Improving Your Project Management Style

We all know that project management isn’t as simple as it may seem. It takes a certain type of individual to excel at the level most clients and internal stakeholders expect. Working efficiently can make or break a project, and for even the most organized of people, the right tools and skills are needed to effectively manage the milestones and deliverables required.

Kick-Off Strong

To determine the management needs of a project, many factors come into play. A kick off meeting should be held to agree what is the most appropriate route – taking into consideration the size of team, timeline and overall scope of the project. For example, a single ad with a static image and copy using a designer and copywriter has much different PM requirements than that of a website development project. Regardless of size and scope, all kick-off meetings should result in the distribution of a creative brief to all parties outlining expectations and requirements.

Determine Key Players

In the initial phase of the project, it is important to determine the main players within the process. Many stakeholders will likely be involved, however, the majority of the work and decision making tends to fall on a select few. Directing attentions to these individuals and building relationships, while keeping all parties in the loop will move the process along with minimal delay and clear communication.

Identify ‘Stuck’ Spots

It’s inevitable that hiccups will occur. Act swiftly to preempt any small issues from becoming large problems and identify where these pain points originate. Identifying these problem areas will minimize risk and lessen the probability of a failed project. Be aware, however, that mistakes do occur and as the old adage says, ‘if you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn for next time’. Chalk it up to creative trial and error.

Use the Tools of the Trade

Use collaborative project management software. The days of organizing via folders in your email box and sending email after email are over (at least we hope it will be soon). There are a plethora of stellar project management tools in the market today, and choosing one is the easy part (most are free or available at a nominal charge which can be worked in the project budget). Getting your stakeholders to use it is quite another. Ensure you know how to use the tool and offer to give a quick tutorial to any members of your team that may need a leg up.

Ultimately remember that ‘no man is an island’. Although there tends to be one project manager at the helm keeping the process flowing, a creative project is a collaborative effort. Tapping into the talents and methodologies of your team will result in the optimal outcome.

Vanessa Petersen

As Executive Director of Brand Strategy based in ArtVersion’s Portland office, Vanessa manages both national and West Coast accounts. She brings with her a passion for strategy with extensive experience in creative marketing, brand growth and development. She is a true advocate of storytelling and brand building from the inside out, and her keen knowledge of the marketplace, trend patterns and usability lead her to identify opportunities that can inspire powerful design strategies.

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