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When it comes to managing creative teams, the traditional aspects of project management seem to go out the window very quickly. As many project managers who have managed creative teams will tell you, there are some key skills that one needs to take into account when managing creatives. Here to help you out with that is a list of some of the best and most relevant practices for creative project managers.

You Will Need Communication Skills

Project management for creatives often requires even more communication than normal project management. It is important to understand that creatives are often not programmers or analysts, so there will be times when translation is required. As a project manager, this is where communication becomes absolutely essential, especially in terms of interfacing between the creatives and the upper echelons of your enterprise. One important tip in this regard is to remember that you are dealing with people, not data. Take some extra time to be personable with them rather than being solely focused on results. This practice will also come in handy with the next practice.

Develop an Empathetic Perspective

Seeing a project through to completion means that you need to ensure that each of your team members’ needs is adequately met. In order to do this, you will need to sharpen your sense of empathy. First of all, consider the people you are dealing with: passionate creatives who are more likely to engage their environment kinesthetically vs analytically. Because of this, developing a sense of empathy will get you very far.

Using the Right Project Management Tools

Using the proper tool is essential in all aspects of project management, but it rings especially true when managing creatives. You will want to use a tool that is capable of handling every part of the process while allowing space for proper discussion and feedback. Additionally, you will want to use something to ensure that you have the appropriate amount of time to proof and approve the deliverables before sending them out.

Define the Scope

When managing creative teams, it is important to keep the overall scope of the project in perspective, as things can easily and quickly get out of hand. This can be accomplished by way of daily and weekly meetings, and also with the implementation of the right project management tool, such as Clarizen’s cloud-based project management software. This will ensure that all employees know what is expected and can work towards that goal while still feeling empowered and recognized as the creative individuals that they are.

Take Care of Administrative Duties

If there’s one thing creatives hate, it’s bureaucracy. For this reason, you should take it upon yourself to complete administrative tasks to ensure that your team’s time is spent working towards the completion of the project, and nothing else. This is a great time to practice a hands-off management style where you’re able to monitor and encourage progress from a distance without having to get directly involved.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Translator

Sometimes letting clients talk with the creative team is not the best idea. For this reason, you should always consider acting as a buffer of sorts between the client and the creative team to ensure that nothing is lost in translation. This will also give you a better idea of client expectations. When it comes to any type of project management, communication is key, so why would project managing a creative team be any different?

Anne Catambay
Anne Catambay, VP Global Marketing