Creative Project Manager – What does it take?


There are many unique challenges that await the creative project manager, and there is a unique range of skills that you might need in order to progress from good to great if you want to show that you have what it takes.

In order to lead any team, a project manager needs to have a good deal of both self-awareness and also an awareness of the people that they are working with. When it comes to a creative team however, they need to take it one step further and think of the project alongside any deliverables all whilst remembering not to lose sight of the schedule and daily details of the project – all very important project management skills that are taught on most project management courses.

Going from good to great

When it comes to a great creative project manager they are made up of part manager, part creative and it is this combination that has the capability of producing results. However, it is more than this is needed, emotional intelligence is the key as well as communication that is clear and effective.

If you want to be a great creative project manager then you need to be:

  1. Empathic
  2. Able to communicate well
  3. Possess the correct tools

In order to improve your creative side, it can be a good idea to work towards getting in touch with creative thinking. This means you need to be curious so give yourself some time to reflect, and don’t avoid the pressures, they can really help.

What are the challenges a project manager might face?

The first and possibly biggest challenge a creative project manager will probably find themselves facing is simply that they are working with creatives, this can mean they will be a little bit more invested in the product that they are working on than a team that isn’t made up of creatives. So, learning to be a little more sensitive with communication, especially when making critical remarks is vital if you don’t want to end up offending.

You will also need to be very clear when defining the project, this will allow everyone to remain focused on what they are doing rather than being too creative and taking the project in a different direction. That clear communication also matters when it comes to deadlines, you need to ensure they are understood and be firm, remember giving constraints may even produce better creative solutions.

Creative people can be significantly more detail orientated than other project team members you have worked with, so it is important to understand this and learn how to work with it. If you have a range of different people on your team you may need to learn to adapt the approach that you use in order to keep everyone on side. You may find going on a project manager course that can help you with your communication skills would be a good idea to help you with this.

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