Anyone involved in the creative industries will know only too well that good Project Management is critical to success. As in many other disciplines today's creatives must manage and be accountable for more than the central creative processes alone.
This is especially true for small businesses, ie: the majority of designers, where the creatives may also be the Account Handlers and have to wear several 'hats' in the course of their working day.
The good news is that the current state of software and web(2.0) infrastructure means that creatives have never had it so good when it comes to project management options - previously the almost exclusive domain of the PC platform. A relatively unsung benefit of Mac OSX is how it has attracted such rapid growth from software developers, especially in business and groupware/comms applications.
Many of the software options available are reasonably inexpensive and will offer several advantages over using 'plain vanilla' email as the main knowledge management toolset, there are also some more enterprise strength choices which can be tailored to your needs, although at a significant cost.
Recently I have been very impressed with a couple of applications that are very much in the ascendant in the Mac software universe.
The first is Daylite from www.marketcircle.com. This truly is an industrial-strength environment for project management and has been designed with creative workflows in mind. The learning curve for Daylite is quite steep and there is a danger of 'analysis paralysis' when you see how configurable this application is, but if you stick with it you'll find little it can't cope with. Daylite plays well on servers too and it has an excellent integration with apple's Mail program. Daylite costs start at $189.00 per user.
On the sidebar of this blog you will notice a link to Basecamp, this is an online collaboration environment - which in itself requires a high level of trust from the user as everything is maintained online.
If you can live with the 'everything online' practice (and I have already overcome my resistance to this) then you will see many benefits to this solution and it is rightly lauded for its design, implementation and sheer elegance of operation. You can sign up for a trial account for free and a moderate (15 projects allowed) account is only $24.00 per month.
Of course the big downside with this is that if there is a broadband outage you are cut off from your Basecamp data, however you can syncronise it with Apple's iCal and then have at least an offline reference as up to date as your last sync. And realistically if there is a broadband outage then almost all means of communication are out of action anyway - no email, web, chat, Skype etc. and instances of outages like this are, thankfully, decreasing.
Check out my blog links on Project Management for a whole world of bloglinks for this.
And, of course when you're done with all this project management its back to the drawing board Wacom tablet...