When we talk to potential clients, frequently we hear complaints about project management. Unclear goals, missed timelines, poor communication, and overrun budgets make up the bulk of the complaints lodged. With so much emphasis placed on creativity here at Inno-Versity, you might think that something as left-brained as project management would not be top priority. But it is. In fact, it’s so important that we called it out as one of our 5 Elements of Excellence. Project management is more than just checking off boxes on a to-do list. It’s a process that ensures a smooth work flow and ultimately leads to an excellent product.
Sure, we have processes in place and use several project management systems for our work, but today we’d like to offer you 4 ways that we think differently about project management. Perhaps it will help spark some new or better understanding that you can put to work.
- Good project management is something that goes unnoticed when it happens. It just means everything went as it was supposed to go. Unfortunately, when there is poor project management, everyone spots it immediately.
- It involves working as a cohesive team to create something that you couldn't do on your own.
- Here is a light-hearted, but very good, explanation of all that is entailed. . . Project management for creative work is a little different. It’s directing a lot of traffic. It’s working with the client to identify their goals and needs, while working with our creative team to make sure whatever we do has an element well-designed fun. Oh, and of course we make sure that we are actually teaching something. When we do teach something, did the learner remember it? By the way, each project is different in scope and content, so we’re constantly adjusting and using multiple strategies to get the job done. At the end of the day, everything must come in on time and budget.
- Iterative and Flexible: Since we are managing creative work, our process must allow for that creativity while still finishing on time and budget. This means we must be flexible and in constant communication with our client. It also means that we’re always in some kind of revision/feedback cycle to make sure we have the design exactly right.
At the end of the day, solving the client’s problem isn’t just about creating a great product. The process is equally important. Because what keeps blood pressures from rising and truly solves a challenge is great learning—on time and on budget.