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In decades past, the concept of project management was closely associated with a few specific industries—engineering, construction and technology in particular. These were the fields that had given rise to project management as a discipline; where most of the fundamental concepts behind project management were developed.

Project Management for Creatives- The Keys to SuccessMore recently, project management has become an essential part of nearly every industry. You can now find project management professionals at insurance companies, investment banks, hospitals, publishing companies, government agencies and hundreds of other types of organizations. The list continues to grow as more and more companies recognize the value of taking a systematic approach to what they do.

There are exceptions, of course. Advertising agencies, marketing teams and other creative organizations have been slower than most to adopt project management techniques. Traditional PM methodologies and tools often seem too rigid and formal for businesses that depend on creativity and inspiration. As project management software continues to develop, more creative firms are embracing the efficiency and connectivity that modern project management can provide.

Unique Needs and Requirements

When developing a strategy for creative agency project management, organizations need to consider that creative teams work differently than other project teams. Timelines are often the most challenging aspect to manage. While creative projects still have deadlines that must be met, team members are often hesitant to commit to specific dates and may need a more flexible timeline to avoid counter-productive stress. Creative workers may also be less willing to deal with administrative details like time reporting or system access requests, which can leave more of the burden on the project manager.

When developing a strategy for creative agency project management, organizations need to consider that creative teams work differently than other project teams. Timelines are often the most challenging aspect to manage. While creative projects still have deadlines that must be met, team members are often hesitant to commit to specific dates and may need a more flexible timeline to avoid counter-productive stress. Creative workers may also be less willing to deal with administrative details like time reporting or system access requests, which can leave more of the burden on the project manager.

Using flexible project management software for creatives can help project managers and creative teams do their work more effectively and keep the agencies clients in the loop the whole while. Creative agency workflow software like Clarizen includes a wealth of collaboration tools that help team members share their ideas and maintain awareness of what others are working on. The best creative agency software solutions are highly configurable, allowing project managers to use the software in accordance with how their teams prefer to work, rather than changing workflows to suit the software.

Defining Success

The ultimate measures of success in creative project management, as with any other type of project, are in product quality, timeliness and budget performance. If the customer (whether internal or external) is happy and the work was completed on time and on budget, most PMs will feel that they deserve a pat on the back.

When dealing with creative teams, project managers may need to pay extra attention to how their team communicates and interacts, both internally and externally during a project. Creative team members are often highly emotionally involved in their work, and breakdowns in communication can have consequences that affect not only the current project but future projects as well. Using online collaboration and document management tools can help keep the lines of communication open, reduce friction and keep the creative ideas flowing.

Looking for a project management tool that’s designed with creative teams and clients in mind? Clarizen’s project management solutions are ideal for marketing teams and other creative organizations.

Jen Howard
Jen is responsible for Clarizen's corporate positioning, market awareness and global events. She is a marketing professional with a proven track record of executing comprehensive marketing strategies to support business goals and objectives for technology start-ups. Most recently, Jen was corporate marketing manager at Marketo (NASDAQ: MKTO), where she was responsible for media coverage, analyst relations, the CEO’s social media profile and corporate events. Previously, Jen was the marketing and events manager at Autonet Mobile, the first internet-based telematics company and wireless internet service provider designed for vehicles (now part of Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA). Jen holds a B.A. in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara.