Project Management

Yes, Creativity Is Important, But...

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In the 1940s, Theodore Woodward—a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine—told his students, “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras.” His point was that his students, who would eventually become doctors, should look for common causes of medical complaints, not exotic ones. I think there’s a lesson there for project managers as well.

Anyone who reads a few project management-related articles here (or anywhere else) on a regular basis will have been reading about how the world is changing rapidly. They will have learned how project management is evolving and the job is becoming fundamentally different. I’m as responsible for writing articles like that as anyone else, and it’s absolutely true.

Project management today is very different than 10 or even five years ago. And it will be very different again in another five or 10 years. That’s one of the reasons why this month’s theme of creativity is so important. Project managers have to be capable of developing and delivering creative solutions if they are to oversee a successful project outcome.

But, there’s a but. Creativity has to be applied in the right situations and in the right way. And while it represents the difference between success and failure on many projects, it should still only be applied to those scenarios where it …


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