Creativity’s Muse Can Be a Project Manager

My wife and I met in a play writing class. We had different styles—at least at a macro level. I wrote outlines, she didn’t. Her work was organic, mine was planned. At a micro level, there was probably more similarity. Although I had my outlines, I improv’d scenes in my head, and sometimes (as they say) the characters in my plays took on a life of their own, thwarting my neat outlines. And although my wife built her plays up from individual scenes, she did have some sort of organizing principle—you just didn’t see it in a formal structure. . . .

Okay, wait a minute, What does this have to do with financial education?

Educational projects can involve many different people with many different perspectives. This presents a challenge in managing the project to a successful conclusion. Subject-matter experts know what they know, but they may not be able to articulate it. Instructional designers know learning theory, but they may not understand the subject-matter. They may take time to come up to speed. Executive have one sort of expectation for a project and production people have different ones.

Bringing a team of such diverse people together is a challenge. The effort can stifle creativity. My wife couldn’t understand how my outlines could help me write a work of drama or humor. But they did help. In my mind, they ensured that my creative vision was realized throughout the whole work.

In the same way, effective project management, which recognizes the particular value of each member of the team and their particular viewpoint, can orchestrate a superior product. It can create synergies by ensuring that the whole team remains focused on learner outcomes. By not working at cross purposes, a team can achieve its goal without waste and without rework.

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