Project managers and authors have the same goal in mind – giving their clients/readers what they desire. To do this, PMs and authors need to give the key players in the project/story room to expand and explore.
The author’s job is to give the characters enough leeway to tell the story without allowing them to hijack it, taking it down a different path, turning a short story into an epic novel.
The project manager’s job is to allow their team of creatives to work unhindered, while ensuring they don’t deviate too far from the project plan or turn a simple project into a massive enterprise.
It can be a tough balancing act.
Creative teams shouldn’t be bogged down by the intricacies of managing a project. Creative individuals need room to think, to process, to create.
A project manager’s job is to allow this to happen. To sometimes work in the background, but always remain vigilant to what is happening with the project, stepping in when problems arise or when the team needs a little boost.
While team members can appreciate the job the project manager is doing, they don’t need to be aware of every step the project manager makes to ensure the project remains on track.
Just like with a story, the reader knows it was written by the author, but if the author does the job well, the reader won’t be reminded constantly that the author is there. The story becomes about the characters. An author must know when to lead the characters along the story’s predetermined path and when to let them choose a different course. Allowing the latter can result in a richer, less predictable outcome.
The same goes for a project manager. A PM needs to know when to lead the way and when to step back and observe the project from the sidelines. Allowing team members to deviate from predetermined objectives can lead to more imaginative and innovative deliverables.
Giving the characters/creatives enough room to imagine and explore, allowing them to tell the story, is always the best route.