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Just because creativity is like catching lightning in a bottle doesn't mean you can't manage it, right? We all love to imagine creative teams like wild stallions, galloping free on the plains of their minds, but sometimes you need a rancher to wrangle those wicked ideas into shape.

That's where creative project management comes in. Because while you can't manufacture inspiration, you can harness it with the right kind of guidance. Creative project management is a specialized approach that focuses on overseeing and organizing creative projects such as marketing campaigns, graphic design work, video production, product launches, and more. It involves managing a team of creative professionals, setting project timelines, budgeting, and getting to market quickly.

Specific software tools are commonly used to support this approach. They allow teams to manage tasks collaboratively, keep track of timelines, share files, and communicate effectively. With streamlined creative project management, businesses can make sure their creative work delivers on time and is of high quality.

Let’s explore the ins and outs of managing creative projects, from understanding key principles to leveraging PM and DAM software to save your team precious time.

What is creative project management?

Creative project management goes beyond traditional task-based management. It’s the process of managing and coordinating creative projects with the goal of producing better quality work more efficiently and in less time. This can range from creating content like videos or e-books, designing logos or websites, crafting campaigns, or any other kind of visual projects.

Creative project management integrates collaboration and ideation into the process, enabling project managers and creative teams to stay on track with tasks, progress, and priorities in real time. By employing the right tools, all stages of the creative process can be interconnected, facilitating seamless collaboration, efficient content creation, and timely delivery of projects.

When all stages of the creative process interconnect, you spend more time getting work done rather than wasting time endlessly searching and switching between multiple platforms.

Inadequate creative project management can cause bottlenecks and hinder meeting the high demand for marketing and content. Poor resource management and communication can increase the cycle time for review, affecting the project's quality, and timely delivery.

Tracking project milestones becomes critical, especially when dealing with uncertain creative work. Without a creative project management system, team members and stakeholders may lack access to real-time progress updates, leading to confusion.

How is it different from traditional project management?

The main difference lies in planning and execution. Traditional project management tools focus heavily on tasks, with limited integration with creative tools. It’s more about optimizing productivity and completing work quickly.

On the other hand, creative project management requires a different approach since projects are often open-ended with no fixed outcome. It provides a deeper level of detail when managing the creative process, offering direct interaction with assets and collaboration between teams. Innovation and creativity are at the forefront rather than ‌last in priority.

Traditional project management may provide some visibility and prioritization for tasks but not to the same extent as creative project management. With a creative project management solution and DAM software like Brandfolder and Smartsheet, teams can make sure their projects run smoothly and they can prioritize tasks accordingly.

Why is a standardized creative project management system important?

As creative marketers, we understand the intricacies of managing creative projects and can develop systems and workflows to navigate them. However, searching through multiple platforms can be a time-consuming and inefficient process. Juggling several tools may seem manageable, but disjointed systems often result in headaches.

Project management serves as a tool to support creative project management and ensure assignments are delivered on time, within budget, and to a high standard, all while empowering the creative team to bring their vision to life. But sometimes, it’s not enough.

A standardized creative asset management software provides key advantages that traditional project management can't handle, such as:

  • It enhances visibility for both project managers and creatives.
  • It streamlines the creative process by enabling direct interaction with source files.
  • It facilitates collaboration and file sharing among team members, improving communication.
  • It supports efficient management of different file types critical for creative organizations.
  • It ensures a consistent workflow and organization across the team.
  • It enables teams to reuse and repurpose creative with content templates and automation.
  • It allows visibility into the process to remove bottlenecks.

With a creative project management system, your team can improve productivity and reduce errors while making sure projects are on-track from concept to completion.

The 3 biggest challenges of creative project management

Without a standardized system in place, managing creative projects is no walk in the park.

We're sticking with just three challenges here, but we could probably list a dozen more. Each of these hurdles presents a unique obstacle for creative teams, and they can be incredibly frustrating and inefficient to navigate. Let's dive into the most significant pain points:

  1. The inability to interact directly with source files.
  2. Disparate systems that lead to difficulty locating content and collaborating on projects.
  3. Distribution issues when sharing content with stakeholders.

Creative teams need a comprehensive system connecting ideation to final delivery to address these issues. A digital asset management system, like Brandfolder, helps make creative project management a breeze, and the days of juggling multiple platform passwords are long gone.

Effective PM and DAM tools are an excellent duo to help support creative project management. Project management provides a structure to plan, track progress, and manage resources throughout the project lifecycle. On the other hand, DAM tools help creative teams organize and manage digital assets efficiently.

With a connected system, teams can easily collaborate on projects, swiftly locate content, and host assets on websites, all while maintaining a link to the primary source. Sharing out-of-platform content becomes seamless, providing smooth communication with stakeholders. Using both PM and DAM tools effectively can bring organization and structure to creative projects, resulting in successful outcomes with high-quality deliverables.

5 features of highly effective creative project management software

Highly effective creative project management software simplifies the entire process of getting work from concept to completion. Say goodbye to the hassles of traditional creative project management and hello to the future of creative collaboration.

Features include:

1. Deep integrations with existing project management tools. Already have an existing project management platform? No problemo! Brandfolder seamlessly integrates with Smartsheet or similar project management platforms for ease of use and access to hosted content. Plus, you won’t have to jump back and forth between them; everything’s on one platform!

2. Direct interaction with source files. With Brandfolder, team members can directly interact with source files and different types, eliminating the need to flatten them. You won’t have to track down duplicates or create a new file from memory.

3. Efficient management of brand assets for consistent design. With an intuitive system, you can easily upload your assets, whether there are hundreds or thousands. You can organize them into sections, add labels, or sort them into collections. No more searching for pieces of logo suites; they’re all in one place.

4. Direct exports to digital asset management systems for organized distribution. You can edit, resize, and export files in bulk for organized distribution. It’s a faster way than manually doing everything one by one.

5. Automate connections with the entire creative stack. Through effective request management, teams can ensure they meet deadlines, communication is clear and progress is tracked. It doesn’t matter if someone’s on vacation, you don’t have to keep bugging them for access to projects.

Improving creative management workflow with Smartsheet

Smartsheet and Brandfolder have joined forces to revolutionize creative project management workflows. This powerful partnership provides a streamlined process, allowing teams to:

  • Embed request forms directly into workflows, reducing ad hoc requests and boosting efficiency.
  • Seamlessly integrate Brandfolder with Smartsheet for easy access to existing content and assets, simplifying collaboration and sharing.
  • Utilize Smartsheet's advanced proofing workflow for precise, guided feedback on videos, documents, and images.
  • Assign tasks to specific users, enabling teams to track changes, versions, and progress effortlessly.
  • Invite stakeholders for feedback and approvals, fostering a more collaborative environment.
  • Once approved, content can be sent directly to Brandfolder for secure storage and organization, making sure all creative assets are easily accessible.
  • With Smartsheet forms, you can receive creative requests and plan with your team based on those requests.
  • Plan, manage, and track your team's deliverables and resources with ease, all while scaling your creative work.

Brandfolder and Smartsheet offer an innovative and comprehensive solution for creative project management. By combining the strengths of both platforms, teams can optimize creative ops from start to finish. With enhanced collaboration, seamless asset management, and efficient workflows, creative teams can focus on what truly matters — developing innovative ideas that drive success.

Highly functioning marketing teams need creative project management tools to stay organized and efficient

Creative project management tools are essential for highly functioning marketing teams. With the right ones, they can stay on top of their game, making sure they remain focused on their goals. From the ability to track project progress in real-time to improving team collaboration, creative project management tools are essential for streamlining the creative process to deliver high-quality outputs.

By investing in creative project management tools like DAM and PM solutions, they can help you streamline your workflows, reduce admin tasks, and increase efficiency, ultimately leading to better results and successful projects.

The right tools, like those offered by Smartsheet and Brandfolder, empower creative teams to stay organized and efficient while managing their projects from start to finish.

Request a demo today to streamline your creative operations!