Last semester fell flat for me for personal health reasons and it made me more aware of my shortcomings, encouraging me to take a step back when appropriate to allow for a richer vision from other artists. As a result, I’d like to think I’m being mature in my team – I have surrounded myself with artists with a keen intellect and creative aspirations that I feel fits strongly within my project objectives this semester.
Reading my feedback from last semester, it is clearly paramount that leadership and a strategic management structure needs to be confidently put in place for this project to succeed to overcome the heartbreaking challenge that is: getting it done.
I set up a Trello account for the team to serve as a backlog for our research and work – basically, from last semester we ended up neglecting it and it simply fizzled out of existence, but here the idea is that each week we take all our work, label it with an appropriate categorisation process, and place it in each weekly log the work was done so that we can call back on it any time we need to track our prior progress.
Then as a method of real time management, we confidently believe our private facebook page allows us to communicate daily. So while we have dailies where we say what each of us are going to do, we have a Trello that stores that progress in weekly sprints. We then use a google drive to pass around files and update documentation in real time.
On top of that, last semester subdivided worked well to keep production moving consistently. Too many cooks spoil the broth is clearly accurate, so we are breaking our team into roles they have control over. I will lead overall to help make decisive actions if needed but I have no reign as a dictator. My role is simply to keep track of progress and make management strategies/decisions so that the others are free to emphasis their skills in artistic practice that they feel with benefit both them and the project. Jess, taking form her growth as a leader last semester, intends to drive the artistic vision with Nadine (environment), Katie (character) and Tyrone (animation). While we have yet to settle on a confirmed role for all of us, overall the intention is to ensure quick, informed and decisive actions are made in a way that keeps production moving. We are sticking to core strengths and basing or decisions on having someone responsible for the final say on each aspect.
Team culture last semester was an overlooked consideration – in this team, we know each other, we are have strengths in areas that allow us to support and inspire each other, I feel my role in keeping the project organised and allowing the artists to push their vision across the project serves the team better.
Thus far in the project, I have able to get the team on-board with the vision, whilst ambiguities in the actual visualisation are something I encourage as being driven by them. Whilst dealing with my own personal mental health, I have been reading and breathing a lot of realistic inspiration such as this article. I made this horrible but retrospectively necessary mistake in having such an ambiguous experimental vision that nobody seemed interested in. First and foremost, I made this vision clear and coherent like the article encouraged and was insistent on each member’s contribution and responsibility to the project. Second to that was understanding where my strengths and role lied and knowing how I was going to learn and be inspired by the others – even if this project was ‘my and Jess’ idea’ and founded on the back of my dissertation, I do not view it as ‘my project’, it’s ours. So I know that I have to resist my own internal urge for pressing my ideas across when aren’t always the correct or appropriate decision. Then significantly, communication and committment were vital. I want everyone to feel they can be flexible with their life because I can’t force a crunch on them 24/7. Last semester was unhealthy for all of us given the frustration and crushing sense of defeat we felt – so noticeable within the team: we EMPATHISE with each other. For us a whole, we have a personal investment in the project and it’s ignited a shared “ownership mentality” where be know ‘this is ours’ (Ready, 2016). Before each presentation where it becomes a tense and energy-sucking experience, we know we can just reject it if it doesn’t suit what we personally believe in right in this project.
We just want to get the project done in a mature, efficient manner that allows us to stick realistically to a clean scrum-based management system to keep production moving and not resulting in debates over tedious details. None of us want to be working 20hr days again.
Facebook – real time, dailies
Trello – weekly backlog with labelled categories
Google drive – file/documentation updates
Team hierarchy/subdivision based on field of interest/skill
A culture of empathy and support.
LaBrosse, M. 10 Ways To Inspire Your Team. Project Smart. Available from https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/10-ways-to-inspire-your-team.php [Accessed 2nd February 2017]
Ready, K. (2016) Three Management Strategies You Can Use Today For Higher Team Performance. Forbes. Available from http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinready/2016/02/02/three-management-strategies-you-can-use-today-for-higher-team-performance/#46fbb083570e [Accessed 2nd February 2017]