering useful, constructive feedback for their improvement, the creative will be more responsive and remain motivated to complete your team’s mission.
4. Stay disciplined
While participating and leading as a creative project manager, you also need to remain logical. Your project entails your team to be adventurous with their approach, but you need to stay focused on the business details.
Unless you’re working for a business with unlimited funds, your duty is to keep your project resources and spending within your budget limits and other restraints, including timing and project scope. This means you need to keep your project members in check to exceed their limits during their creative process. That’s why constant monitoring is essential as you designate project tasks.
5. Analyze productivity
By keeping track of your team’s productivity, you can be sure every part of the company machine works in harmony for your project to be completed.
A useful method for a creative project manager to rely on is time tracking. Using time tracking software, you can observe the hours that your team is committing to their creative tasks. With time tracking, you can determine if members are spending too much time on certain stages because they’re getting carried away with the creative process, or because they need assistance. You can also be proactive on delays that the data presents you and resolve them immediately, so everything remains on course.
Rely on actiTIME for your project and team productivity monitoring. This software will allow you to watch your team’s hours, establish the timeline and roadmap of your project, and share it with your team. Sharing deadlines and the overall outline of the project’s timing over a shared platform will motivate your team to meet deadlines and see the bigger picture of how the project will be completed.
To learn more about project management support with actiTIME, book a free trial now.
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Creative Project Management Checklist
1. Onboard a project and begin its development
- Learn about the general concept of the project, expectations, and overall intention.
- Develop your budget and submission deadline, then decide who’s talents you will need for a successful product.
- Assemble your team of creatives.
- Break your project into tasks and appoint them to members.
- Establish timelines for task completion.
2. Shape your creative brief and standard operating procedures
- Give your team a useful foundation with an informative, creative brief.
- Keep your team on the same page with a detailed creative brief with everyone’s necessary information to reference.
- Develop an outline for your project with the stated overall goal, mandatory conditions, “nice-to-haves” and more.
- List the target audience and competitors.
- Share how the project will be published and possible challenges your team may face with their solutions.
- Include branding elements like logos or keyphrases and value statements.
3. Stay connected with your team and clients
- Establish frequent check-ups on your team’s creative process.
- Schedule weekly or constant meetings with members to discuss and plan their task approach, as well as ensure they’re in the right direction.
- Be available for creatives to seek input, guidance, and feedback to keep them on track with the overall project goal.
- Have discussions with clients on troubling questions or issues, and notify them of project progress.
4. Combination and revision
- Join all pieces of the creative project into one unified product.
- Share it with your team for everyone to see the outline.
- Suggest necessary revisions so all components meet the overall goal.
- Look for flaws or gaps in the completed project to fix.
- Be detail-oriented when finding final mistakes before publishing or sending them to clients.
5. Project sign-off
- Share your completed creative projects with your clients for their approval or sign-off.
- If in-house, have upper management sign-off your completed project.
- With approval, share your creative project.
As a creative project manager, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. As you encourage your team, you also need to maintain discipline and boundaries. If your team becomes carried away with the creative process, they could end up exceeding budget limits, losing direction / focus on the client’s goals, and delaying the project completion. This will reflect poorly on your creative company and lead to potential business loss or fractured client relationships.
To avoid these troubles, be sure to follow the project management steps discussed in this guide:
- Drive the process
- Encourage creativity
- Maintain effective communication
- Stay disciplined
- Analyze productivity
And to make sure you didn’t miss a thing while running your creative projects, use a checklist and cross off the vital management steps on the way. Thus, it will be easier to stay organized and avoid chaos even when your creativity is set absolutely free.