Ten Areas of Focus
The project manager is tasked with a lengthy list of job duties and numerous competencies are required to perform the job effectively. Creativity is just one, albeit important, skill that must utilized for success. The following activities will benefit from the incorporation and understanding of what creativity is and how it is inspired:
1. Identifying the problem. Ideas and solutions result from the questions posed. Jonas Salk believed "The answer to any problem pre-exists. We need to ask the right question to reveal the answer." An innovative solution to the wrong problem will doom a project to failure. The PM must spend adequate time on this task and use creative analysis to identify the root problem.
2. Developing a goal or objective. The best (and most creative solution) follows the generation of numerous ideas. Don't settle for the results of a one-time brainstorming session. The PM must create an environment that values continuous idea generation and requires participants to think "outside of the box."
3. Gaining support of sponsor and stakeholders. New and controversial ideas must be presented and fully analyzed. Truly innovative ideas are often quickly dismissed because "we don't do it that way" or "it's not in the budget." The PM is called upon to recognize this tendency, evaluate promising proposals and combat the rhetoric of "idea killers."
4. Developing a detailed plan. The PM must communicate a vision that enables the team to see exactly what the outcome will look like with great specificity. The team will use the vision to work back incrementally through the steps that are needed to create the detailed project plan. Use a creative approach to bring the vision to life.
5. Assessing risks. The most innovative solutions often have the most perceived risk. The PM must recognize this relationship, carefully analyze the risks and champion the best solutions.
6. Securing resources. Constraints on money and time require creative use of resources. Encourage and reward resourceful solutions that utilize space or equipment in unique ways. Creative idea generation in all areas of the project will save money and build creative muscle.
7. Assembling a project team. Creative ideas result from a broad body of knowledge. The PM must assemble participants with divergent points of views and talents that work well together.
8. Handling problems/crisis management. The PM expects the unexpected and must pull from an arsenal of creative resources to resolve issues. Promoting creativity throughout the project management workflow will expedite problem resolution.
9. Motivating team members. Use creativity in structuring activities and recognizing efforts.
10. Closing out the project. The final phase of a project involves analyzing how the project went. Make sure creativity is captured in performance evaluations, scorecards and other measures of success.
Regardless of the type of initiative, understanding what creativity is and how it relates to project management will enhance the success of your next project.
- Light bulb http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1156284/?forcedownload=1
- Bulls eye http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1071008
Aleinikov, Andrei G. Mega creativity: 5 steps to thinking like a genius. Cincinnati, Ohio: Walking Stick Press, 2002. Print.
Thompson, Charles. What a great idea! 2.0: unlocking your creativity in business and in life. [Rev. and updated]. ed. New York: Sterling Pub., 2007. Print.