No two projects are alike. No two clients are alike. No two project processes are alike. And this makes my job really fun. Managing all of elefint’s clients projects over the past three years has taught me a thing or two about being both effective and efficient in this role. There are three key things I keep in mind to make sure our team is showing up with our best creative energy everyday and our projects continue to exceed expectations.
#1: Processes are not one size fits all
Phone call vs email, short timeline vs year long initiative, lots of project unknowns vs a clear scope of work. Every client comes to us with a different set of parameters and preferences. Rather than forcing projects into a predetermined process, we work with our clients to create unique project plans and communication channels that work best for them. Our internal system is a well-oiled machine, but how we approach projects is always a little different based on who we’re working with. A rigid process would cause unnecessary stress for everyone. A flexible process ensures our clients know they are our top priority and that we’re happy to meet them where they are at.
#2: Stay friendly, curious, and calm
Hiccups have been known to happen! An email could get misinterpreted, design feedback could create a pinch, a budget may get cut. Challenges are bound to happen–what matters is how thoughtfully I handle them when they do. I find that when I’m curious about finding solutions that work for our creative team and our clients, everyone feels heard. When I’m friendly and open in my communication, people respond the same way. When I stay calm and positive, our clients never lose their trust in us.
#3: Be a yes (wo)man
Our favorite projects are often the ones where clients have big, audacious, even unconventional ideas. While our creative team is energized by dreaming up possibilities, it’s technically the role of the project manager to remind everyone of the tight timelines, budget constraints, or even in a rare case, that the idea is simply not possible–what a buzz kill. At elefint, I don’t do this. I have seen time and time again that when we push ourselves creatively and have an open-mind about what’s possible, we can create impactful first-of-its-kind projects that exceed everyone’s expectations.
At its core, my job is necessary to keep projects on track, but I see it as a whole lot more than that. I see exceptional project management as creating the perfect environment to allow creatives to do what they do best–create. And when they have the freedom, systems, and space to work stress-free, well, that’s where the magic happens for our amazing clients, time and time again.