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According to a LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report, creativity is one of the most desired and versatile soft skills in today's workforce. I often find myself wondering what is creativity strategy’s place in project management? 

As the workforce environment shifts and companies increasingly look to recruit multi-disciplinary employees, project managers will be asked to reimagine the ways in which people, processes, platforms, and projects work. 

Therein lies an opportunity for established and emerging PMs to shift from traditional approaches to more creative, strategic, and forward-thinking roles within their projects. 

Where Do Creative Strategy & Project Management Intersect?

When people think about project management, they think about a process that initiates, plans, budgets and controls a project. But as digital project managers, we are faced with another layer in our day-to-day jobs, which is working with creatives within a creative medium. 

At the digital marketing agency I work at, I’ve found that the best project managers are those that are acutely in touch with the creative strategy of the project. They drive the entire project to stay within that strategy and therefore the end outcome is cohesive, strategic, and impressive. In fact, managing projects at creative agencies is its own niche in the industry. There are even specialized project management software options for creative agencies.

Project managers often find themselves in and around conversations related to creative strategy with both the client and internal team members. It’s a natural place to contribute and your opinion as a PM holds weight and matters. 

As a project manager, you are commonly exercising powerful skills such as intuition, rhythm, and holistic thinking—all drivers of the creative and strategic mind. By nurturing those innate abilities and being open-minded about your contributions to the creative strategy, it opens up career opportunities for project managers in both the project management space and adjacent careers.

That’s what I love about project management: it taps into so many skill sets. I truly believe project managers are unicorns 🦄. And a unicorn can do anything, right?

So, How Do You Get Involved In Creative Strategy?

  1. Understand the project and client goals
  2. Document the key audience, objective, and KPIs
  3. Facilitate team alignment on the items in #2
  4. Constantly anchor the project to the objective
  5. Contribute your opinion on what creative aligns with the key audience, objective, and KPIs

As a project manager, you will have your hands in all areas of the project. So step 1, understanding the project, should be easy! Your role is to ensure the project comes together (on time and on budget) but the most important part of successful project completion is that it meets the client’s goals. 

Achieving the client’s goals will come from defining the objective of the project and executing a well-defined and agreed-upon strategy. As projects pass through different hands, the project manager is a constant in the project and has many opportunities to help drive the strategy for the project no matter what structure your agency works in.  

Here are 3 tactical ways a project manager can help with strategy:

  1. Create or contribute to clear project briefs or creative briefs 
  2. Start project meetings with a reminder of the project objective, the audience, KPIs, and the strategy. Drive all creative feedback through the funnel of the objective and strategy
  3. Facilitate collaboration. Run workshops and brainstorming sessions, and utilize techniques like idea mind mapping and SWOT analyses. Try silent brainstorming!

Go Out There And Flex That Creativity

Finding ways to weave creative strategy into your project management practice makes you a better interdisciplinary player, can open doors to project management adjacent career paths, or simply make you a stronger PM. Plus, it’s fun! So put on that creative hat and have some fun! 

Some Templates To Help You Get Started

Put these templates to work in your next project! To make an editable version, select File → Make a copy.

Find more about project management templates here.

Tell me in the comments below: how does creativity fit within your role as a project manager? And don’t forget to subscribe to The Digital Project Manager newsletter.

Michelle Annett
By Michelle Annett

Michelle Annett is the Senior Vice President of Delivery at Scorpion. Michelle runs the website delivery team that handles Scorpion’s Enterprise clients. Michelle’s history includes 7 years in television production and 10 years spent at Scorpion building the processes that are now in place for executing large scale website builds. Michelle loves to deliver world class experiences, be creative, and constantly improve and innovate. She describes herself as strategic, creative and a person with a great love for solving problems and telling stories.