Maximizing Creativity While Minimizing Change
When it comes to project management, change is often dreaded. Change can mean extending the project completion date, adding additional tasks, tying up additional resources, etc. So, even though creativity is a good thing, it's often feared by project managers because of the implications it has on the project's logistics.
Generally, when you allow your team to incorporate creativity into their tasks, you get one of these two types of suggestions:
- Suggestions that make the task simpler or more streamlined
- Suggestions that point out some sort of problem or conflict with the task, as assigned
The first type makes sense: People don't like taking redundant or unnecessary steps to complete a task, because that simply means more work. When people start thinking creatively they may be able to identify and eliminate such unnecessary (and potentially frustrating) steps--and this is something that will benefit the project. The only change you might have to make in this situation is to mark a task completed ahead of schedule. You should be careful to identify that the change is one that streamlines a task rather than cuts corners on it.
The second type of suggestion, the one that points out some sort of problem or conflict with the task, is also to your advantage even though it's more likely to require change. Your team members are presumably experienced, or even experts, in their fields, so they may be able to identify problems with a task that other people missed. Sometimes this means adding additional tasks to a project or extending the completion date, but in the end you need to look at it as actually minimizing change: It takes a lot less to fix a problem early on rather than near the end of the project.