I just came across a great article on the Project Management Institute website about using creativity to solve project problems.
It sounds simple doesn’t it? I mean project management is all about solving problems and in the anticipation and resolving of those problems before they spiral out of control. But often times, it takes more than the textbook way of looking at a problem to actually find the answer. That is where your creativity and aptitude for really solving problems comes into play.
It is also important to remember that when you get creative with your team, they will respond to that exponentially. Project management as a whole is a very fluid and creative and basically brain stimulating way to overcome obstacles and get the job done. When you embrace that, it becomes contagious and breakout meetings and team interactions will reflect that.
The best way to think creatively is to get your team used to thinking outside of the box. And, if you are coming into a team where that is the norm, you have the freedom to adapt to that way of thinking as well. Even if your industry is “cut and dried” (ex. financial regulatory or healthcare) the team can still ask the right questions to create options to allow you to solve those barriers in your way. All of that comes from a creative way of thinking.
The best way to truly utilize this skill is to try to find an organization where the PMO embraces creative thinking and rewards it. If you are a part of an organization where creativity is built into the lifecycle, run with it. If not, sit down with the PMO team and find a way to embrace it. Creativity in project management allows you to think differently when problems arise and it is those differences that can make or break your project. Just because you are managing projects often in tune with established methodologies doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking outside of the box for ways to solve them.
I found it to be a refreshing article on the “art” of project management. I recommend every PM get over to the newly revamped PMI website. Tons of resources there on not only creative problem solving techniques but on all facets and tools to being a great PM.