We’re project managers and event producers. We’ve both earned a good living over the years helping other people turn their creative ideas into reality. COVID 19 hit us hard, with events being cancelled as early as February. We know that most sectors in the creative industries have been suffering too, but we believe in helping people to help themselves. Along the way we’ve picked up plenty of tricks of the trade. We’d like to share them with you.
When I left school in 2011 I decided not to go to university and study any old degree. Instead I moved to Dubai to work and to learn how to be an event producer. A couple of years before that, I’d stood in front of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury watching Michael and Emily Eavis looking down from the wings at Jay-Z. I knew that I’d never perform on that stage, but the thought of helping so many people to have such a good time was a massive inspiration.
Moving to Dubai at the age of 19 was a bit of a risk. But three years later I’d worked on shows with artists like Jay Z, J-Lo and Pharrell Williams and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Since then I’ve worked with global brands like Chanel, Samsung and Diageo as well as the Olympic Games in Rio.
Those first few years in the business taught me that underneath every creative production there’s some hardcore project management. Without it, creativity can’t flourish. I learned the rules of project management through experience. But as I found out, this can be a painful process.
The problem is it’s difficult for creative people to acquire some management skills without going down the corporate route and doing a training course or a degree inundated with corporate waffle. Until now there’s been nothing between that and learning the hard way.
I first picked up a project management manual 22 years ago. I was in the Royal Air Force and on my way to Bosnia to help run the national elections. It wasn’t an easy project; set up and operate 3000 polling stations in four countries that had been torn apart by civil war.
I borrowed a PRINCE2 manual from a friend and read it on the flight to Sarajevo. It wasn’t a great read, but it gave me the confidence that I needed to deliver the project on time and more or less within budget
Since then I’ve delivered projects around the world, using a variety of different methodologies. Two things I’ve learned:
- Formal methods are not always appropriate – especially for fast moving projects in the creative and events industries.
- It doesn’t have to be complicated – the principles of good project management are simple and universal. You shouldn’t have to fight through a jungle of jargon to get to them.
So, here’s what we’ve done to address those lessons at Creative PM:
Creative Project Management. We’ve developed a completely new project management method for people working on fast-moving, creative, projects. We’ve called it Creative PM. It covers all the key principles, but with no fuss, and no jargon. And no need to read a manual the size of a doorstep.
Plain English. I’ve started to write a series of books designed to translate the official manuals and bodies of knowledge into language that everyone can understand. The first is available now: PRINCE2 in Plain English. More to follow soon…
And if you’d like to see how I’ve kept my own creativity going during lockdown, you can visit The Perfect Library.