Creative Project Management: The Definitive Guide

With a creative project management solution, you can spend less time chasing information and spend more time perfecting deliverables to stay on time and within budget.

Keeping creativity on the right track

Managing any project is challenging in its own right. But when you're tackling a creative project that involves bringing ideas to life, the odds are stacked against you. Project management doesn’t usually go hand-in-hand with creative teams, but here’s why it should:

A lack of communication, constant back-and-forth with multiple teams, and several iterations of the final product bouncing around create a ton of confusion. Many of these artist undertakings go over budget and take far longer than they should. But it's not your team's fault or even an issue with creative project managers. In most cases, it's a lack of proper tools and organization.

Creative project management is the backbone of any creative work your team does. It helps you move from the initial idea and planning phase all the way to delivering the final project. Instead of relying on a loose set of procedures, successful management is about being meticulously organized and achieving measurable results to get things done!

Not sure if this approach is right for you? We've put together this definitive guide to answer all your questions and help you see why using creative project management software is a must!

Let's go!

What is creative project management?

The best way to look at creative project management is to view it as a framework or blueprint. Creative projects are a lot like building a house. You might have a design you want to develop, but you'll need to work with many subcontractors to iron out the details and make it happen.

Creative project management works the same way. But instead of subcontractors, you have separate teams that take care of everything from image asset creation to copywriting. There are many moving parts, and it's the job of a creative project manager to keep things on track.

Creative project management software can go a long way to making that happen. Instead of relying on a single person to be the go-between, you can use a centralized software solution to figure out what needs to be done and when.

Successful creative project management breaks everything down into actionable tasks. It turns ideas into a reality and shows every stakeholder how you're going to get there.

Creative Project Management Template

Managing a creative project just got a whole lot easier. Use Collato's free template to translate your overarching goals into actionable steps and get your creative project on track.

Examples of creative project management

Project management is more complex than people realize, and every project's needs are different. But it doesn't matter if you're doing a small-scale, in-house project with only a handful of people or a global assignment with global teams. Every art-based project you tackle can use creative project management.

There's a good chance that most successful marketing campaigns and creative pushes by recognizable brands have some degree of project management behind them. That's especially true with global brands that have to synch up assets and launch campaigns simultaneously.

Take brands like Apple, Intel, or Playstation as an example. Those brands have worldwide launches and creative teams in multiple countries. Do you think they rely on emails or spreadsheets to get things done? In all likelihood, those companies take full advantage of creative project management software.

One real-world example that paid off tremendously was Airbnb's project from many years ago. Airbnb is now a recognizable name worldwide, but it didn't start that way. When the company first gained traction, it did a big creative push to produce marketing material for over 50 countries. The project involved video trailers, print media, photos, and more.

Initially, the creative teams worked together to manage assets on a shared spreadsheet document. You read that right! Teams around the world collaborated through a spreadsheet!

Airbnb didn't take long to realize that spreadsheets weren't cutting it for this massive creative project. So, they adopted new creative project management solutions. That change instantly improved workflow and made the project an enormous success.

6 reasons why you need creative project management software

Do you still believe that creative projects are pretty cut-and-dry? Think again.

Creative project management is indispensable in today's digital world. There are far too many things that can go wrong. There's no room for error with time and money on the line.

Fortunately, creative project management software like Collato makes your life much easier. Here are just a few ways you'll benefit from using a solid management software solution.

1. A central view

If you've ever done a project without creative project management in place, you know how much of a free-for-all it becomes. You need to have some structure to avoid confusion, unnecessary delays, and silly mistakes.

A platform like Collato is fantastic because it lets you put every detail into one centralized location. Creative project managers can take the helm, organizing every minute detail for all relevant stakeholders to see. Instead of asking a million questions or struggling to find someone who knows the answers, your teams can refer to the software!

There, they can see who they need to go to or find the answers they're looking for directly. What's not to like about that?

Because creative project management details every step of the process from start to finish, it also ensures that no one goes beyond the project's scope. Scope creep is a dreaded problem that project managers must combat to stay within budget and on time. When you detail the scope and make it accessible for everyone involved, keeping the project confined is a cinch!

2. Turn goals into action

Are you having trouble using your team's talents? What about keeping track of who's assigned to what? These issues are easy to solve with creative project management software.

Collato uses a card-based system for easy visualization. Within those cards, you can assign tasks to teams or individuals. See workloads at a glance and make sure you're using everyone's talents the best way possible.

Creative project management cuts back the confusion and provides accountability every step of the way.

3. Keep everyone on the same page

Another big perk of creative project management is seeing what stage every process is in compared to the bigger picture. In most cases, some tasks rely on another's completion before your team can begin. For example, your illustration team might have to wait for finalized logo plans from your design team before they can get to work.

Instead of email ping-pong and constantly badgering one another, everyone can refer to the creative project management timeline. See where everyone is, get real-time status updates, and keep everything moving smoothly.

4. Streamlined workflows

With schedules in place, you'll notice that creative project management does wonders to improve workflow. There's no question about when tasks need to be done. It's all laid out for every stakeholder to see!

Your teams know their responsibilities and deadlines, resulting in a significant productivity boost. Who doesn't want that?

5. Easy breezy collaboration

Collaboration is the key to successful creative projects. Unfortunately, a lack of communication and time-consuming meetings can make it more frustrating than anything else. Creative project management makes working together easy.

First, creative project management software acts as a file depository. All files and content are in one place, ensuring that you're working from the latest versions at all times. Because the work is easily accessible, working together becomes less cumbersome.

Creative project management also streamlines communication. Gone are the days of missed messages or trying to collaborate over confusing platforms. It's all done on one central platform, letting you unlock the true potential of your team's collaborative abilities.

6. Feedback made easy

Last but not least, creative project management is excellent for on-point feedback. Getting the "OK" from creative project managers isn't always easy. It often involves multiple file iterations, confusing names, and a constant back-and-forth that does nothing but waste time.

Creative project management lets you leave feedback in one place. Not only that, but you can invite stakeholders to leave comments. With Collato, you can share a link and have decision-makers finalize work or ask for revisions without signing up for their own account.

The days of chasing emails and waiting anxiously for the next revision are over.

Take the mess out of creative work

You'd be surprised by how much of a difference good creative project management can make. These types of assignments can be an absolute nightmare. But when you stay organized and keep everyone on the right page, you can produce your best work yet!

Check out the creative project management template from Collato and give it a try to see how much smoother your next creative undertaking goes!

Learn more about creative project management


What is creative project management?
Creative project management is a way to manage teams and keep freeform projects moving in the right direction. It's a framework and guide that supports the project to keep it within scope, on time, and within budget. Good creative project management can cover every stage of the process, from initial ideation to deliverables. It turns basic ideas into actionable tasks, acting as the ultimate form of project organization.
What skills do creative project managers need?
Creative project managers take the lead on complex assignments. They are typically in charge of several teams, requiring good communication. Managers should also have empathy and understand the needs of artistic individuals. It also helps to have natural organization skills, industry knowledge, and a knack for conflict resolution. Creative project managers should also be inspiring every step of the way! These projects can be stressful, and a good manager will maintain a sense of organizational calm that people can trust.
What are the best tools for creative project management?
The best tools for creative project management let you create tasks, assign duties, monitor progress, leave feedback, and more. Collato is an excellent creative project management software solution. It has all of that and more.