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Creative Project Management Strategies for the Modern Age

October 23, 2023 | Growth Hacking

Creative projects can range from a simple website design to a full-scale video production, involving talents from a range of professionals, including (but certainly not limited to) graphic designers, copywriters, UX designers, photographers, videographers, and illustrators. In all of these instances, creative project management works like an orchestra conductor, keeping teams on track and on time. 

Such projects are almost a work of art in themselves. Take website design – the complexity of these projects, working across multiple creative and technical disciplines, requires precise coordination and expert communication. Without effective creative project management, harmony turns to discord: timelines are delayed, mistakes creep in, and the final product is a major mishap.

What is Creative Project Management?

Creative project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and overseeing projects in the creative industry to ensure they are completed on time and meet specific objectives. Unlike traditional project management – say in construction, product development, or pharmaceuticals – creative project management must not only meet the logistical demands but also balance and nurture the creative talent. 

Common examples of creative projects that could benefit from this type of project management include:

  • Orchestrating a branding campaign 
  • Designing and developing a new website
  • Producing a promotional video
  • Designing and delivering print collateral

The lynchpin of these projects is the creative project manager – who ensures all the creative elements seamlessly integrate with the technical requirements. 

Additionally, they’ll liaise with the clients and other project stakeholders to report on the current progress. That means setting clear expectations, managing resources, and navigating the pitfalls and problems you can’t plan for. Needless to say: it’s not for the fainthearted!

Traditional vs. Creative Project Management

Traditional project management, in contrast, involves industries that are linear and predictable. Their projects involve well-defined tasks, tried-and-tested procedures, and technically minded professionals.

Once the plans are established, the building, software, or new drug will arrive on schedule so long as everyone sticks to the plan. However, you can’t “plan” a creative outcome – not if you want the best logo, website design, video, or whatever the deliverable may be. It’s like comparing an architectural plan to a blank canvas. 

Moreover, in traditional project management, key performance indicators dictate success or failure. Structural integrity, improved efficiency, and lives saved are objective and measurable. That’s not so easy in the creative industry, where it could take months or longer to see the results from consumer engagement. 

3 Revolutionary Creative Project Management Strategies

Once upon a time, project management was about intuition, expertise, and innovative flair. However, as new technologies emerge, balancing creativity with strategic methodologies and cutting-edge tools is becoming ever more important.

Here’s how the industry is evolving:

1. Agile methodologies

Agile methodologies, originating in the software development industry, are increasingly common among dynamic creative projects. Unlike TPM, which strongly emphasizes linear progression, the Agile approach breaks projects into smaller, digestible phases or “sprints.”

For example, project development could form 6-sprints: (1) plan, (2) design, (3) develop, (4) test, (5) deploy, and (6) review. If further revisions or changes are required, the process begins again.

The Agile methodology relies on four core pillars:

  • People before protocols: Within Agile teams, the emphasis is on collective effort and interaction rather than solo endeavors and strict procedures.
  • Functionality over paperwork: Forget reams of documentation and bureaucracy, Agile teams prioritize creating effective projects that deliver results. 
  • Consumers, not contractual details: In Agile practices, the consumer’s voice takes precedence. Rather than getting mired in contractual nuances, Agile emphasizes real-time feedback and direction from users.
  • Be flexible: The agility of the Agile framework shines in its adaptiveness. Instead of being tethered to a fixed blueprint, teams have the liberty to pivot and adjust, ensuring the project stays relevant and on track.

2. AI-powered tools

Never worked with an AI tool? You’re definitely alone! AI-powered tools are rapidly revolutionizing the creative landscape. Automation is one such tool, changing how creative project management functions.

But AI isn’t just about automation – it’s about enhancement! Analyzing past projects, AI tools scan your processes to identify potential pitfalls, challenges, or bottlenecks in a project’s trajectory, highlighting these issues to the team to mitigate them before they escalate. Think Minority Report for creatives (albeit a little less dystopian).

Beyond preemptive problem-solving, AI tools deliver data-driven insights. Project managers can input historical or real-time data into the machine learning algorithm, receiving ingenious insights about market trends, audience behaviors, and past campaign successes. 

Such analytic brilliance optimizes creative endeavors more than just relying on intuition – creativity meets concrete, actionable data. 

3. Rise of collaborative platforms

Last but not least – project management no longer relies on long-winded, inefficient communication systems. Forget the hundred-email-long chain or dense handwritten project feedback. New tools fuse annotation, communication, and collaboration into a centralized, optimized platform.

From scheduling assistants to resource allocation algorithms, these automated tools relieve project managers of time-consuming administrative burdens. That leaves more time for them to work on the important stuff – the deliverables. 

As projects involve a complicated network of cross-functional teams and third-party stakeholders, collaborative platforms create a space where everyone can work together. Plus, they help ensure everyone keeps on track and on time. 

The Future is Here – Join Ashore’s Collaborative Proofing Platform

Technology and innovation, at their best, cut through the admin and open up possibilities. New tools, methodologies, and advances are doing just that in creative project management. As creative projects become ever more complicated, ensuring creatives have the freedom to work, innovate, and imagine while balancing the bureaucratic necessities is more critical than ever.

That’s where Ashore comes in – an ingenious collaborative proofing platform for creatives by creatives. 
Developed to manage the proofing and revision process, it features automated workflows, comment threads, timelines, and annotations to keep your projects moving forward. Get started for FREE to transform your creative visions into management masterpieces.

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