The very concept of managing a creative project seems rather contradictory in itself. The world of expression, non-conformity, innovation, and ideas seems to have very little room for processes, control and structure. However, whether we like it or not, project management is becoming more predominant in creative spheres, due to the higher demand for creative innovative projects and products in a technology driven world. The “knowledge economy”, as it has recently been dubbed, is a tricky business as creative industries are shaping the UK economy, but are in the early stages of doing so.
#1. It is essential to agree on the aims of the project
Video and photography projects, for example, face unique challenges as there is no ‘correct formula’ for the perfect piece, as a lot of time it is subject to personal taste. Keeping this in mind, it is almost essential to establish and agree on the aims of the project, to ensure you do not get lost along the way. These aims must be discussed with everyone involved, whether it be the client, or the team, as creative direction is often very personal and can differ considerable from person to person.
#2. Understanding of individual skills
Cultivating and managing a workforce of creative professionals requires a certain degree of understanding of individual skills. It would be beneficial to pin-point these early on in the process to ensure optimum efficiency on the project. Sometimes sparking a degree of competition among creative professionals goes a long way, as a little bit of adrenaline caused by a low pressure situation can trigger the best of ideas. Of course the success rate of this will be unique to each team, but it is worth a try if this method produces results. To further this, identifying and leveraging the strengths of each individual on the team works wonders if pin-pointed and appropriately handled early on. An updated understanding of the team’s talents can put you in a strong position as the manager, as you can hone in on these talents to benefit the project.
#3. It is always a good idea to keep your hands dirty
As a manager, or effectively a participant of a creative endeavour, it is always a good idea to keep your hands dirty as much as you can. As the manager of the team, you have the most responsibility to ensure the work is completed to the highest standard. Getting involved in the actual work can be great for team morale, and can enhance your authority as ‘leader’ if you show off your own creativity and your competence in the given situation.
Healthy confusion can be surprisingly helpful for creative projects. Creative types generally work best with a mind full off ideas, and some ideas link to others, and expand from there. For example, surrounding your main project with smaller ones can complement the task nicely to produce some creative ‘chaos’. Once again, the success of this method will be subjective to each individual team, but it is always worth a try. However, this can be altered depending on the nature of your workforce.
This tip can be the most obvious of the bunch, but also the most vital. Suggesting edits to the products of the project, rather than flat out objecting to them can save you a lot of stress. Creative professionals can get surprisingly protective of their work and their ideas. Negotiating as opposed to rejecting them may get you a new and improved idea in a more effective way than flat out rejection.