Creative project management differs in many ways to other types of more traditional, technical projects. With a creative project the goals may be more fluid, the milestones may need to be more flexible, and the end deliverable can occasionally be vastly different than originally specified. Project managers in creative departments may want to follow a few tips to get the most out of their resources.
- Keep up with your check-ins: You want to know as soon as possible if one of your creatives is experiencing a roadblock. Creative work is a challenge; there are times when an individual just won't be able to produce work on a timeline, or needs to rest on a project before they can refocus their mind. As long as you know in advance, you should be able to compensate -- and there should always be a small buffer of time to aid with this.
- Try to rotate responsibilities: It's very easy for individuals to experience creative burnout when they are working on a single repetitive tasks. If there are areas in which your creatives overlap in skill set, consider rotating them periodically so that they don't get fatigued. Just make sure that there is always someone directly above to ensure consistency between work.
- Consider agile project management: Agile project management strategies lend themselves better to creative projects than more traditional waterfall methodologies simply because the flexibility is available. For creative work, a waterfall methodology may be too focused on adhering to final deliverable specifications and not focused enough on revising to suit the client.
- Allow some "sanity" time: Creative work can be taxing. When you do sense that your staff members are getting stressed, the worst thing you can do is often put them under more pressure. Consider instead offering them additional time to rest, relax, and recharge. Many creative departments run on flex-time so that their creatives can work when they feel fully capable and confident.
Naturally, creative project management doesn't have to differ from traditional project management in every way. Traditional techniques, such as time keeping and meeting strategies, will often apply. Still, a creative project manager is going to have to be a little creative themselves if they want to get the best results.