What is a Creative Project Manager? The Full Job Description

July 20, 2023
3 minute read

Creativity and business are often seen as being at odds with one another, as creativity is a limitless resource while businesses aim to achieve much with limited resources. At first glance, this creates a hard choice between allowing a generous flow of ideas and observing established constraints on budget or time—this is where creative project management comes into play.

A creative project manager is in charge of this balancing act, implementing structures native to project management so that creative energy is optimized towards clear business goals, while also keeping resource allocations on time and within budget. Their creativity is manifested in figuring out how big ideas can be realized with limited resources.


What is a Creative Project Manager?

A creative project manager oversees the planning, executive, and closure of creative projects—key to this is working with various stakeholders, especially creatives like graphic designers, copywriters, videographers, photographers, and more.

Emphasis is placed on the creative aspect of being a project manager, as often different creatives need to work together to build a cohesive campaign. Unlike a regular project manager role, a creative project manager is expected to have a deeper understanding of, and empathy for, the various creative processes observed by the team. An appreciation for concepts like design thinking, ideation, storytelling, and aesthetics set the creative project manager apart from a more general project management role.

In effect, a creative project manager will often be focused on highly creative projects and challenges.

The Creative Project Manager Job Description

A creative project manager’s responsibilities very closely resemble a standard project manager job description, and it can be classified into three main areas:

1. Planning and organization

Creative project managers play a huge part in helping to shape ideas for a project. They facilitate goal-setting activities for the team, the results of which inform how a creative project manager breaks down tasks and allocates resources. This helps them keep the team on track to meet important milestones and deliveries for the project at hand.

2. Communication

Beyond project execution, creative project managers need to be able to work with various stakeholders in and out of the production team. This requires an ability to work with different personalities, meaning negotiation and conflict resolution skills are critical for a creative project manager to have. This brings the added benefit of helping maintain or even improve team morale.

3. Monitoring

Creative project managers play a supportive role once the project gets going, mainly by monitoring the status of active tasks—this also gives them time to address potential roadblocks facing upcoming tasks. Someone in this role is also expected to engage in quality control, making sure that all deliveries satisfy established requirements.


How to Become an Effective Creative Project Manager

Now that we understand the role and responsibilities of a creative project manager, here are some of the ways you can build the skills necessary to become effective in the role:

Pursue related degrees and courses

Academics serve as the traditional route to qualifying for a creative project management role—degrees like communications, marketing, and management are often attractive to have on your resume when looking to work in creative management.

Engage in the creative process

Experience is an invaluable opportunity for building deep understanding and empathy for the work that creatives do, which is a huge advantage for creative project managers. Consider taking up the actual creative roles on the way to a project management role, as the familiarity will help you make faster, more informed decisions when working with team members who specialize in those fields.

Polish your written and verbal communication skills

Liaising between the creative team and various other stakeholders is an essential part of project management, and a creative manager with effective communication skills provides a highly underrated value addition to the team. Apart from the daily interactions that are required of the project manager, an important step to take in building this skill is to ask for feedback from the team—each team, and every stakeholder, is different, and having direct instruction from them on which communication styles work for them is key to building synergy in the project.

One piece of reading we recommend is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, a master class in interpersonal relations both in and out of the work context.


A Creative Project Manager’s Best Friend

An effective project manager acts as an anchor for creative teams, balancing the limitless passion of a creative team with the needs and constraints of every business/project, and ensuring that both creative and business requirements are satisfied. By building essential skills in planning and communication, creative project managers help the team focus on the work they do best while keeping stakeholders informed and satisfied.

To do this, creative project managers nowadays make use of project management tools to stay on top of projects—this is where Workamajig comes into play.

With Workamajig, the premier marketing management software, you have an all-in-one solution for planning, organizing, and delegating tasks, and easily transitioning between any of the three. Easily adjust your schedule or modify task requirements and assignees to ensure efficiency, and use native reporting tools to measure your progress, as well as identify and address roadblocks along the way.

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