What is Creative Project Management? Benefits, Challenges & Process

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featured image of creative project management

Creative project management fosters creativity and innovation in the project. It provides a framework to inspire and manage the innovative process of creative projects. It involves the aspects of creative thinking and managing creative teams to acquire desired objectives. Creativity in any project management requires thorough project planning, management, scheduling, monitoring, and controlling. 

Creativity is a subjective term that has a different meaning for different people or organizations. The creative work enhances even greater and amplified project performance. The process of creativity involves the capitalization of talented personnel to achieve the desired results of the project. 

One can’t singlehandedly complete a project. It requires the contribution of team members and their expertise to complete the project. However, it also involves all the team members working harmoniously towards the common goal and objective of the project. Hence, creative projects have an individual’s knowledge and creativity with the cooperative working of the team. In simple words, this project management involves creative geniuses of expertise and teamwork.

Benefits of Creativity in a Project Management

5 people creative team sitting on floor discussing on project.

To get started with creative project management, it’s good to know what are its benefits.

Creativity in creative project management helps develop the required skills and abilities to get through different stages of creativity. Creativity is an excellent tool for problem-solving that can generate many outcomes from one single situation. It strengthens leadership qualities that are essential as there are a number of stakeholders involved who need to be convinced about your idea or plan.

It develops an innovative thinking process, improves communication skills with people, and presents better opportunities for change while also avoiding setbacks along with other difficulties faced by traditional methods. 

This creative approach provides new insights into problems making it easier to see what’s wrong instead of just knowing what needs fixing. Creative projects involve constructive feedback loops involving both successes and failures because they were designed this way to make sure it’s going right.

Abundance of New Ideas

In the world of creatives who get a continuous challenge to the standard status quo of doing work, they thrive by simultaneously looking for the answers to the questions such as ‘Why?’ and ‘how?’.

This curiosity helps to generate numerous ideas and innovations. And as history proves, ideas are the foundation that inspires innovations and creativity in any field.

Building Team Spirit

Working on a creative project involves a team operating together and jamming around the idea of the project. The team as a unit focuses all its attention on turning the concept idea into reality.

Working together creates synergy, commitment, and a sense of belongingness in the team.

Teamwork is essential for creativity & collaboration.

– Mark Farrar

Competitive Advantage

Organizations can gain a competitive advantage by using the creativity of individuals and teams. Creativity often leads to innovation which can ensure long-term success in the future.

Creativity and innovation can benefit the organization, but the policy of strictly adhering to the standard rules of the organization can affect one’s ability to think out of the box.

Greater Performance

In creative project management, teams creatively manage all the project-related activities. The project manager allocates various tasks to complete the project efficiently.

Creative project teams have the aim of always setting new standards for their performance.

Increased Knowledge Sharing

The team often shares their knowledge and ideas among themselves. Accumulated knowledge from a number of different sources and new innovations can create magic together.

Creativity helps to put the team’s accumulated knowledge into action and bring designs into reality.

Process of Creative Project Management Lifecycle

The project manager is the person responsible for motivating and inspiring creativity within the team members. Team members and creative project managers should evolve innovation and creativity throughout the project lifecycle.

Creative Project Management Lifecycle Illustration Image.

Initiation

Initiation is the initial step of any project. In this step, the client and the team together discuss the project deliverables and scope in detail. The objectives of the project and the client’s needs are the base of the project. Discussion about the same takes place in this stage.

Various other aspects such as the collaboration process, its frequency, project monitoring techniques, and reporting are also defined. Initiation marks the start of the project.

Some key takeaways:

  • Determine the key objectives of the project
  • Creative team and client come together
  • Discuss the project scope and the deliverable

Planning

Planning involves defining each task involved in the project in detail and its proper allocation to relevant team members. The creative project manager teams should discuss the project frequently and share goals that could make the work innovative and time-saving.

Planning also involves identifying the project milestones like quarter completion, half completion, three-quarter completion, and full completion. It also entails capacity planning, which means checking the availability of team members and resources needed for the project completion. The manager decides the deadline for the completion of each task at this stage.

Some key takeaways:

  • Defining the work and tasks in details
  • Identifying the milestones
  • Capacity planning
  • Setting deadlines for tasks

Execution

This phase involves getting all the things discussed in the planning stage into reality. The project manager monitors and records the progress of the project with the help of software.

The best creative project management software makes the project manager’s work easy by tracking the progress and time required for task completion with a click. Proper monitoring and keeping track of the project also stops the project scope from creeping.

The project manager has the responsibility of managing any obstacles arising during the project. The objective of the project should be communicated frequently to the team members to avoid any confusion. 

Some key takeaways:

  • Collaborating the teams for the project
  • Getting the work done by the team
  • Identifying and reducing the scope from creeping
  • Finding solutions to the problems arising during project completion

Sign off

It marks the end journey of the project cycle. Here the client is presented with the documentation and reports about the project and project deliverables. Here the actual result of the project is measured.

The project output should exceed the client’s expectations or at least meet them. In the end, all the participants of creative project management should be satisfied for a project to be considered a success.

Some key takeaways:

  • Marks the end of the creative project
  • Recording and storing project documents
  • Presenting the documents to clients as a sign-off

3 P’s of Creative Project Management

Image showing 3 P's of Creative Project Management, Platform, Process & People

As we all know, project management and creativity are difficult to achieve in a managed environment. To create innovation in your projects, you need to give space, time, and independence with resources of thinking new out-of-the-box ideas.

But this can severely impact the deadlines and criteria of any project as it’s the process through which an organization transfers and transforms creative ideas into innovative products.

Unlike Triple Constraints of PM, It’s a lot like managing your creativity with these three p’s of creative project management.

Taking care of all aspects that become barriers to creativity and innovation, we are able to succeed in our projects.

To be successful as a creative team project manager should consider the ‘3 p’s’ of innovative project management, i.e., the platform, process, and people.

The platform refers to the digital channel used to manage and deliver creative projects. Choose a flexible and easy-to-use platform. The platform should consider the approach of the projects and make the same easy for everyone to understand.

The process, as discussed above, should define all the project deliverables in simple terms. The documentation of the same should be done and made available to all the team members for reference. Maintain a creative workflow to increase the transparency and efficiency of project work.

The project can’t function without people, innovative, i.e., creative teams and the project manager. The project manager should be a responsible and compatible person who can guide all the team members towards success.

The creative project manager should lead the team to be confident and communicate their ideas to the project manager, who should take action if feasible.

Consider these 3 P’s, platform, process, and people of creative project management to ensure fruitful results for your projects.

In order to be a successful creative project manager, you have to ensure that the team is in sync with your vision for the project.

The success of any creative agency depends on people and their potentials. Hence, it’s vital that they are motivated and fulfilled at work by giving them enough opportunities to collaborate on their ideas that could be a blessing to your business.

Key Aspects to Consider in Creative Project Management.

Key Aspects Written on Image

There are always some key aspects that contribute to the project success; it also helps to keep track of teams’ needs, creative assets, processes, tools, budgets while creating realistic creative project goals to punch on.

It’s said that creativity is something that cannot be taught, but it can be slowly nurtured.

It can only grow in a creative environment with creative people who are not worried about the process of creativity but just follow their instincts to create new things for commercial use or personal pleasure.

The creativity in a business is directly proportional to the amount of time spent developing it with innovative ideas, methods, feedback, strategies for the development of new products or marketing campaigns.

Someone who has good analytical skills will be able to identify creative opportunities within the resources one is provided in creative project management.

Realistic Goals

The project goals should be realistic and achievable in the long run. If the set goals are unrealistic, it will cause anxiety and stress in the team.

The stressed team can’t concentrate on creativity, which will impact the project completion and leave the client unsatisfied. And in no time, the team and project manager will break down, leading to the withdrawal of the team and uncompleted project.

Transparency 

A single person can’t innovate things. It requires a team to achieve great creativity. Hence, the project manager should be transparent in sharing all the project-related details.

Transparency will build confidence among the team and help them to perform better. It is also necessary to regularly conduct two-way communication with the team to discuss creative ideas and processes.

Communication

Clear communication is the key to transparency and understanding. The project manager must communicate the tasks and activities to team members.

Similarly, the team members should clearly understand the project tasks. Clear and open communication between the project participants can help reduce reworks and wastage of resources. Miscommunications or unclear communications lead to the failure of the project.

Empathy

Empathy is crucial where people are involved. Project management is all about dealing with creative teams to achieve the desired project output. The project manager should consider the team’s behavior, strengths, weaknesses and help them when necessary.

Similarly, the project manager is also a person who has flaws that should be accepted and worked upon with the help of the team. Empathy can help improve collaboration between peers and reduce their resistance to changing environments’ edges.

Project managers must have the ability to create and maintain a creative environment. They should be able to encourage creativity in others, invoke innovation, promote innovation among teams, and recognize the contributions of individuals on projects often overlooked because they are not expected from them to deliver it.

A project manager is supposed to keep an eye out for potential problems that affect the team.

Challenges of Creative Project Management

project manager lying on floor in messy state, taking a break from work.

There is no growth without resistance; there will be challenges that will arise in creative project management.

The ideas for creativity are talent and knowledge; a living environment is essential to create new paths as well as being able to see the end goal clearly.

A creative mind will be an asset in overcoming obstacles that may come up along the way. Innovative thinking could lead to insights that can help solve problems in a fashion that nobody thought about.

The progress should be evaluated by looking for potential problems within the team and keeping an eye out for any upcoming issues that might arise from outside forces.

Creative project management is a challenging process that requires an understanding of the various stages mentioned above as well as challenges faced in creativity.

Stress and Anxiety

The acceptance of creative ideas in a formal controlled organization or any agency can cause discomfort and anxiety among the team members. It becomes difficult for creative people to express their opinion in such an environment causing stress.

The creative process and innovation take time. It clashes with the deadlines and compels the team to work long hours, increasing the stress level in collaboration with clients.

The best creative team is passionate about what they do. Creatives put in their heart and soul into every project they undertake, which can lead to neglecting other aspects of life such as relationships or personal wellbeing.

It is imperative that creative projects give time for innovation and also make room for family, friends, and work-life integration outside the workplace.

Work-life balance

Long hours of work to complete the project and satisfy the creative content can severely affect one’s life at home and work alike. It becomes difficult for creative people to take a step back when the need arises.

They put in long hours of work to complete the deadlines creating a poor work-life balance. Poor work-life balance, in turn, results in a greater level of stress and anxiety, both internal and external.

Creative people are easily tempted by the plethora of information that is available at their fingertips.

There’s a risk of creative innovation being hindered because they spend too much time on social media, blogs, or even browsing YouTube. It becomes difficult for the innovative team to get out of this temptation and work towards achieving their goals.

Easy criticism of work

Unlike traditional project management, the creative agency is more dedicated to creating the product and its process. The creative member’s deliverables are through creative team expressions.

These expressions are easy to criticize, and this criticism can easily hurt the sentiments of the team. Considering the team’s sensitivity while managing a creative project is essential, which can be difficult.

The creative process is a broad set of skills, which includes creativity in the workplace, marketing products, leadership, handling techy tools, and cultivating vision.

A successful creative agency needs to have all these in different proportions with the right mix for each project. The level of responsibility also varies from project to project, depending on the skill sets required at that point in time.

Creative agencies need people who are experts in various delivery processes to be collaborative with different tasks and feedback in business.

Skills of Creative Project Manager

creative team holding hands together

Creative project managers are the head person responsible for leading the creative teams in business when it comes to innovation and marketing. A project manager job creates is a link between the client’s requirements and the team’s need.

Team members get inspired and motivated by the project manager’s creative process and leadership. The responsibility of single-handedly leading the project lies with the project manager, no matter the industry one is in.

What tool they use and the budget each team gets could be out of your big picture and hugely depends upon the type of client you get. The Skills of a Project Manager will always have to be with a touch of creative work and fresh perspective.

  • Build the idea of trust
  • Be Patient with team members
  • Continuously learn from mistakes
  • Stay optimistic
  • Have a strong work ethic.

The Idea of building trust between the team and customers is a significant part of managing creativity. The main objectives are clear goals, performance metrics, and setting deadlines for achievable tasks.

A creative project manager should be able to multitask with various complex responsibilities like day-to-day handling operations or client collaboration to deliver its success.

The skills within creative project management:

Awareness

A creative project manager should always be aware of the team and oneself. It is because the project manager is responsible for instigating and managing the creative aspects of the project. The project manager should be aware of every activity conducted for the betterment of the project team.

Excellent communication skills

We know that the project manager is the link between the team and the client. Therefore the communication skills of the creative project manager should excel. The understanding of creativity in the project is to be communicated by the project manager. Similarly, while giving feedback or inputs to the team, the project manager should be considerate and sensitive.

Flexible to Changes

Due to the changing environment and changing needs, the project scope will also change. The changes in projects can threaten the individual’s creativity and disturb one’s ability to innovate things. Hence, the project manager should use the changes to cultivate the creativity and individuality of the project.

Perceptive of Future

The project manager is foreseeing all the daily activities of the project team. While doing so, the thought of the bigger picture and creating something innovative should always be the priority. The responsibility of motivating and supporting the creative teams while encouraging them to the road of innovation lies with the project manager. Perception of the bigger picture benefits not only the client but also society.

The above video will give you a broader idea about creative project management to consider it while managing projects for a project manager.

To Conclude

Two people shaking hands with conclusion written on top

Creativity and innovation go hand in hand. It requires the working environment to be open and liberated. Creativity is unambiguous and non-measurable that needs space and independence. Creative management involves the combination of creative project management planning, knowledge management, risk-taking, and excellent open communication. It requires working on various tasks of the project while keeping creativity in mind.

Creative work and innovation are affected by the changing needs of the client and organization. The project manager should adapt to the changing needs while motivating the team’s creativity. Creative projects and creative teams can help the organization innovate great things in the long run. 

While “Creativity” is a subjective term that has a different meaning for different people or organizations. The creative work enhances even greater and amplified project performance. Project management tools are an essential part of creativity in any job, but they vary greatly depending on the type of client you have and what your needs are as well. The next article covers some top 7 creative project management software to help you get started with developing your own process for managing creative projects. Click here now to learn more about these innovation-boosting tools.

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