Creative projects (e.g., video production, marketing campaigns, web design, etc.) are characterized by a predetermined budget, strict timeline, and a diverse group of people in the team. Many things happen simultaneously, and requirements changes may occur often and almost arbitrarily. This causes uncertainty about the project timeline and the resources needed (people and money).
There are always questions and doubts about managing creative projects, especially if you’re not making the decisions and leading the processes. More clarity comes when the production pace is adaptive, and the closest methodology that can suit that is Agile.
So what’s all the fuss about creative projects?
The main challenges in the management of creative projects include:
Changes can happen almost every day. There are client changes in the requirements, technology, changes in the environment. So what can you do?
Best Ways to approach Creative projects
First, you need a good (if not great) project manager to keep the balls in the air, and second, your process needs to be tight. These two crucial pieces go in tandem.
Let’s walk through the essential phases (this may look different depending on your processes):
Initiation, project charter (defining requirements, budget, and timeline).
Planning ? identify deliverables, milestones, tasks (possibly in Kanban / Scrum). Carefully plan the activities and the budget spending.
Execution ? team members perform the tasks, produce the outcomes and mark them as completed.
Submission (signoff) of deliverable
Different team members may be (director, 3D animators, web designers, etc.), and the project manager should onboard them all. The success in these projects largely depends on how information is transferred between the team members. You should encourage all team members to interact and provide honest feedback.
Other responsibilities of a creative project manager include:
Defining the phases and work breakdown structure (WBS)
Communication with clients and informing them regularly
Helping the team to avoid blockers
Creating the progress reports for the stakeholders
How can Agile practices help in Creative projects?
The companies that operate in the creative industry ? usually make their decisions influenced by the rising competition. Being agile or not in this will and can affect ROI.
Therefore creatives and their projects can benefit from the agile methodology.
Try this on the next project as a starter:
If you do the above accepting changes in requirements is more manageable, even at a late stage of development or production, since you’re delivering in iterations. Agile processes enable successful adaptation to changed requirements, which benefits your customers.
Bottom line ? are Creative projects feasible?
Yes. It’s even more profitable with a great project manager. Just because projects happen to be creative, it doesn’t mean there is no place for a clear project structure or methodology.
Although it might seem like a clich?, software engineers and marketers rarely see eye to eye in many agencies. After collaborating with the technical team, a CMO may ask, “Why is Understanding the Development Team such a Challenge?” However, this “conflict” between marketing and engineering is brought about by certain factors for which both sides are partly responsible. Here are some reasons why a CMO may find it hard to understand the development team.
No secret, specialized fields, including engineering and marketing, use vernacular. These jargons come in handy when communicating with colleagues using acronyms, shorthand, and various industry terms. However, many software engineers sometimes use these technical terms when interacting with the marketing team, leading to confusion. For instance, when discussing projects like application or website development, the technical team might throw around some technical-sounding words like “JSON Web Encryption” and “graceful degradation.”
However, CMOs and other marketing team members prefer that the development team communicate in simple, plain English instead of assuming that non-tech teams are familiar with their terms. As such, many experts recommend that developers should always speak in simple English and break down concepts. Drawing out ideas through diagrams is also highly recommended so CMOs can understand what developers are communicating better.
Another crucial answer to the question “Why is Understanding the Development Team such a Challenge?” is that managers don’t understand developers who can’t switch tasks mid-project. Often, when developers are waist-deep in planned project work, many CMOs place requests for a quick fix in other areas in the stack. These CMOs assume that their request’s simplicity is just like switching tabs in a browser to work on something else and simply returning after completion.
Although these development teams exist as an umbrella to receive and act on these requests, developers often hate being derailed if not high-priority. Therefore, developers are sometimes reluctant to conduct these “quick fixes,” citing the cost involved in fixing other concerns as more meaningful and demanding than merely “switching tabs in a browser.” As such, many CMOs are left bewildered since they cannot grasp developers’ schedules and how different it is at a rudimentary level.
In the realm of information technology, many projects often take longer to complete successfully than initially intended. Consequently, many developers quickly communicate the time realities surrounding the successful completion of website development and other projects to CMOs. However, as with any C-Suite role, CMOs prefer things done quickly, so the development team’s prolonged turnaround estimate even with “simple” tasks can be puzzling, with CMOs wondering why their engineers cannot use their skills to move things along faster.
Website development and other projects take time, require money, and must be executed properly to guarantee maximum quality. Some projects can be completed inexpensively and quick but won’t be of the best quality. Similarly, a high-quality product can be done rapidly, but you will have to pay through the nose for it. It is very challenging to satisfy the time, cost, and quality demands of a single project. However, many CMOs prefer tasks to be of the highest quality, completed on time, and at minimum cost. Therefore, CMOs are often left scratching their heads after their development team informs them that they must sacrifice cost, quality, or time to complete their projects successfully.
Engineers often think they understand the business side of operations because it is generally more accessible to outsiders. After all, an intelligent engineer can quickly read a few business articles and make arguments about business strategy, while a marketer or salesperson can’t grasp tech knowledge overnight. Therefore, CMOs are often left confused by developers who try to overstep their scope of expertise.
Sometimes, engineers may try to force technically great but unmarketable products to the market. These software engineers often believe that once a product works well, it will be a big hit on the market based on technical merit alone. Consequently, CMOs become perplexed when developers don’t seem to get that a product’s success on the market extends beyond its technical capabilities alone, as several elements work together to ensure product success.
It is common knowledge that all product development starts with discussions about product vision, the market, strategy, and customers. These concerns are typically priorities of CMOs, and their teams, so many CMOs often don’t consider engineers’ involvement crucial at this stage of product development. Many CMOs assume engineers are too busy and disinterested in interacting with others instead of coding, so they are satisfied with leaving them out of product vision and strategy talks in the initial stages. However, for successful product delivery, engineers or at least the lead technologist should be involved in this stage to provide feedback on feasibility and give the technical the overarching product.
Many CMOs and other marketing staff consider developers as magicians who can solve any problem, irrespective of scope or complexity. However, even the highly specialized development team doesn’t know it all and may have to investigate new technologies and explore alternative ways to approach technological problems. Sometimes, CMOs and other non-tech team members are surprised when the development team has no answers to a particular tech problem.
Many CMOs bring ?simple? requests before their development teams, who typically ask many questions to understand what marketing is trying to achieve better. However, these CMOs are reluctant to answer any questions, seeing their quick and harmless requests as simple enough to be acted upon immediately. However, developers often factor in entangled dependencies and other considerations upon receiving these requests, so CMOs often don’t get their wishes granted immediately.
Communicate, inter-communicate, and over-communicate! When everyone feels validated and valued success follows.?When everyone feels validated and valued success follows.