That’s the dream situation for any design agency or small enterprise, isn’t it?
And it’s easier to achieve than you might think. The secret is well-executed creative project management.
What is creative project management?
You might be thinking that production managers or management systems are typically associated with admin or labor-based tasks rather than creative or design projects, but a creative project management service or dedicated creative production manager can breathe new life and structure into your workflow.
At Design Force, we understand that creative agencies and growing teams have a lot of plates spinning at any one time. Trust us, we’re working across four time zones! And that typically, designers and creative people can be less than perfect when it comes to time management or forward planning. It’s that brilliantly creative brain of theirs.
To allow them to thrive and design their most creative and converting work, they’re better off focusing on the designing, rather than trying to manage their time or think about budgets.
That’s where a creative production manager or service comes in. They’re the ones that keep those plates spinning and allow your teams to thrive.
Thriving teams = room to scale.
Key benefits of a Creative Project Manager
They can see the entire project as a whole
Have you ever heard the phrase “cannot see the wood for the trees”? Essentially, when designers have their heads down, working on their individual assets, it can be difficult to see how each piece supports and works with the project as a whole.
A creative production manager has the luxury of being able to step back from the individual work and see the entire picture. This means that assets that don’t work, or have taken a new direction, can be spotted way before deadlines arise, so the final project stays feeling cohesive and bang on the mark.
They bridge the gap between client and design team
A creative production manager is the backbone of any design project, and we’ve learned this through tried and tested development. It’s because of this understanding that whenever an agency or small enterprise onboards our teams to work on their designs, we always assign a dedicated Design Manager first.
This means that our clients not only get access to our team of skilled designers from all over the world, but they also get access to one single contact to oversee the entire project, keep all work on track, and provide a clear process from brief to delivery.
How much simpler is that?
Without a dedicated creative production manager (or Design Manager in our case), busy clients like you would need to liaise with multiple designers at any one time, which can lead to missed instructions or brief changes being lost in translation. Not to mention added stress — no one wants that.
They understand the ebbs and flows of the design process
In contrast to non-creative project managers, design-focused managers understand that the very nature of creative and design work isn’t linear, so it can’t be structured that way.
Creative work changes quickly as briefs develop and projects progress, so the role of a creative manager is to react appropriately to any tweak in requirements, and ensure that the right designer is briefed correctly, on time, and within the project projections.
But they also need to inspire.
A creative project manager’s job is to understand the skills, qualities, and styles of the creatives they manage, and use them efficiently in order to encourage the designers to produce design work that exceeds expectations.
They keep projects within budget, and get deliverables, delivered
Yes, the most important thing about taking on any design project is making sure that it gets delivered on time and within (or even under) budget.
A dedicated creative production manager can take all of this organization away from the designers, so they can focus on designing. However, the project manager will be able to keep a close eye on each area of the workflow, assessing and refining as they go to make sure that work is delivered to spec and on time.
They ensure resources don’t get wasted
Have you ever completed a project only to realize that there was a more suitable designer for the job? Or that a design piece has changed direction completely when it was too late to revert back to the brief?
A creative production manager will make sure this never happens.
They know the best designers for any particular job and understand the workflow through and through. By working directly with both the designer and the client or business, they can make sure that both sides stay on track. So that designers don’t veer off, and clients don’t scope creep.
They’re effective communicators
Whether that’s verbally or via a project management tool like Asana, Notion, or Monday.com, creative project managers are excellent communicators.
For us, our Design Managers have received plenty of praise from our clients and designers for their ability to communicate and keep everyone up to date. We’re pretty proud of that.
Do you need a creative project manager?
In short, yes.
They are the cog that holds the entire design machine together. They streamline, forecast, budget, and communicate with both sides of the party, and we think they’re a vital asset to our teams, as well as yours.
If you’d like to learn more about how to access our awesome Design Managers and their efficient, world-class designers click here to book a free demo and have a feel of how things work.