The Workamajig Blog
Managing creatives is like managing creativity.
You want to keep both flowing—in the right direction—and this takes time and energy.
Engaged resources are effective resources. You must challenge your team to do great work within the time and budget allowed. You can’t give resources too little to do, for they will grow bored, and their creativity may wane. But nor can you overschedule them, because they could burn out.
You wonder why I chose project management as a career path? There are many reasons, but direct management of resources is not one them, and neither is daily personnel responsibilities. In fact, the position screams responsibility and leadership while promising to not bog down the project manager with the daily chores associated with management and oversight of direct reporting resources. In other words, project managers are not department managers.
Ensuring you have the right resources available at the right time is one of the most critical aspects in project management. Resource management requires attention in detail throughout a project. It requires attention in the beginning of the project for planning purposes and throughout the project in order to stay on top and to ensure that you have the right resources available when you need them.
Creative resource management is as important for finishing projects on time as budgets and deadlines. You must have the right people, at the right time, to do the right work. Otherwise, even your best-laid plans will go awry. But managing your resources can be difficult, particularly when you need them for multiple projects with conflicting deadlines. If everything is urgent, you can easily overschedule team members.
You can lavish the latest tools and technology upon them, but ultimately it is up to your people to complete your projects. Projects can fail if you don’t have enough people, the right people for the work, or the work for the right people.
Resource management is a very difficult area to master. Thankfully, resource management software can give you some help. There are many aspects to managing resources that are vastly improved with the addition of some simple management tools.
Here are four areas that are much simpler to manage with software than without.
Every project has different needs. Some may seem the same, but no two projects are the same. You may be able to get away with using the same project schedule template 90% of the way on two very similar projects as we all try to start projects using a project schedule shell / template from a similar project. It helps to ensure we don't overlook a common key deliverable or just lose time trying to reinvent the wheel on every project. Go with what you know - how got you there successfully before. But you won't be able to go 100% on something like this. You use it to help get you there. And it may get you 90% of the way there. But not all the way, as no two projects are the same.
Letting go is never easy. It's your baby, your creative juggernaut. You built the schedule, hopefully with some helpful tweaking by your creative team. You introduced yourself to the customer and kicked off the engagement. Up to a certain early point, you may have literally done everything on the project so far. It's all been your leadership, your effort to get it to the point of starting the “real work” on the project, the work that is going to create the creative solution or output that is turned over to the client. But unless you are prepared to do everything on the project – which you are not– you will need to begin delegating tasks to the team.
The more resources you have and the more work you must do, the more difficult it is to have the right person working on the right tasks to keep projects on time, within budget and in line with your clients’ expectations.
Resource management is a critical aspect of any project. It simply cannot be taken too lightly, though we often take the scheduling and availability of our project and creative resources for granted. Now's not the time to tell you which resource management software tool to use or which project management tool with great resource tracking to use. What needs to be established is the importance of actually tracking resources and planning, forecasting and re-forecasting throughout the project or creative initiative.