All failure is not bad. As they say, failure can be a great teacher. However, it definitely takes a steadfast, selfless leader to take a catastrophic creative project and turn it around into a learning experience. From reevaluating your communication plan to managing resources more closely, here are five ways that creative teams can learn from failed projects.
1. Understand all stakeholders.
Projects impact each stakeholder for different reasons. And even if you have executive buy-in, or client approval, it’s best to understand the true impacts on each stakeholder. If you don’t take the time to understand the concerns of everyone involved, then you may run into roadblocks—or even worse, a failed project.
Even if you have support, you should still take the time to understand the needs of all involved stakeholders.
2. Ensure efficient communication.
Communication is inarguably the most important job of a project manager. While effective communication doesn’t outright ensure success, we can guarantee that no project ever failed from over communication.
If project team members aren’t in sync with one another, deliverables and deadlines are missed, and the trajectory of projects is knocked off course. Constant communication—between clients, project teams, and management—keeps projects on track and makes sure that things aren’t misinterpreted. The more engaged your client is, the happier they will be with your end results.
3. Manage your resources more closely.
Effective project leaders should be able to optimize their resources from the inception of a project—no matter how limited. Know the size, capabilities, and shortcomings of your team and plan around your strengths and weaknesses.
Resource management software streamlines schedules and keeps campaign and project schedules on track. From managing workloads and unassigned tasks to centralizing marketing planning and calendars, these tools provide oversight of all resources and eliminate costly human mistakes.
4. Know how to communicate news—both good and bad.
As anyone in the industry will tell you, creative projects are volatile, unpredictable beasts. One minute they’re going well; the next, they explode in your face. While it’s important to celebrate wins with your team, it’s equally important to know how to communicate the not-so-good news.
If a situation arises that impacts deadlines or overall timelines, let all stakeholders know immediately. Running away from your problems is never a smart idea. Be clear and concise, get to the point, and adjust expectations.
Nearly all projects have inevitable roadblocks. It’s the nature of the game. The best project managers know how to approach problems efficiently, effectively, and ethically.
5. Carefully oversee budgets.
Last, but certainly not least, are budgets. As a project manager, it should come as no surprise that at least 85 percent of all projects go over budget in some regard. And while there are certainly factors that extend beyond your control, it’s entirely possible to stack the odds in your favor.
Spending too much money in one area and not enough in another can jeopardize a project—and undermine your team’s success. If a certain area or component of the project isn’t allocated with proper funds—say, creative or media or development—not only is the overall quality of the campaign impacted, but the timeline is also affected. And overstepping time constraints ultimately results in an exceeded budget.
Automated tools streamline the entire budgeting process. Thanks to handy templates and worksheets, software enables users to create detailed budgets that save time and properly plan expenses. These tools simplify expense tracking, generate custom reports, and automate purchase orders—so you can focus on the things that matter.
Like the success of your creative project.
This article originally appeared in Workamajig blog.