Project Management

9 Tips for Managing Creative Teams

From the Design Thinking & Project Management Blog
Design Thinking has emerged as a practical methodology for driving innovative outcomes. This blog aims to explore the intersection between Design Thinking and Project Management and to start a conversation on leveraging Design Thinking for contribution to the Project Management practice.

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9 Tips for Managing Creative Teams

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Project Managers need to balance process rigor and process with allowing teams the time and space to do their best work. Here are nine (9) tips and lessons learned for managing creative teams.

1) Shield your team from as much administrative work as possible. Keep your team focused on the most valuable tasks and where they can be most productive.

2) Train your team in creative problem-solving techniques.

3) Allocate time for new ideas to emerge. Try not to hold your team to unreasonable and arbitrary schedules and deadlines. 

4) Let your team do their job without the constant check-ins and oversight. Avoid micro-management!

5) Stress the importance of open communication. 

6) Encourage your team to utilize you as an escalation point.

7) Allow exploration to happen and encourage the team to share ‘learnings’ across all disciplines. Promote interdisciplinary collaboration.

8) Keep challenging the way your team approaches their work. Encourage team members to keep looking anew at the way they approach their work.

9) And most importantly — tolerate risk-taking. It is inevitable with design thinking and agile models now being used on projects. Foster a team environment where failure is a learning opportunity, not something that would limit one’s career.


In summary, make space for creativity, investigation, and failure on your team.

Posted on: July 27, 2019 07:58 AM | Permalink

Comments (8)

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Great points. Thank you for sharing this

Hi, Bruce, thank you for this blog and for this great topic. Creativity in the work place is very important and embracing it in full will require a cultural shift and an open mind of the senior management. The nine tips you have presented should be included to the toolkit of any project manager who may need further support in finding ways to implements them.

Hey Bruce, thank you for sharing here!

Thank you for sharing! Great tips!

Thanks Bruce,
Promoting a creative thinking environment within a project team is a must in my opinion. Taking controlled risks, having a open communication / transparent working environment underpins creativity. By empowering the project team to feel comfortable in such an working environment without judgement or criticism will pay dividends to all involved.

@Jesse - I agree with your recommendations on how to manage a team.

Great article Bruce!

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