When the Association of Project Managers commission an animation project from you, the one thing you’d better do is manage that project well. If any client is going to pick you up on slipping schedules and missed milestones it’s probably these guys. Fortunately, like all the best-managed projects, this one went as smoothly as a well-planned wedding, was as satisfyingly put together as a Mondrian painting and united disparate elements as efficiently as a Mars pathfinder mission (these similes will seem a little less random if you’ve watched the animation).
Kicking off with an Inktank session in the studio, we worked with the team from APM to interrogate the question ‘what is project management?’ It was a good conversation, but at first glance the results it yielded weren’t exactly brimming with visual potential. Quite the opposite in fact. If the clusters of post-it notes on the wall revealed anything, it was that project management, done well, is invisible. Project management is the glue that holds all the interesting stuff together and project managers are unsung heroes – if their work’s in the spotlight, it probably means they’ve failed.
So, how to shine a light on this unseen profession? We wanted to create an animation that emphasised connectedness, timing and keeping things as simple as possible - key traits of a well-managed project. This led us toward a very uncomplicated visual language - taking away clutter and ambiguity in exactly the same way that a good project manager does. Moving a project smoothly between phases is crucial project management skill - ‘one step leads seamlessly to the next’ as the animation says. So we wanted to make sure elegant transitions were a feature of the animation too - giving the impression that the artwork itself was being artfully managed through each phase of the animation.
Ultimately, project management is the art of ‘getting things done’. We always manage that. But now we’ve managed a project for the Association of Project Managers, we’re certain we’re in even better shape to ‘get things done’ in the future!