Project Management & Creativity: An Unlikely Alliance

Jim Harkless

Project Management & Creativity

You’d be hard pressed to think of a drier business term than “project management“. It’s not the sort of concept or discussion topic that you’d usually associate with creativity, yet within any business that’s serious about its efficiency and profitability, the two ought to be inseparable. While project managers are known and notorious for being hopeless bean counters with minds geared towards the bottom line and cold, hard numbers, the best and most effective among them utilize creative means to effect successful projects. Indeed, creativity should be a prerequisite for the position.

While taking the hard data surrounding exactly what will go into a particular project and condensing it into charts and workflows is of course a science, it is also an art form. It takes a visionary mind to recognize weak points, bottlenecks, and potential points of improvement. But while many great minds in the field have the natural skills and capabilities to execute projects successfully, unfortunately a large number of companies fail to provide their project teams with the tools necessary to fully realize their talents.

Make sure your team is equipped with the most connected, modern, feature-rich software available, so those creative minds in your project management departments can make use of their great ideas. There are many excellent simple project management software tools that can help speed up the creative process. Thinking outside the box becomes so much more within the realm of possibility when your best people are able to quickly and effectively access and analyze the data they need no matter where they are. Project management software can help your company no matter its size – project management software for small businesses is readily available. Without being able to see the whole picture, your project managers and other division leaders won’t be able to make the on-the-fly adjustments and tweaks that they need to in order to successfully ship and complete significant projects for your business.

Another important principle to keep in mind is that your people’s creativity should be fostered. While having established processes is extremely important to the stability and consistency of any company’s output, being able to recognize when reinventing the wheel is not only acceptable but even necessary for companies that strive for greatness. Working within your company’s existing paradigms and towards a common vision, your project managers and other staff should nonetheless always be alert and able to recognize when and where there is potential to iron out inefficiencies. When a company’s culture does not contribute to the cultivation of creative minds, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut as your outdated ideas grow stagnate in today’s fast-paced marketplace.

Acquiring talent in the realm of project management is often a process that, perhaps unintentionally, emphasizes credentials and raw numbers over an ability to solve problems with wild, unconventional solutions. Instead, business owners and managers should focus on encouraging truly creative approaches to efficiently pumping out important projects. While this isn’t an easy shift to make, it’s one that will in the long run benefit your company in unimaginable ways.