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Project management for creative teams: How to tame creative minds 🦁

Project management for creative teams: How to tame creative minds 🦁
September 2023

Are you a project manager for creative projects? Then you probably sometimes feel like you're running a circus πŸŽͺ. Among the team members you have, for example, the juggler who whirls ideas through the air so fast that you get dizzy just watching him. Or the trapeze artist who has airy visions but completely forgets the safety net. And of course the clown who comes up with creative ideas all the time, but has absolutely nothing to do with structure.

Yes, creative people - they are bubbling over with ideas, enthusiastic and totally likeable (πŸ’›). And sometimes... They present you with challenges as a project manager. For example, when structure, time books and deadlines come into play. But don't worry: with a brilliant strategy, any creative team can be managed successfully and, above all, happily. Yours, too. πŸ¦„βœ¨

In our blog post, we serve you 5 tips on masterful project management for creative teams. Laaaadies and gentlemen, clear the ring! πŸŽͺ

Tip 1: Time tracking in the creative circus? Make it easy-peasy!

Starting point: Time tracking is about as popular with creatives as socks at Christmas. After all, who (apart from you in your role as project manager or team leader) thinks about time sheets during creative phases? That's right. No one.

The challenge: Time recording without the constant "Have you already...? It's not just about the right system. The real art? Motivating your creative people so that they (almost) happily book their time. Without constant prodding. Without the feeling of interrupting the creative flow. And without you being the annoying supervisor.

The solution with awork:

πŸ‘‰ Stopwatch function: With awork, the stopwatch starts with one click - then your team's creative moments are recorded directly and assigned to the corresponding tasks.

πŸ‘‰ Calendar synchronisation: Convert appointments directly into times? Easy! The brainstorming session, a meeting with clients or a workshop are booked immediately in awork. So there are no gaps in the time recording.

πŸ‘‰ Plan without panic: Your team can schedule tasks directly in their calendars and record times. This blocks time for project tasks and prevents anyone from spontaneously placing a call or similar in this focus time. And you? You don't have to keep checking on times. πŸ’˜

πŸ‘‰ Smooth calendar integration: The back and forth between different tabs is a thing of the past. With awork's drag-and-drop function, your team can easily enter times in the calendar.



Tracking time in creative teams was never easier!



Tip 2: Use the magic of design ✨

Starting point: Project management software without a beautiful design? Doesn't go down well with the members of your creative team. They don't want to lose their creative energy to cumbersome user interfaces that rob them of any joy.

The challenge: To choose a tool that not only works, but also touches the creative heart. The project management software should shout, "I am beautiful AND practical!" Your creatives crave (metaphorical) glitter, an appealing user experience and a design that is a joy to click on.

The solution with awork:

πŸ‘‰ Project management made pretty: No boring tone-in-tone here. Instead, colours that motivate and a design that inspires and remains clear at the same time.

πŸ‘‰ Project management made simple: We would almost go so far as to say "awork can be operated blindfolded". But just almost. In any case, every function is located exactly where you look first. On top of that, awork's usability ensures that your creatives don't have to keep leafing through the manual.

πŸ‘‰ User experience at its best: awork takes your creative team by the hand and guides them through the process. The focus is on the user experience of your team members so that they enjoy juggling their tasks efficiently. All workflows feel smooth - move tasks, enter times or communicate with others.


Tip 3: Make people want to track their statusΒ 

Starting point: The mood of your creative team sinks as soon as the word "status update" is mentioned? Creatives have their heads so full of ideas that it's often hard to bring order into them. The thought of scrolling through endless lists or chasing a status often sounds as fun as a month without coffee - namely not at all.

The challenge: Not only navigating a team of creative freethinkers through exciting projects, but also keeping track of them and steering them in the same direction together. This means, for example, taking the designer out of his pixel world and the copywriter out of his word desert and bringing them to a common denominator. πŸ˜…

The solution with awork:

πŸ‘‰ Update status easily: Feels like a game with awork - and not like work. With the clear task view, creative team members always have an overview of their tasks - whether in lists, on kanban boards or in timelines.

πŸ‘‰ Co-create instead of just collaborate: The visual and user-friendly feedback of awork allows everyone in the team to check the complete status of a project. This way, your creatives feel not only informed, but also involved. πŸ’˜

πŸ‘‰ Clarity creates freedom: With awork, everyone knows what's coming up next. That means less guesswork and more room for creativity.

πŸ‘‰ Always everything on the screen: Thanks to awork, future problems can be identified at an early stage. This leaves more time for finding creative solutions and no more need for firefighting.

πŸ‘‰ Set priorities easily: With awork, the projects of your creative team can be rearranged or prioritised with a few clicks.


Tip 4: Ensure nice feedback loops

Starting point: Feedback loops are inevitable in the creative industry. However, creative people often end up in a sea of comments - without a plan or constructive advice. If the feedback then also lacks empathy, it often ends up with a scratch on the creative pride. πŸ’” And that's when even the bravest creative loses the overview... and the motivation.

The challenge: To design a feedback process that is not only transparent and understandable, but also offers room for empathy and appreciation. In this way, constructive feedback finds its place without extinguishing the artistic spark.

The solution with awork:

πŸ‘‰ Automation with a system: Workflow is simplified with the "if-then" automations in awork. For example: "Whenever the status is set to 'feedback', THEN assign the task to Julia". This way, no tasks end up in nirvana just because nobody knows the current status.

πŸ‘‰ Clarity through notes: With the comment function in awork, feedback is placed directly and precisely in the appropriate places.

πŸ‘‰ Pictures > Words: Thanks to integrated mockups or sketches, change requests can be visualised directly.

πŸ‘‰ No more post-it chaos: awork's dashboard collects all feedback notes centrally. No more clutter, no more lost information.

πŸ‘‰ Quick filters for fine-tuning: Your team can prioritise feedback and work through it point by point. You can easily set up a feedback widget via the dashboard using the task filters. This way, team members have a direct overview of all tasks that are assigned to them AND have a feedback status. With the status update feature, everyone involved is always well informed.

πŸ‘‰ Backlog: We present the "we'll take care of it later" drawer. Because: Not every feedback is an emergency. With a backlog list, you simply store ideas for later.


Feedback in creative teams:Β With empathy to nicer processes


Tip 5: Make capacity planning realistic

Starting point: When the creative fireworks are in full swing, minutes turn into hours and hours sometimes into days. Your creative team is fully immersed in the briefing and forgets that there is still a clock ticking and more to-dos to work on.

The challenge: It's all about keeping the creative chaos in order. In order to make the project a success, you have to strike a balance between creative freedom and organisational duty, so to speak - and pack the whole thing into a capa-planning. And without your team having to work night shifts.

The solution with awork:

πŸ‘‰ Capacity radar: spot at a glance who has room for new tasks and who is already working at full capacity. In the case of urgent requests, you can find available time slots in no time at all in order to quickly supply prios.

πŸ‘‰Individual working hours: Every creative has his or her own rhythm. Adjust working hours smoothly and let everyone flow.

πŸ‘‰Absence planning: Keep track of holidays, sick days or other time off. Personio synchronisation makes it even easier.

πŸ‘‰ No more double bookings: Thanks to the sync between awork and the calendar, there are no nasty surprises.Β 

πŸ‘‰ Transparency in real time: With the live update, the entire team always stays in the loop. Changes are displayed in real time.

πŸ‘‰ Planning at all levels: From a rough overview of the year to detailed weekly planning - you plan everything easily and quickly.Β 

πŸ‘‰ Integrate other tools: Bring awork together with other favourite tools (such as Slack and Microsoft Teams).


No more blind spots:Β Know the capacities of your creative team


Conclusion: creativity + organisation = amazing show ❀️

With all the stunts in the daily routine of project management, what is needed is 1) simple time recording 2) a beautiful design 3) creative status tracking 4) regulated feedback with empathy 5) capacity planning that runs smoothly. With these ingredients and awork as a tool, the creative hustle and bustle becomes a great show: because what were previously chaotic individual acts puzzle together into a perfect team choreo. Efficient, creative and without any of those "Oops, that slipped through" moments.

Project management deluxe: Lovingly tame creative people with awork πŸŽͺ

In creative agencies, normal project management software is often not enough. Your industry needs something that adapts to the artistic flow, leaves room for manoeuvre and at the same time creates structure in projects. awork is your reliable circus assistant, with which you can steer the creative chaos into an orderly course. Want to check out what this can look like for your project management and business? Let's (a)work it out! 🦁

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About the author
Jennifer Hiener
Freelance Copywriter
Jenni is a creative through and through. As a copywriter, she has gained a lot of experience in agencies and as a freelancer, familiarising herself with numerous PM tools and experiencing a wide variety of workflows in collaboration with her clients. Happy work is important to her and she puts this into every line of text she writes. πŸ¦„
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