I love creative collaborations. They allow me to work with other creatives to get an amazing project off the ground.
Some of the best creative projects were made through collaborative efforts. Refold and Project LOOP, for example, invite artists and designers to transform standing desks and skateboards into works of art.
Collaboration is also my theme for this year. I want to connect and collaborate with other creatives on projects that put our work on the forefront and that can make a difference.
Fortunately, I’m a part of three group projects, one of which is The Experiment already concluded with the release of our book.
Working on The Experiment tested not just my creative skills, but my communication and project management skills as well. Working from different parts of the country and with full-time jobs, I knew it was going to be a challenge to bring this project to light, which made me even more determined to follow our 7-week release schedule.
Here’s what we used and how we worked on putting the book together:
- We use Trello to put together the chapters of the book, upload our files, and communicate with one another.
- We submit our finished work every Thursday.
- I use the built-in Preview app to create the individual chapters in PDF every Friday.
- We upload our copies of the chapter on our websites and portfolios.
- We share and promote each chapter throughout the rest of the week.
Unfortunately, even with such a straightforward system we failed to complete the project.
Only five out of the seven chapters had complete works; Chapter 6 is missing its artwork; Chapter 7 was scrapped out completely.
I won’t deny that I was disappointed with how the project turned out, but even its incompleteness taught me valuable lessons on collaboration and working with others.
#1: Commit to the project
You have to fully commit yourself to seeing your project from start to finish.
It’s not enough to say, “Let’s do this project!” because then you’d come up with excuses for when you can’t work on it.
On my part, I pushed myself to wrap all of the works into a working ebook as part of my commitment to The Experiment.
#2: Establish the project parameters
This is one of the most successful aspects of The Experiment. Wina and I made it absolutely clear what the project was about, the limitations or “rules” of the project, and when we needed to come together and exchange the works. This enabled us to work on the majority of the project on schedule.
Establishing the project’s parameters or boundaries makes it more doable and less overwhelming for you and your collaborators.
#3: Set a due date for each task or milestone
If a task or a milestone isn’t scheduled, it doesn’t exist.
This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned when working on anything of significance.
I love setting due dates on tasks and milestones because of the sense of urgency it instills. I see it as an important thing I need to do, which makes me more motivated to work on it right away.
#4: Keep on communicating with your collaborators
A collaboration is a collective effort, which means everybody’s contribution is a step forward to the finish line.
Strive to maintain a steady stream of communication with everyone in the group. A friendly follow-up or a quick heads-up on your part can give the other members an idea of how long it’ll take before you can move on to the next phase of the project.
#5: Be accountable
Your fellow collaborators’ level of commitment is something beyond your control. This is a lesson I’ve learned to accept after concluding The Experiment.
What you can control though is your self and your contribution.
Be accountable of your responsibilities in the group and do your best to fulfill them on time. Even if everyone else has fallen out of the project, you can rest easy knowing you’ve done your part of the job.
With these tips in mind, you can look forward to starting and finishing your next creative project.