Working in a busy design studio, we continuously have multiple creative projects on the go. So a robust project management process is key to ensuring we meet deadlines and deliver projects on time, and to budget, for our clients, without losing any of that creativity along the way.
When it comes to creative project management, these are our top five tips:
1. Plan backwards
If the client has requested the finished project by a certain date, use this date to plan backwards, allowing some contingency time for both yourselves, any suppliers and for client reviews and approvals.
2. Be realistic and manage expectations
Ensure you have allowed enough time for the creative process, as well as all of the other elements involved. Check the studio schedule to ensure projects aren’t clashing and you haven’t over-committed and if the client is asking the impossible, try to come up with a reasonable solution that will please all involved.
Talk, talk, talk. To your colleagues, the client and suppliers and make sure everyone knows what is expected of them, and when. If something isn’t going to plan, let the rest of the team know, and if artwork is delayed, let the printers know that it won’t be with them on the date expected and try to re-work the dates. This is where your contingency time will come in handy!
4. Use the right tools
Make sure you’re using the right tools for the job, this not only includes using the right software (would you try designing a brochure in Excel!?), but also includes using the right people with the right skills. It sounds obvious, but if an element of the job isn’t your forte, but there’s someone else in the team who shines in that area, get them involved. It will speed up the process and keep you on schedule.
5. Embrace change
Plans can change, deadlines can move, and clients can simply change their minds. Although it can be stressful, this is where communication, and version control can come in useful. Roll with the punches, whilst keeping an eye on any version control limits and let the client know when you’re nearing any limits.
For some projects, it can be the creative process that requires the most time. Read here or some more of our tips on six types of creative blocks and how to combat them.
And if you need any help with communicating with your team, clients and suppliers, here are our top tips for simple and effective communications.