Anyone who has ever worked in the creative field understands the struggle to stay organized when it comes to project management. You can spend hours creating color-coded Gantt charts or hundreds of dollars on a subscription to the latest project management software, only to have the inevitable happen: unforeseen change. No matter how hard we work on timelines and due dates, things have a way of getting off course.
While you can’t avoid delays or changes, there is a method to dealing with the madness (and it rhymes, so you know it’s legitimate!): delegate, create, update. Let me explain…
When a new job is identified, the first thing to do is determine who will be involved with that particular project. From there, define specific roles and assign tasks, as well as time frames for each task.
Once the teams are set, produce a timeline that details duties for both you and your client, and make sure to share that timeline with everyone involved! Now, everyone knows that a “perfect world scenario” is close to impossible to obtain, so distribute this timeline with the understanding that the dates are not “written in stone.” Scheduling changes are inevitable, and having the flexibility to manage these changes will make the process a lot smoother for everyone involved.
Once the preliminary draft of the timeline has been circulated, take ownership of the tasks that you are responsible for, and strive to adhere to the milestone dates set. Although not all the dates are hard deadlines, producing and submitting your task assignments within the timeframe makes the entire process go smoother (and prevents a lot of late nights and pots of coffee).
Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more! The key to keeping your sanity in the midst of a project with multiple moving parts and even more “decision-makers” is making sure all team members are privy to the same information at any and all phases. People change their minds, project direction is tweaked, and that’s to be expected. If processes are in place to have those changes noted and have the appropriate people be apprised of those changes, not only do you create a “paper trail” of sorts to refer to, but in the event a team member is not available, the information that may otherwise have been only in their heads, is documented for all to access.
Sounds like a lot of time spent on documenting, updating, coordinating, organizing, collaborating, comparing notes, etc., but believe me, over the years, this process has proved invaluable over and over again. What time is spent coordinating, collaborating, and consistently updating is recouped ten-fold when the actual deadline finally arrives and the end product is a resounding success.
Staying organized in this industry is no easy feat, but following the mantra of delegate, create, update is a method we’ve adopted and would recommend to anyone struggling with project management.
How do you stay organized in the creative field? Tell us in the comments!