The essential guide to creative project management

When creative teams are working on projects that involve high levels of collaboration, they can need help staying organised. That’s where creative project management comes in. Creative project management software solutions like ZingHub are digital tools designed to help your creative projects run smoothly.

The following guide explains the different types of project management and outlines the important steps you need to follow when working on a creative project.  


What’s the difference between creative project management, creative agency project management and general project management?

Managing creative projects and everyday work projects are similar in many ways. They both involve planning, organisation, and the management of teams to achieve company goals. However, there are some key differences between them and the tools you need to get the job done.


Creative project management

Creative project management is necessary for any situation where a team is required to create creative assets. This can include design, animation, video production, marketing and publishing. It helps make sure everyone involved knows what they need to do and when they need to do it whilst also helping keep track of all the different parts of the project to make sure they come to life. Creative project management typically requires collaborative working from a wide range of stakeholders. Compared to traditional project management, creative project management generally needs more input while the work is in progress in the form of status updates, review, and approval.  

Tools required: Many tools and applications can be useful for creative project management. Software designed specifically for creative industries like ZingHub can help to assign tasks to different users, set deadlines, track progress and integrate with design software like Adobe Creative Cloud.  

Industries: Design, animation, video, production, marketing, and publishing.  


Creative agency project management

Creative agency project management is the management of external creative services such as advertising, branding, design or marketing. It’s the responsibility of the creative agency project manager to ensure that projects are completed on time and budget. Similarly to creative project management, there is a need for more collaborative working. In creative agency project management, not only does creative work need to be signed off internally, but it also requires approval from the client.  

Tools required: The toolset required for creative agency project management is very similar to creative project management. In addition to creative software such as Adobe Creative Cloud, you may also need time management software and creative project management tools like ZingHub to streamline processes and make them more efficient.  

Industries: Serves all industries including eCommerce, services, B2B and B2C.  

Traditional project management

General project management usually involves more structured and predictable processes, such as accounting, construction, or software design.

Tools required: Industry specific tools such as accounting software e.g. QuickBooks, Xero and general project management systems.  

Industries: Non-creative industries such as medicine, accounting, and construction.


What are the key stages of a creative project?

Regardless of if you’re working in-house or managing an agency for your creative projects, you’ll need a creative workflow to ensure that projects are carried out efficiently for maximum return on investment. Here, we’ll explain the key stages of creative planning from initiation to measuring success.  


Initiation

The initiation stage is the first stage of a creative project - it is where objectives are outlined, and the shape of your project starts to become defined. The first step in initiation is to identify the goals for the project, as well as the resources needed to carry out the project. It’s important to bring in any stakeholders at this early stage of the project to keep them involved throughout the whole process.  

In the publishing industry, the initiation stage of a creative project could start with a kick-off meeting for a magazine. In this meeting, the goals are identified, and the audience is defined. The purpose of the meeting might be to decide on the list of features or themes for the coming year and identify how much advertising space or revenue will be needed to make the magazine profitable that year.


Planning

Planning includes defining the scope of work along with resources and budget. It’s where you bring in your creative team and brief them on the work that needs to be carried out.  

In a creative agency, this is where deliverables and timelines would be outlined. This could include keyword research, audience personas and audience building, as well as a defined plan as to how and when to activate PPC campaigns or social media campaigns.

Execution

The execution stage of creative workflow is where the actual work is carried out, this might be through creative content writing, the design of a brochure or advert. Or, in video production where the footage is filmed and edited. This is the part of the project where the plans and ideas developed during the planning stages are brought into action.

The execution stage is a key part of the creative process, it’s where the creative team brings the project to life. It is a time of intense activity and collaboration. The creative project manager will need to monitor the project’s progress and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that major tasks and deliverables are completed on time.


Proofing and approval

The proofing and approval stage is where creative assets are reviewed and confirmed by the stakeholders or, in the case of creative agencies, the client. This stage is key for a successful project as it provides the opportunity to catch any mistakes or issues before it goes to the client, customer or public.

The proofing and approval stage of the project might include checking for any typos or spelling and grammar errors along with meeting design and layout requirements and the audience’s needs. The proofing and approval stage might also involve feedback from stakeholders, clients, or subject matter experts to make sure the creative assets are fit for purpose.    


Measuring success

At the end of each creative project, it’s important to review all of the outcomes of the project - summarising what went well and what didn’t go as well as expected. By measuring success, you can analyse your learnings for future projects.  

Because GoProof removes the need for a large MarTech stack, it’s easier to review the whole process once it’s complete, as all the creative assets and the record of all steps of the creative plan are stored in one place.

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