The popular wisdom goes that two things in life are certain, death and taxes. And if you happen to be a project manager those two phenomena are likely to occur sooner rather than later. You have my deepest sympathies. But morbid humor aside. Project management is a thankless job. To the casual observer, it may seem like project managers bear the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Forced to deal with everything from disgruntled shareholders to resource allocation, not only are they tasked with organizational duties but they also have to maintain high levels of creativity to come up with solutions on the fly, in those chaotic moments when best practice is not enough. In this text, we will look at various techniques that will assist you in becoming better. Read how to be better at navigating organizational pitfalls while exhibiting your full creative potential.
Project manager and effective creativity
Few topics have stimulated as much discussion in recent years as the subject of creativity. This concept, which for years has been reserved for artists and “creatives” has entered the public forum. Its value and beneficial influence finally adopted across society in fields that up until recently were never associated with innovative thought or flights of whimsy.
Our economy becomes more and more influenced by creative solutions. Because of this, we can observe the forming of whole markets dedicated to unleashing your “inner artist”. Many of these solutions promise more than they can deliver and lead more often than not to frustration. After all, the driving force behind most successful artists is far more prosaic. Unfortunately for the world, there is no magic pill that will turn you into a latter-day Picasso or Stravinsky... But there are simple habits that can be adopted into your life that will help you become a more effective and creative product designer or manager.
Time to clean your room
The first thing that should be adopted in your life is a certain degree of organization and time management skills. Freeing up time also frees your brain from worrying about things that are irrelevant and fosters focused thinking on the areas where your creativity will be better spent. I am not saying you should go full control freak and alienate your loved ones through your newfound sense of purpose. However, a reasonable amount of discipline and decluttering will help you prioritize that which is most important. No meditation or trips to Tibet will be necessary to achieve this level of inner peace. Although I am not discouraging you to do those things. Discipline and organization can be achieved at a much lower cost.
Tools alone do not make a master.... but they are very useful
Keeping a calendar, making “to do” lists, getting rid of things you don’t need, and keeping your space tidy. These are some habits that effective people commit to. Strategies like this pay out huge dividends in helping out with forging a sense of organization. At a professional level, there are more specialized tools that can assist you in freeing up your mind. Teamdeck is one such tool that streamlines workflow and declutters office life.
It may seem that being creative is an arcane art...
...but only to the uninitiated. In reality, there is hardly any magic involved. Purposeful creativity is often the result of organizational skills that translate to better decision-making. Besides this, another important factor is knowledge. Spontaneity, intuition, improvisation are catchy buzzwords thrown around when discussing artists and their process. In fact, most of them would find these labels offensive if you would boil down their whole art to these words. Many would even argue that these terms don’t exist. Creativity at its foundation is nothing more than the art of making decisions.
The power of decision making
The aforementioned Picasso, despite his reputation as an abstract painter, was an impeccable, classically trained master of his craft. Whenever he put brush to canvas he was not communicating with some higher power. He was drawing on his immense knowledge and technique accumulated over the years. The same rule applies to almost every field you can think of. Inspired decisions are often the result of possessing not only a large amount of data but also the “right kind” of it and finally, being able to analyze this information before committing to a course of action. The truism goes that to become a master in any given field it takes about 10,000 hours of hard work and dedication... but seeing that we live in the age of instant gratification there are ways in which to expedite this state.
The Subtle Art of Boosting Creativity
Creativity besides being tied with competence and knowledge is also characterized by the whimsy and flights of fancy that most people associate it with. It is a way of looking at the world in unorthodox ways and finding new solutions and pathways among the breadth of accumulated knowledge. This skill like any other skill needs to be worked on to allow it to flourish, and like anything we try our hand at, it can be difficult at first but over time becomes second nature. Numerous guides have been written on how to be more creative and although we don’t have space here to go down this endless rabbit hole, here are some easy techniques that we can adopt in our daily life to become better at imaginative thinking.
Step by step
this practice helps us to create associations between the problem we are trying to solve or the concept we are trying to understand, by physically writing out the connections we observe between our problem and our uninterrupted thought flow. It helps with memory retention as well.
take your base idea and rearrange its properties. By changing or substituting elements new ideas will flower. In music, many composers use these concepts when stuck in a rut. They will move elements around, even perhaps at random in the hope that a new concept will arise that will push them in a workable direction.
Ask different questions:
A problem is nothing more than a question that needs an answer and if we wrap our mind too tightly around one particular turn of phrase it can be detrimental to finding a solution. Instead, break down your problem into smaller chunks and find answers to these elements. It will make the problem-solving process less stressful and foster more creative solutions.
Go for a walk:
The radical philosophers associated with the Situationist movement promoted walking as the main vessel through which new theories are brought into the world. They called this praxis “Dérive” and it helped them reach new conclusions by allowing their minds to absorb the surroundings and let loose as they encountered the goings-on of daily life. Fresh air and relaxation are more conducive to creating your next big idea than the stressed, stuffy atmosphere at the office.
Multitasking with a little help
The project manager is responsible for communication between the development department and the client, looking for creative solutions to turn brief into technologies, and ensuring perfect management of the team’s work and time. Such different working styles and areas in which one has to operate on a daily basis require perfect organization and discipline. That’s why a feature to gather all the information in one place will be invaluable.
Teamdeck is a great tool with which to collect and parse through large amounts of data. This ease of access to crucial information will help you as a project manager to make knowledgeable decisions. We designed our software to simplify many of the processes that are a cause for headaches. Some of the problems that Teamdeck solves are:
To achieve the results you want, you need the right people in the right places. Unfortunately, as companies grow it becomes harder to make these informed decisions. It is humanly impossible for even the most involved manager of a big software house to learn enough about his staff to parcel out responsibilities in accordance with their talents, current workload, or vacation plans. Software tools can be individualized according to a company’s needs.
In Teamdeck, personalization includes reports, tags, views and is easy with the import option. Thanks to this solution all useful details will be available to the project manager. It is now possible to have access to precise information on an employee’s skills, location, seniority, current workload, past workload, vacation plans and whatever else you may find useful to effectively lead your team. Using the technology offered by Teamdeck makes it easier to manage teamwork. With our tool, you can maximize output and minimize problems such as employee burnout or administrative chaos.
Even if you have an airtight plan, reliable people in the right place, there is still a long road from the planning to the realization of a project. Flexibility is a key quality at this stage. Being able to adapt quickly will put you ahead of the pack in your industry. Take advantage of the data to stay on track when your employees have holidays or if they take sick leave. This will allow you to fill in any gaps on the fly and will ensure that the project stays on track. An all of this without having to push back the deadline.
Besides being used to run a tight ship, the software can also be used in a more benevolent way. A tired employee is a frustrated, ineffective worker. You can use the software to monitor how much overtime people are committing too and if need be, it is possible to send them off on a break. Overutilization and underutilization are both equally detrimental. Both to effectiveness and creativity. Maintaining a healthy balance will allow everyone on board to be at their best.
Develop your potential without burning out
The project manager faces a huge number of tasks every day. The biggest challenge is the variety of responsibilities he carries on his shoulders. We like to divide people according to their competencies. This one is more creative, this one has great interpersonal skills, this one is a great manager and born leader. Well... the project manager has to fulfill all these functions. How to do it without going crazy? The above article reveals a few ways to develop and manage your creativity in your daily work. Moreover, we advise you on how to optimize your and your team’s work using the benefits of today’s technology, with which organizing capacity and time is easier than ever before.