The Creative Project Timeline Template You Need

The phrase “creative project timeline” seems like an oxymoron. Creativity is fickle, right? It doesn’t run on a schedule.

We get where you’re coming from — this phrase seems counterintuitive. But, we’re also willing to bet that you’ve seen how quickly things fall apart when you don’t have a timeline in place for your creative projects.

Let’s set up an example for clarity. Imagine that you and your team are designing an email campaign to promote a webinar. You know the date of the webinar, but beyond that, you don’t set any milestones or dates for creating the email campaign.

What happens next? You continue pushing that project to the back burner. Soon, webinar day is breathing down your neck and you scramble to pull together that email campaign in a hurry. It’s not nearly the quality you were aiming for, but you just need to get something out the door.

Why creative project timelines matter

Sound familiar? We thought so. This is one of many reasons why schedules are important, even if they seem like a contradiction to creative projects. 

When you spell out a creative timeline, projects reap a ton of different benefits:  

Improved efficiency: First things first, you’ll meet deadlines. A timeline makes even your biggest projects seem more manageable by setting key milestone dates throughout the process. This helps keep you and your team on track, which is especially helpful for creative projects that can easily stretch into eternity. Better resource management: When you know what’s happening and when, you can better allocate resources (from team members to software). The Project Management Institute (PMI) reported that resource dependencies, limited or taxed resources, and inadequate resource forecasting are all causes of project failure. So, being proactive about managing them can help you deliver more successful creative projects. More manageable workloads: Creative professionals are already overworked. One survey of 400 in-house creative workers found that 85% of respondents serve 10 or more internal stakeholders. A separate IDC report found that 71% of creative workers were producing 10 times more work in 2015 when compared with 2010. With a timeline in place, you can better monitor your team members’ workloads and capacity. This helps you avoid spreading any one team member too thin. Greater transparency: A timeline gives the entire creative team a bird’s-eye view of the whole project. This helps them understand how their work fits into the bigger picture and also boosts accountability. The person writing the copy for the email campaign can see that if they’re even a day late with the content, it sets the design team behind. When nine out of 10 employees cited accountability as one of the top development needs they want to see at their organization, the increased visibility you get with a timeline is a huge asset.  Who creates creative project timelines?

Needless to say, planning out a timeline for your creative projects is well worth the time and effort. But, who actually handles this responsibility? 

The project manager oversees the ins and outs of the project. Ideally, they should be the one to set up the timeline and also ensure the team is sticking to it.

However, the project manager doesn’t need to create the timeline totally alone. In fact, it’s helpful for them to collect insights from the

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