For non-creatives, managing creatives can be tricky business.
I mean, really - you're not creative and you're going to try and tell them how they should run their creative desk? How dare you!
My experience is that creatives, while organized in their own mind, often don't see a gap related to how others view them and the services they provide. Creatives are a valuable, rare commodity, so many managers will avoid engaging them to deliver services in a way that the team/company/client can more easily understand - out of fear of losing the resource.
A lot of that gap comes down to planning and/or communication. What can I expect, when can I expect it? Many who rely on creative services treat it as a mystical resource.
Creativity takes time. Creativity can't be rushed. It will be done when it's done, but you want high quality, right?
All of which is true. However, I recently ran across this example of how one creative mind works when it comes to planning and organization. take a look at the spreadsheet below - it's a planning doc from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Take a look at the picture (email subscribers may have to click through to view, and all can click on the picture below to blow it up) and we'll talk about it after the jump.
More on this doc from Open Culture:
At the height of the Harry Potter novels' popularity, I asked a number of people why those books in particular enjoyed such a devoted readership. Everyone gave almost the same answer: that author J.K. Rowling "tells a good story." The response at once clarified everything and nothing; of course a "good story" can draw a large, enthusiastic (and, at that time, impatient) readership, but what does it take to actually tell a good story? People have probably made more money attempting, questionably, to pin down, define, and teach the best practices of storytelling, but at the top of this post, we have a revealing scrap of Rowling's own process. And I do, almost literally, mean a scrap: this piece of lined paper contains part of the handwritten plot spreadsheet she used to write the fifth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
One of the most economically successful creatives (in this case, an author) relies on a spreadsheet to plan and execute story arcs and plots.
A lot of your creatives don't plan like this. I think it's worth sharing to show the level of detail one famous creative mind includes when planning work product.
In addition, the doc serves to make an additional point. If J.K. Rowling goes to this extreme to keep her own head straight, might more planning and communication from your creatives to those who are waiting for creative product from make sense within your company and on your team?
It's one thing to have it in your head. To truly reach the highest level of creative service inside a company, your creatives need to be organized - and then tell the world what their work funnel looks like and when they can expect delivery.