Managing projects is always an ad-hoc process. Each project has its own variations and complications. And creative project management, needs even a better knack of understanding. I am writing down the ways by which we have been managing the projects at mypromovideos in all these 9 years of existence, which might help you to avoid some basic mistakes that we made.
First, let me explain what we call a “project” at mypromovideos. For us a project is majorly video creation. Video creation is not an easy term to cover all the variety of work we do, but for now let’s keep it that way. Video creation is basically split into 3 top layers
Each of these has sub-processes integrated into them. This makes it easier to start the project and complete it. Now, the requirement for each new project changes. But all of these processes have the following things in common.
Time, Quality & Budget:
The reason for clubbing the first three together is because each one of these complements the other.Time is predominantly defined by the style and the quality which is set as a benchmark for the particular project. A video style might take 1 week to create or 1 month to create or more than that. So all the three things- Time, Quality and Budget- should go hand-in-hand to decide the process. If any one of them is not proportional, it will not be viable to venture into that project. We have many times burnt our fingers with this mistake. We get projects which can require a lot of time if we want high-quality output, but the budget involved does not support that. Sometimes the money involved is high and does justice to a high quality standard, but time is not available.
Therefore, considering these factors will help you decide the style of project management you need to deploy.
Communication is a very elementary factor in any management. If communication is transparent and clear, it will help you reduce a lot of firefighting, bone crushing, facepalming and emotional outburst incidents. Communication between all the stakeholders involved in the project is highly instrumental in completing the project on time, within budget and with expected quality. When I say all the stakeholders it includes the Client, Creative Director, Artists, Animators, and Account Managers- i.e. everyone who is involved in the lifetime of a particular project.
If even one in the list is not on the same page as the others it is going to cost time and money. For keeping everyone on the same page we, at various points, tried different kinds of tools that were available out there. We had started with Excel sheets, Emails, Facebook groups (Yes, we managed projects using Facebook as a project management system :)), some mainline products like Feng Office, Producteev, Asana, Bitrix24, Slack, Trello – Oh yes! We have laid our hands on most of them! And it turned out that each of them had some kind of mismatch to our need. Then finally we started using Basecamp. And have been using it for almost 3 years. Basecamp is a perfect fit for us because its tools are minimal and so help in keeping everyone organised.It is not all that fancy, unlike many of the above said ones. We, as a team, believe that we are “Simple by Choice”.
Finally Basecamp put some order to our communication, file management and task management headaches without complications.
As said, keep Time, Quality, Budget and Communication in mind. Managing projects will become saner. Which is what everyone involved is looking for. Creative project management is not a template. “One fits all” will not work here. Humans are involved in the entire process, not machines so understand that and manage like one. Find the right tool which will suit your team not a fancy one.