Making Something Good, Then Making it Better
Collaboration, critique and iteration is critical to making something great as a team. Let’s take a look at how things have changed as our process moves into the review and execution phases.
Internal group reviews are vital to idea development, strategic alignment, and communication across agency teams. We typically schedule several reviews through the process to shape and share the work as it evolves.
HURDLES: Screenshare isn’t much different from putting something up on a conference room screen, but the conversation around the work seems to differ. As with group collaboration, discussion is more compartmentalized on video conference – and happens more linearly. People tend to take time to talk in a few minute spans, rather than shorter, more fluid conversation. Therefore, it can seem like opinions on the work are more directive than assistive in tone.
TIPS: The tone seems to be the primary issue in remote work reviews. It takes a broader team effort to keep the conversation light, helpful and focused on outcomes rather than details. Leaders of work reviews should take particular care to set the right expectations, but also the right tone, at the outset. And then guide conversation to the positive throughout.
Production and editing
A great idea executed poorly becomes mediocre. The time, teamwork, and orchestration it takes to get an idea out into the world is as critical as having a great idea in the first place.
HURDLES: Productivity tools (we use Basecamp and Slack primarily) make executing ideas remotely pretty seamless. Some of the issues had before the team was all remote still persist, though. Simple reviews and progressive editing feedback on these platforms are great. They are not good for solving disagreement on direction or overall quality.
TIPS: If you find yourself writing a long, complex justification on an aspect of the work being done, stop. Pick up the phone, set up a call instead. Complex or nuanced feedback is very hard to communicate via a feed (see any contentious political argument on your favorite social media platform). That kind of feedback is more likely to confuse or ruffle feathers and is better delivered via voice. Again, tone matters and leads to mutual understanding far faster than entering into a drawn-out point/counterpoint text thread.
In the next part of the series, we’ll look at how you can put yourself in the right frame of mind in an uncertain, and more disconnected, world.
“If you find yourself writing a long, complex justification on an aspect of the work being done, stop. Pick up the phone, set up a call instead.”