Pulling off a Creative Project sounds a lot like fun! And it is, but it’s also about knowing how to move all the pieces to get the best results. A creative project may have a structure similar to any other; however, this includes tasks such as putting together a suite of social media ads, rolling out a new website, recording a podcast, launching a video project, or creating a whole brand from zero.
A creative project means dealing with many people doing creative stuff that will eventually come together. So, how to keep everything in sync? There are two vital creative resources to manage: team and time. However, there’s more to consider, and that’s precisely what you will find out in this blog. If you’re in charge of a creative strategy or work with creatives all the time, keep reading and learn the six things you need to know about Creative Project Management.
What is a Creative Project Manager?
Before jumping on our list, let’s introduce you to the leading role in creative project management: a creative project manager. This person primarily works with creatives such as graphic designers, copywriters, UX designers, and photographers on creative projects.
This role has the responsibility of orchestrating creative teams and clients. Generally, they develop special skills like attention to detail, time management, and communication. And also foster inspiration and honor the creative process. But, what exactly does a creative project manager do?
Patreon, on its blog, states that a creative project manager in creative businesses is in charge of:
- Defining what the project is.
- Setting goals and what it will take to achieve them, including roles, tasks, deliverables, budget, and timelines.
- Prioritizing all the tasks, what needs to be done, defining next steps, and identifying efficient ways of operation.
- Keeping the team aligned and running with a great work environment.
Seems like a lot, right? However, managing a creative project is not just about control. Actually, it’s more about optimizing for the best results. Organizing the moving pieces, keeping track of the workflow, and staying on top of the details are inputs that make the project run successfully.
6 things you need to know about Creative Project Management
So far, you know which are the vital creative resources and the people in charge of managing them, but there’s always something to learn, and we’re here to tell you. These are five things you wish you were told at the beginning of your career in creative management and would definitely make a difference in how you develop the work. Read carefully and start practicing them in your business.
1. Set the tone
Creative project management is a fun role, but it can be tricky because you’re in touch and collaborating with people from all backgrounds and with different skill sets. So, setting the tone from the beginning is essential to make the entire team go in the same direction.
Creative project managers are responsible for developing project guidelines from day one until the end. According to Fool.com, these guidelines include:
- Project intake: Provide questionnaires to get details about project scope, timelines, and expected outcomes.
- Assignments: Assigning tasks to creatives and giving information to rely on.
- Creative workflow: creating an established operating system for the team and individuals.
- Brand style guides: Give all the specifics about the client’s brand, including voice, tone, and visual identity.
- Creative briefs: Develop outlines that list milestones, deliverables, deadlines, objectives, and expectations.
- Brand assets: Keep a file of updated brand documents and ensure they’re shared with the team and sized accordingly for various platforms.
2. Centralize the creative project management
A creative project involves many stages, and you can quickly lose track of what’s going on and where. To avoid disorganization or getting lost along the way, you need a platform (and we’re not talking about e-mail) that’s easy to use for creatives, encourages internal collaboration when required, and shows the project status to clients as it goes on.
When using a platform to internal centralize communications, you’ll be able to manage multiple tasks in one single place and at the same time. Some of these tasks are:
- Project planning
- Assignment delegation
- Creative asset development
- Status updates
- Review advances
- Approval process
- And much more!
There’s a great variety of platforms to choose from. Make sure to carefully check plans and prices, and make the best pick according to your needs.
3. Use the right tools
Your creative team is your best asset, but what’s a team without the right tools? Understanding your team members’ talents and needs guarantees better performance and results.
Fool.com enlist some of the most common tools you’d like to work with are:
- Project management software (like Teamwork)
- Internal chat software (like Slack)
- Service delivery tool (like Planeolo)
- Graphic design tools (like Adobe design suite)
- Video editing software (like Adobe video suite)
- Content management systems (CMS like WordPress)
- Customer relationship management programs (CRM like Hubspot)
4. Establish clear goals (Avoid micromanagement)
When there’s so much to do in a creative project, it’s easy to lose track of details or feel overwhelmed. To complete a project successfully, you’d like to count on an efficient work methodology that allows managers and team members to keep an accurate workflow, avoiding obstacles.
Try managing weekly tasks instead of daily follow-ups and set clear goals in advance. KPIs and work methodologies like Scrum or any other based on sprints will allow your team to focus on specific tasks per a period and managers to review all of it and decide to keep forward or improve the work.
5. Be your team’s biggest fan
Did you know job satisfaction is directly related to a 6.6 percent increase in productivity per hour? According to the Harvard Business Review, when employees are valued at work, their satisfaction and productivity can increase by up to 31%.
A creative project manager is a leader and leadership involves recognition, feedback and hyping your team’s performance. Whenever possible, create spaces to encourage recognition and also, transparent feedback. By being open about the process behind the workflows and asking for suggestions, you’ll create an environment of trust and collaboration that will be reflected on performance and satisfaction.
6. Improve Client Management
As your relationship with team members has changed over the years due to digital transformation, remote work, or simply evolution, so have the relationships with clients. Customers nowadays want to freely choose how they interact with brands and are constantly looking to maximize their time and efforts. Does your company have everything to meet those expectations? Using tech tools, agile methodologies, and always bringing solutions that match their needs will help you keep happy and satisfied clients.
When jumping into a new creative project, take time to get to know your client, so you’ll be able to create agreements. Which channels do they use? Do they prefer face-to-face communication? How often would you schedule follow-ups? And so much more. Follow this piece of advice and all the items above, and your creative project management will never be the same. It’d be much better.
Improve your Creative Project Management skills
Project management in a creative business is a demanding job. Keeping track of the progress of your projects, planning the next steps, following up on your team’s work, and showcasing deliverables to your clients separately could be a nightmare if you don’t have the right tools.
If you’re willing to get better at your creative project management skills or want to become a better creative project manager, having a software ally will boost your management process, improve the outcome and make everything easier for you and all of the involved.
Get started today with Planeolo. An all-in-one platform for the creative industry that will help you deliver creative projects faster and easier. Try it for free and discover for yourself how much it can benefit your efficiency inside and out of the company.