The Creative Benefits of Project Management
Oftentimes, it can feel as if project management is more of a burden than anything. You feel you already have this amazing idea in your head and want to start making it as quick as you can, not waste time with “busy work”. For some, they may even feel project management hurts their project, as it causes them to scale down some of their ideas so it can fit within the structure of this rigid plan. In reality though, project management does the opposite.
Focus is essential
The mind is often a wonderful thing. In our vast imaginations we have a seemingly unlimited amount of ideas and concepts of amazing things to create. The issue is though, our minds don’t account for the many troubles reality brings to these ideas. What may seem like amazing ideas in theory, can often fail when executed. Due to this, it’s important to take the ideas in your head and put them into focus, which is the core of most project management.
As stated by Ben Aston in his article on the importance of project management
you’ll find teams work without proper briefs, projects lack focus, can have vague or nebulous objectives, and leave the team not quite sure what they’re supposed to be doing, or why.
This is within the context of what a project management specialist brings to a team, but the general idea holds true in any scenario. While these ideas are great in your head and you feel things will just come together, by not having clear write ups and focus on what you should be doing with a project, it often just leads to the project becoming aimless.
Project management as a creative supplement
For many, even though they understand the importance of project management, they still feel it brings unnecessary limitations. So many great ideas have gotten shot down because it doesn’t feasibly fit within the structure of the project. On the surface, this may seem accurate, as the lack of freedom begets a lack of creativity. When looking beyond that though, in many ways these limitations actually end up stimulating greater creativity.
The concept of restriction bringing about creativity is dense, but this from Phillip Perry’s article on creativity states it well
Why do constraints tend to make us more creative? According to Haught-Tromp, they help cut down the number of choices to subsets that we find manageable. This allows us to ‘explore less familiar paths, to diverge in previously unknown directions.’
When jotting down ideas for a project, oftentimes you’ll get to an idea that while it seemed perfect in your head, really won’t work in reality. This frustrates many, as they’ve grown attached to that idea and don’t want to just throw it out. Rather than frustration though, this can be looked at as an opportunity. This issue will force you to think outside the preconceived notions you’ve already had for the app. It forces you to look at the app in a different lens and when looking through that lens, may give you an idea that you never would have thought of otherwise.
Managing my project
When creating the plan for my own project, focus was my main key. Work for a mobile application often gets very dense, so I wanted to make sure there was a clear structure to how and when the work of my project will be done. Due to that fact I decided to make it a focused, week by week format. I also choose to use Trello as my project management application, as I have previous experience with it and felt it fit all the needs I had for this project.
In each individual week, I sectioned off each major artifact into a week with a corresponding checklist. By doing this, it gave me a clear understanding of what will need to be done for each artifact and how I can fit them all in a 7 week timeline, while not overloading myself.
Another main thing I wanted in this plan was flexibility. You can’t predict the future so I wanted to make sure that while my project had the focus it needed, it wasn’t so rigid that one misstep would ruin the whole project. For example, in week 5 of the project, I have wireframes and the graphic and UI design of the app as the main tasks.
What I do know though from my past app making experiences is that wireframes can often be very dense and time consuming. That’s why for week 6, I left room open for the graphic and UI design section, as the prototypes are the only major work being created that week and are often just the wireframes with the design added, as well as some potential minor tweeks. I also kept week 7 open solely for revisions, giving me more extra time incase things don’t work out exactly as expected