Collaboration for Creatives: Make Your Project Better | David Bill And Marc O'Brien | Skillshare

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Collaboration for Creatives: Make Your Project Better

teacher avatar David Bill And Marc O'Brien, Designers

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Set Your Goals


    • 4.

      Map Out Your Roles


    • 5.

      Define Your Personalities


    • 6.

      Set Your Milestones


    • 7.

      Pick Your Tools


    • 8.

      Evaluate Your Project


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About This Class

Become an effective collaborator with this 60-minute class from freelance designers David Bill and Marc O’Brien. Learn how to manage the collaborative process and overcome pain points. In addition to tips and tricks culled from their years of working on teams, the class delves into a diversity of work environments and features interviews with:

  • Kelly Stoetzel (Content Director, TED) on team event production
  • Steve Daniels (Founder, Makeshift magazine) on remote collaboration
  • Ryan Lee (Creative Director, Method) on in-studio teamwork

Whether you’re already part of a collaborative team or eager to work with others, this class will help you achieve the maximum creative result for any vision. This class is perfect for designers, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, illustrators, photographers, and anyone working on collaborative projects.

The top 10 projects with the most likes in the first 60 days will get an hour video chat session with either David Bill or Marc O'Brien.

Meet Your Teacher

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David Bill And Marc O'Brien



David Bill & Marc O'Brien are designers based in San Francisco. Having led a variety of collaborative projects, they have a deep understanding of the process, its potential, and its pitfalls.

About David

David Bill directs the USA office of NoTosh, a global consultancy that bridges the worlds of learning and innovation. A teacher, coach, and school administrator turned design strategist, David works with clients to design strategies and solutions that address an organization's particular learning need.

Having taught, led educator professional development, worked alongside various designers and architects, and run many community and school design workshops, David brings a deep understanding of and experience within the worlds of education and design.

Forever a ... See full profile

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1. Trailer: Today, we're gonna be focusing on collaboration, and trying to dive into what collaboration is, what it isn't. And then giving some sort of roadmap of the steps that the collaborative process word includes. I define collaboration and bringing a group pf people together to accomplish a goal. It's about bringing different skill sets to the table and using everyone's strengths to accomplish that goal. This class is centered around allowing you to focus on a project that you've already defined within a team structure, or it could be centered around an idea of a product that you want to do, and you're just at the nascent stages of identifying what the approach should be. A cool part of this class is that we've actually reached out and interviewed three professionals who are expert collaborators. So, we've got Ryan Lee from Method, which is a digital innovation firm, Steve Daniels from Makeshift magazine, which is an online and print magazine, Kelly Stoetzel, from TED, which is a media and event organization. Collaboration is really more of a mindset, I think. It's the way that you approach a project. You can incorporate any sort of personality if you're just honest and you work with integrity and with respect. I think I can define collaboration best by the output. I can actually flip through this and there's very little in this magazine that I can point to and say I did this, this is my idea. And that's because the ideas were generated so collaboratively. So, when you bring all these smart minds on the table, everybody should have their voices. We should all have to filter through one person. Being able to kind of sit down and talk very openly with people is very very important for us, from a cultural standpoint. We're not necessarily experts in collaboration. We are in a sense that we've collaborated a lot, but really, what we're doing here is we're helping frame a conversation. So, when you take this class, you'll be able to map out your collaborative process, and take that process, and use that to execute a project of your own, and then be able to share that with the Skillshare community. I'm David Bill, and I'm a educator and designer here in San Francisco. And I'm Mark O'Brian, a social designer, creative facilitator and design educator, also in San Francisco. 2. Introduction: I'm David Bill, and I'm a Educator and Designer here in San Francisco. I'm Marc O'Brian, a social designer, Creative Facilitator and Design Educator, also in San Francisco. For me, I've taken a very securedest path. I started as an outdoor education teacher, turned into a administrator within independent schools. Then, I was introduced to the principles of design and creative thinking in 2009 and through several colleagues of mine, and through that, sort of followed the rabbit down the hole, so to speak, and I spent the last five years really dedicating myself to understanding the intersection of design and education. Ever since college, I've been exposed to the design, social design space, social impact space, and just wanted to always use my creativity and my talents to create positive change in the world, and I've been very blessed, very lucky to have been involved with a lot of projects that are trying to create change, and I've been exposed to a ton of people and I think creativity and confidence and education is a huge part of all that, and I've just been lucky to be a part of a logical projects. I think, the reason I became a teacher was because I had been greatly impacted by a teacher of mine when I was in high school, and he played a huge role in sort of shaping my mind and my abilities, as well as my confidence in what I could offer, and I wanted to be able to do the same for students. That element of service has always been a big part of my motivation, and now that I work in this design and education space, I really try to work to help others understand their potential and empower them to reach that. I got into the work that I do, it's kind of a funny story. I've been listening to punk-rock music ever since middle school and I don't play guitar, I'm not in a band, but when I found design, I kind of figured that design was my guitar or my stage or wherever, and I've just been with the ideologies of what punk-rock music really instilled in me, DIY culture, fight for something you believe in, question authority, question status quo. I've found that design can do that. And so, just really doing that with my projects but also encouraging others to do the same. Using their creative talents to live more meaningful lives and to create change in the communities. We actually met up at a skillshared class a couple years ago. David actually took one of my classes and we became friends since. We've been collaborating on a lot of projects in various ways, using various methods, things like that, and when we started to hang out more and kind of share with each other the good and bad of collaboration, we just had this idea of wait a minute, with all of our years of experience and all of our ups and downs, I think we have a lot of experience with talking about this subject matter and sharing some insights on how to make the collaborative process easy or easier, because let's be honest, collaboration can be hard sometimes and we want to address that. I define collaboration and bringing a group of people together to accomplish a goal. It's about bringing different skill sets to the table and using everyone's strengths to accomplish that goal. I think, it's also just a matter of being very open with communication and expectations as well, because the goal won't be able to be achieved without everyone being on the same page and working towards that goal together. Today, we're going to be focusing on collaboration and trying to dive into what collaboration is, what it isn't. Then, giving some sort of road-map of the steps that the collaborative process sort of includes, and that ranges from identifying personalities and roles, to then identifying the milestones that needs to be checked off the list, and then focusing on the tools and resources that make this process happen, and then evaluating with a evaluation process, and then identifying what could you improve for the next time. On one level, it's hard because there may not be a clear understanding of the goal that is to be reached. There might be different interpretations of that. The personalities, maybe you didn't identify how the personalities could support each other. I think that there's also the element of the roles may not be defined as clearly as they could be. There's also the breakdown in the amount of the resources that you're using, the tools that you're using. Those may not work effectively or the people that are using them may not understand how to utilize them as well, and there isn't a collective understanding of how to use those pieces. So, I think, those are different variables that make it difficult. I'll add to that. I think another reason why, more reasons why collaboration is hard is, sometimes deadlines are missed, or sometimes tools or resources aren't able to work in your favor, communication is lost, or there's miscommunication, or someone didn't get an email in time. So, there's all these things, all these surprises that come up that make the process that much harder. Ideally, in a perfect world, things will just fall into place and boom, done, great, but I think there's just those surprises that come up every so often, whether it's on someone else or just that's what the universe throws at you. But being able to kind of pivot and to kind of be agile and face off those road bumps and to be sure to reach that end goal is key to a collaborative process. This class is centered around allowing you to focus on a project that you've already defined within a team structure, the goal that you may need to accomplish and you're trying to reevaluate the way you collaborate, or it could be centered around an idea of a product that you want to do, and you're just at the nascent stages of identifying what the approach should be, and whether who you need to have involved with that project. A cool part of this class is that we've actually reached out and interviewed three professionals who are expert collaborators and who also worked on a wide variety of methods on collaboration. So, we've got Ryan Lee from Method, which is a digital innovation firm, Steve Daniels from Makeshift Magazine which is online and print magazine, and Kelly Stethcil from TED, which is a media and event organization. We're not necessarily experts in collaboration, we are in the sense that we've collaborated a lot and we geek out on how to collaborate and help others collaborate. But really, what we're doing here is we're helping frame a conversation for students to identify practices that will help them do their job well, and that's kind of the core of why I like this class. Yeah. I mean, I'm really excited about it because the work that I do, the work that we do, we try to solve some narrowly challenges that we're facing, and let's be honest, we can't do them alone. So, in order to solve those challenges or fix those problems that we're facing, we need a collective brainpower. So, I feel like this class is allowing us to share our experiences along with our expert collaborators to really help people understand the collaborative process, so they can come together and solve some of those narrowly challenges. So, when you take this class, you'll be able to map out your collaborative process and take that process and use that to execute a project of your own, and then be able to share that with the Skillshare community 3. Set Your Goals: We're here to help you identify and build out a process that can ensure that you and your team can reach a shared goal. Our first lesson would really center around the challenge that a team is going to face. Before you can do anything, you have to understand the outcome that you're trying to create, the goal, and to make sure that everyone is aware of and comfortable with that goal. It's asking the question, what's the one thing you guys want to accomplish together by bringing all your skill sets together and working toward that goal? I think what sets teams up for hurdles, a failure. But for hurdles, when it comes to Clever projects is, they haven't necessarily talked through that challenge enough to make sure that everyone's on the same page. Because ultimately, that is the foundation for the entire process. If that's not solid, you're going to run into problems along the way. In some situations, you're going to be given a very clear prompts or challenge that you don't have any input on and you just have to make sure everyone's on the page of it. In some cases, you've been given an open ended question and you have to define that challenge as a team. Sometimes you just come together with a group of people and say, "hey, won't it be cool if," and you guys just work towards that that goal that someone suggests or someone might want to accomplish with their friends or colleagues, and you guys just start from there. Much like the creative process, the Clever process is going to have a goal that may morph a little bit. You're going to have a constant, but the end goal may differ based upon the experiences that you have along the way. And even the setbacks they face. So, I think having that constant is great, but knowing that sometimes that final project that you're working on might change slightly based on maybe one person drops out of the team and you have another person in there that might want to change the direction. But I think if there's that constant in there, then you'll be able to achieve that. Yeah. Our expectations of what the outcome we're going to be in the process that we will go through with this class from what we started with to what we created was vastly different. So, the actual us going through the Clever process was so important. Because if we were just to go off of our initial ideas without consulting others or going through multiple iterations and setting these different milestones on asking certain questions, we wouldn't have come up with this format. Yeah. I think it's important for people to understand the end goal they would like to achieve, but also stepping back and realize what can we do, what are the small things that we can do to achieve, to have movement to reach that goal. If there is the milestones that they can put in place to allow that to happen, it will make every small goal, every milestone that they achieve much better. Because you'll reach it, you'll have a sign of success and feel good about working with each other, and then that momentum will carry onto the next milestone, and next milestone. So, I think it's important to step back first and to realize what are the smaller goals that we can do, but also to think strategically in terms of what are those things that we should do now versus next week versus next month to achieve the main goal. Now the idea of goals has been introduced, what your challenge is, is really to identify what is your goal for your particular project. So, we suggest that you take some time in about one or two sentences, clearly identify and write that down, or draw it out. Whatever works for you, identify what that project is and what the end goal will be. 4. Map Out Your Roles: Roles are key to the collaborative process. Basically when people come together what are we going to do? What are we going to do together? Everyone brings a certain skill set to the table and so it's important to really identify the roles that you have on your team so you can best utilize people's talents and skill sets. Often those roles will evolve in some cases you may come in thinking that you are going to be really good at one thing and you're interested in one thing but then as the project evolves that interest particular skill may shift and so in turn so is your role. So, I think when you start a collaborative project together. One important question to ask the rest of your team is what do you guys get excited about? What do you guys want to do? Where did your interest lie? I think by having those conversations you start to figure out what types of roles people would play and how to best utilize their skills and then eventually you start to figure out okay this person's doing this, this person is doing that. Then once everyone has that establish from the beginning, people are able to move forward. But you know as David said earlier those things might change those rules might change and that's okay. One of the most important pieces once you've identified the personalities and you have that foundational element it's being very clear with the team on what roles are necessary. So, you have to clearly define that and they may have evolved over time but you have to be very conscious of the particular roles that are going to be required and comes from the leadership sense of the collaborative team. Someone has to know what is going to be needed to create that final outcome. So, they're going to be times where you have certain people in your group that are not interacting with each other. So, let's say a designer is not interacting with the copywriter and you as maybe the project lead feel that that's important and so you might want to maybe sit down with one of them or both them at the same time and just talk about what they're currently up to right now and talk about possible ways for them to communicate with each other to make your job or other people on the team their jobs easier because of the disconnect or the lack of communication that the designer and copywriter are having. So, in a sense you want to make sure the right people are talking to each other and being able to communicate so you don't have to micromanage. We've talked a little bit about this earlier this idea of transparency and making sure that everyone is very aware of the different hats that we wear the different roles that we play. Because if that's the case you know that you can go to your colleague your classmate to get support on one particular thing that they're really good at or that they're responsible for. So, yeah, I think the clarification around what the roles are and how each of you work together is really important. I think it will also alleviate unnecessary communication. So, one person doesn't have to go to another person when they can easily go to the right person, the correct person. In some cases, collaborative systems are built where you're expecting interactions to be a certain direction like you may be interacting with one person and that's what you're used to but you might be missing an opportunity by interacting with someone else if you're not interacting with someone else. So, I think being willing to adjust who you work with and what role each role plays I think is just as important. If you're working with a group and you're feeling like you're not being best utilized or maybe you've been given the wrong responsibilities, it's really important just to share it with others or if there is a project leader to be open with that person and say "Hey, look you might want to reassess where you put me or what responsibilities you gave me." Because that's going to bottleneck to the rest of the team and achieving that goal. So, once again, I think it's just very important for everyone to just be open about what they're given the responsibilities that they're given. But also what it is that they're doing and if one feels that they can't achieve that or maybe it's out of their scope or skill set totally be open with those around you. Because at the end of the day it's just going to be one thing that's going to maybe lag or maybe even detour or maybe even just stall the project. So, now we're going to throw you to some of our expert collaborators. I'm Steve Daniels, I run Makeshift magazine and I'm a designer at IBM. Makeshift is a field guide hidden creativity. We're a print and online quarterly magazine. We all work completely remotely. We do assign roles to specific items especially when we have short deadlines and that defining and assigning of roles is a collaborative process. We'll do that as a team. It doesn't come from me saying, "Hey, I need you to do this this and this by Friday," we get together and say, "Who wants to take this on?" The nice thing about working remotely in project management software is that you can actually attach names to things. You can attach names to projects, you can attach names to work items, you can attach names to tasks and then it becomes totally clear and transparent who runs what and you don't run into any issues of budding heads. Yeah, we do shift people's roles all the time actually because there are some roles that are or some projects that are more strategic where people are thinking more up here. How are we going to define our brand, define our social media strategy, the redesign of the magazine. But then there are some projects that are basically send out a tweet every day or that are more of a grind and I think we need to balance the work that people do. So, we want people to take on the work that they're most comfortable with but also get people out of that grind from time to time and put them out in more strategic project so, they don't feel like it's repetitive and it's not using their full mental faculties. Hi I'm Kelly Stoetzel and the content director at TED. I oversee the speaker program for the main stage but also really the content and the experience for a lot of the live events we do. I don't know in my experience it's important to be clear on who has what role so that partly so you don't walk out of the room going "Wait, we just agreed on all this stuff, now who's going to do it?" But then at the same time I don't know I think that we really value also a perspective from someone outside. It may be that my team the curation team has got this way of doing stuff that we've done things for a long time and then we're in a meeting with someone from another team and they point out that there's this whole other way of looking at it and that's really valuable too. So, I think that when people are really caring about whatever it is that they're collaborating on you can really have a great dialogue even bridging some of the roles too. I guess we have roles shift a lot of times in a way because people will work on something and they'll lead up to event but because what we're working toward is an event then we need everybody to pitch in on site. Everyone's coming from this place like we're in this together it's time, it's go time let's do this, we're going to make it great and every single person that is willing to put in at that point everyone so cares about the outcome that everyone is really willing to do I think whatever it takes. They feel ownership of the whole thing so it doesn't matter what the detail is that they're working on. Ownership is having everybody feel ownership and be able to make their mark. I think is a really important thing in collaboration just and that's part of listening and that's part of everyone feeling like they've contributed to the conversation because in the end, if people really listen and do communicate well. Then everyone is able to make their mark on the project and feel like they have ownership in its success. I'm Ryan Lee. I'm one of the creative directors here at Method. We are a experienced design agency based here in San Francisco. In the case where we do have a designer that is unhappy with the role on a project or where their skill set doesn't quite fit that project as well as we thought it would have. We always quickly evaluate the situation and we meet with them one on one usually to really figure out why they're unhappy or why things aren't working out. If there are any deliverables or if they're just missing the mark from a design standpoint. It takes a little bit of conversation again one on one conversations in person to figure out where the misconnection or the miscommunication is happening. We had an interactions owner here who was very strong interactions owner but also really in depth with motion design. Her role was to create a motion prototype for this product that we're working on. When it came down to it it became much more of a production based job. She wasn't really figuring out interaction problems at all. When we had the conversation with her she decided again she was not happy doing this but she would finish this one out as long as we could discuss in the future what her role would be on projects. As designers, we get on projects and if you get burnt out on it or if you're unhappy with the work that you're doing it just starts to brood within, it's inside you when you start to resent the work that you do and I think that's where things start to become toxic for people. It just takes like a little bit of a seed to create that resentment and then all of a sudden just rolls out into something a lot larger and a lot more dangerous I think to have on any design team. When it comes to roles, what we suggest that you do is think about creating a mind map or a network map of how are those different roles going to intersect and play with one another because you need to get a very clear sense of the landscape of how each individual within your team is going to be able to work effectively with each other and then through that you're also going to identify, okay well maybe one particular person isn't interacting with another but they could and the outcomes will be much greater if they do. 5. Define Your Personalities: Personalities are a key ingredient to the recipe that is collaboration. Without having identified the right mix of personalities, you aren't necessarily going to be able to reach the outcome that you want to, as easily as you could if the personality is mesh. At the fundamental level of looking at a collaborate project identifying how the personalities should mesh, and what I'd personalize would be ideal is important. Yeah, I think another thing too, is to try to look first in yourself, like, "What kind of person are you?" Kind of taking a step back and discover your strengths and weaknesses, and be okay with those and then find other people that who'd be able to lift those strengths, and help you train those weaknesses as you guys work together as a team. You Google personality tests and you get a million different online tests. The really bad banner ads and all that. So, there's that direction. But I think understanding who you are as an individual is a pursuit that takes a long time in some situations. I'm at a point, where I've gone through lots of different iterations of my career and understanding what I bring to the table and understanding your personality is not- a test isn't necessarily going to identify that for you. I think what you learn pretty early on is some core fundamentals around what makes you feel comfortable, but you don't necessarily know what that means. I think through life experience, you then are able to translate those comfortable moments into some practical skills and awareness of what types of environments you would be set ideal for, for you to work and produce. I think for me working on so many different collaborative projects throughout the years, I start to figure out the types of people I like to work with, the people that I mesh well. Talking earlier about creative chemistry, who are those types of people that I just can be myself around early on, and can use them in terms of idea generation or bouncing around some of my thoughts or ideas. Eventually, you start to create that persona, or that profile or multiple profiles of people that you'd like to work with. So, when you meet someone new, you're like, "Oh, can I work with this person or not," based on your previous experience. So, for me at least, I think that's how I figure out the types of personalities that I like to work with. But yeah, I agree. I think first and foremost, it's all about discovering who you are as a person, your strengths and weaknesses, and then how can others help elevate those strengths and train those weaknesses. Identifying those core strengths as your individual strengths, and then identifying who the people I like to jam out with, I think that's important, but in some cases, you're not going to be able to have that perfect match. So, if you are in that position, it's a matter of, "Okay, if I don't have an ideal scenario for my collaborators, how can you work with that?" So, being flexible, being able to let go of your particular biases at times, I think that's one of the most important pieces. The collaboration is not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but making sure that you really hold onto your beliefs, but also make sure that others can breathe as well and let the ideas flourish. No one likes to ever have those tough conversations with someone on their team, because you don't have that close enough relationship to be completely honest, but you also want to keep it professional. So, I think, it's just been very clear and open and upfront with them, and I think, if you're upfront with them along the way, at the very beginning, having those conversations that might center around the fact that you have to let them go, or they have to change their ways because they're toxic to the team. Those are tough conversations, but I think they're important to have. You got to have those conversations for the betterment of the team to achieve that goal in mind. The more transparent you can be with your team, the better. If you're hiding your goals or your biases, I think, that's setting yourself up for failure and in turn not being able to achieve that shared goal. Yeah, whether it's being open and honest with an individual on your team, or to the team itself as a whole, I feel like once again, it goes back to the idea of everyone is very passionate about something that they're trying to work towards. Having people be honest with it because you know that everyone on your team is wanting to achieve that goal, right? But if there's some gossip or some things in the background that are adding toxic vibes to the mix, you want to be open about it, because at the end of the day, you want everyone to achieve that goal. So, it's really important to have those conversations when they need to come up at that right moment, because if you continue on without having those conversations, you might reach that goal, but no one's going to have fun along the way. When it comes to a scenario when you're producing event. Let's say, you're very aware of the types of tasks that need to be accomplished, the types of roles that are required for that, and in some cases, you're going to have people who know that they are suited for that role and that's what they're interested in. In some cases, they're not, they just want to be a part of the team. So, that's where as a leader you have to be conscious of, "Okay, the person who's going to be dealing with partnerships, they have to be personable. They have to be able to engage with people and feel comfortable with people." So, that is very much a role that is going to require certain type of personality. If you're dealing with someone who's dealing with logistics like, "When is the material showing up to the venue? Who's picking up the speakers?" Those types of things. You don't need a vibrant personality, but you need someone who's very efficient and very centered around the nuts and bolts of a project. Definitely, there are different personalities in the room. Navigating people's personalities is important to a degree, of course. But I also think it's so important, I'm a big believer in avoiding politics. Most teams that I'm on, I don't feel like politics do play a role. I think everyone is understanding of each other's personality where there are challenges maybe, and still, it's my belief that it's important to be authentic and true to yourself in collaborating. Sometimes that's hard, because if you're trying to navigate what other people might say or how they might react, I think, I prefer to just be direct. Collaboration is really more of a mindset, I think. It's the way that you approach a project. You can incorporate any sort of personality if you're just honest and you work with integrity and respect, then, you can have healthy conversations and you can still be challenging to each other and that's a really good thing, and it's necessary. I think it takes a certain personality type to be able to work effectively remotely, and therefore, the team is somewhat self-selecting. We do find that some people on the team really prefer in-person time. For those people, we make that extra effort to meet up and get some of that face time. But I also will say that when you work remotely, the emotional component of personality, the political component of personality, I think gets diminished a little bit because we're not in each other's faces all the time. We work together, we make jokes, but we don't have to deal with all the bullshit that comes with office politics, for example. We have a totally decentralized organization because we work in project management software. We all have equal access to each other. We have equal access to the work. When you go into an office setting, it becomes so much more about who you are, and how you're presenting yourself, and not right as opposed to letting the work speak for itself in an objective way. To ensure the success of a collaborative project, we are really looking for people that have strong points of view on design but that also don't really have egos when it comes to working with others. In the case where personalities become toxic on a project, what we normally have to do is evaluate. "Where along the timeline of a project we're at?" That really tells us whether or not we have to pull somebody off of a project. We do a lot of weekly check ins with people on projects, so, for us, it's really just about this one-on-one conversation. First upfront and then going into group conversations when necessary. A lot of our hiring process, it focuses a lot on culture and on personality of people. So, we don't frequently have too many issues like this. Being able to sit down and talk very openly with people is very, very important for us from a cultural standpoint here. So, when it comes to personalities, as we mentioned, it's really important for you to understand, first and foremost, "Who are you?" "What are your strengths and weaknesses that you can clearly define and be comfortable admitting?" Then based on that, "What are the types of people that you're wanting to work with?" "What are the types of people that you would love to have on your dream team?" So, first, start with yourself, write down all your strengths and weaknesses. Then second, determine that dream team. "What are their strengths and weaknesses that would create your ideal dream team?" 6. Set Your Milestones: Milestones are those touch points along the collaborative process that are markers essentially that help you indicate what needs to be accomplished, so you keep organized and on time. Without somebody like a milestone or a series of deadlines, you're not going to be able to make sure that the process is going as well as it could, you're not going to get the appropriate feedback, it might be you are not able to produce a piece of collateral, it might be a share out. Those particular milestones depending on the project, are really helping to frame the project and make sure it's going to be an ideal outcome. Yes a good way to start to think about milestones is think about the end goal that you guys want to accomplish, and then if there's a specific due date for that end goal, let's just say within a month, and then work backwards to where you are now, what are those things that we have to accomplish that will help us reach that deadline. So for example, if it's an event, the event in a month from now, what are those things that we need to put in place to allow us to make the event happen? So, this way you know, from today till four days from now, you have one milestone to reach to make the event that much easier to plan out and then from that milestone, you take the other milestone in and try to accomplish that. And so if you kind of set it up to where you see the end goal or the due date or the deadline, you're able to kinda work backwards and said those small steps that you can kind of work towards to achieve that deadline which is in this case the event. If you don't have an end date, you have end goal. It might not be an event but it might be a product. The milestones are going to be centered around identifying when something needs feedback, when something needs to be two, so you can build upon it. It might be you need to get the speaker list, a different speakers before you can begin to coach them. So, there are things that build upon each other and so when you're looking at a project, you have to really understand what are the building blocks that will need to be put on top of each other to make sure you can reach the end goal. I think milestones definitely help cooperation is just as I mentioned before, it's the small things that you can work towards or as David just mentioned the building blocks that you take one voting block to put it another one on put another one on and eventually you have the thing that you're building. So, I think they definitely help in the process, and I think another way to look at it too is they're smaller things that you can do much more by-size things that you can do as opposed to this big goal of doing this monster of a thing that seems so daunting at the time. So, an example I always go to is the space race in the 60s where JFK said in 10 years, we're going to put a man on the moon. There first time out they, didn't set to put a man on the moon. They had these small little things that they did throughout to help them achieve that goal 10 years after the first initial idea. So, the way that I look at milestones are basically the small things that you can do to work towards achieving that goal, the building blocks that you can build upon to reveal what it is you're building. It might just be simply a matter of making sure you have a draft of an email. In others, it might be securing all your speakers. In others, it might be having the first iteration of a product and in situations like those bigger milestones absolutely you take a moment to celebrate. And sometimes when you reach those milestones, new milestones come up because you've achieved that one step and then, sometimes new steps are revealed based on someone wanted to sponsor your event, OK, great will achieve that milestone, but that comes with more milestones you meet. So, I mean just kind of when you're talking about milestones, be aware that throughout this whole process, new ones might come up. So, when you start you know kind of your list of milestones from the very beginning, be aware that more might come up and just kind of figure out where they fit in the schedule of when your project or when your thing that you're working on is due. We been using milestones to make sure that we're taking care of all the different deliverables that were needed for this. The script that helped us frame the direction of the class, the collateral like the slides that were necessary. The speakers, the experts that you've been hearing, talking to them making sure that they're on board. All those sort of logistical elements have been big milestones that we've had to track and without setting those different due dates and in making them very clearly marked on our calendars and in our to-do list, we wouldn't been able to get to this point. Yes I think another thing to keep in mind too with experience that we've had in previous collaborative workshops and just being in the profession for quite awhile, we also understand too that as much as we can set a milestone for our own projects that for example, if we have to shoot out an email to a possible expert collaborator to be a part of this, who knows how long but they'll get back to us. If the boss and someone else's court, we have room to continue moving forward without having to rely on them. So, they don't bottleneck the process. So, something to keep in mind too is making sure that we're hitting all of our milestones, but aware that there's outside factors, there is third parties that might still block the process of our group project. Well, for us the beginning is starting planning. We've got a date, me then they'd find it. You know, because it's really for me and on my team, it's events. The end is the event. Certain things have hard deadlines, print materials, speakers talks being due or slides being due to us. That sort of thing, but then there's some stuff we can sort of be flexible on. Everybody here wants is for the events to be be great. If somebody be recognized speakers we're working with a really busy. If they can't make something will work with them to make it work. So, there are not you know, except for things that require hard deadlines. We try to be as flexible as possible, get as much of it done as early as possible, but also to stagger it in a certain way so that it comes together and feels sort of cohesive. We've use various tools internally like base camp or even Google Docs to kind of keep timelines of things. We have this crazy Excel spreadsheets sometimes. I just have all of our different milestones marked out and in combination with doing daily stand-ups and a lot of cases, we're able to kind of quickly every morning and go over the list of what everyone's doing and then have a really clear path of what everyone's doing throughout the day and what everyone's actually responsible for delivering at the end of the day or at the end of the week depending on what the actual task is. So, again communication really important. We tend to meet at least once a day, every morning depending on the project team, but usually it's once a day. Quicksand up to 15 minutes. Everyone just goes around in a circle essentially says what we're doing and acknowledges what what they're all kind of responsible for. The biggest benefit of being a totally remote team is that everything you do is documented. It doesn't become additional overhead after you've collaborated to then go and document your decisions for other people to see or report out to stakeholders or whatever that process entails. Everything we do is by nature of the way we work, documented and therefore there's transparency and everything done throughout the organization and they can attack it with names to attach their work items, so there's accountability and we can say, okay you actually pledged you're going to do this and you wrote it down, where is it. And then the third benefit that comes with this working style is defined hierarchy and the peer-to-peer nature of it. So, anyone on the team can tag and ask questions if anyone else in the same way that I kind of got. A milestones totally depend on the project. So, footprint, we have done enough of these that we have a set schedule. So, we can ramp that up and it's a defined process is documented we know the deadlines that we have to meet each quarter. For a totally new project, we have to define a new process. You have to kind of get into startup mode, hack it together the first time, how long did it take, how much work did it take and is there a process that we can document and repeat there, and then we adapt. So, when somebody hasn't fulfilled their responsibilities on the project or when they've missed a deadline or are about to miss a deadline, we generally will call a meeting with that designer, sometimes with the other directors and essentially figure out where the problem was. Again there was probably a miscommunication somewhere. Someone's not moving fast enough. In some cases, we'll have to pull in another designer. Again that's usually one of the last resorts for us which we never want to have to pull somebody off from a project. We'd rather have them work through these problems with us as a team. So, in a lot of cases, we'll either call in another designer to help out with the workload, again that's where it leads in the director roles I think are really important. We're kind of here not only to direct projects, but to also do a lot of hands on work. We don't always meet our deadlines are our goals, but at the end of every project, we will have a retrospective. So, that's where we get all the people who are involved together and say, okay what worked, what didn't work, what ideas you have, and what questions do you have moving forward that were unclear, by getting that documented and distilling that into lessons learned, we can get everyone's buy-in to improving the process and sort of make that iteration and that continuous improvement more participatory. Creating milestones is an important thing to achieve your goal. So, some projects have a deadline and so from that, what are the milestones that will help you reach that deadline? So, create a calendar with your milestones clearly laid out so are you and your team can get a clear understanding of what needs to be met when. 7. Pick Your Tools: The purpose for resources and tools allow for communication and sharing of thoughts or ideas. So, take example video conferencing software. So, you have Skype or Google Hangouts. Those are tools that allow you to work remotely with a partner that is not in the same location. You have other tools like Dropbox or Google Drive that allows you to share content, whether it's files or photos or things like that. So, these are things that allow you to share information and also communication to continue working towards that end goal that you guys have in mind. So therefore, these tools are just really able to be an extension of yourself, especially if you're not working with each other in a face-to-face method. Building upon that, I find it interesting in the sense and slightly problematic in the sense that we become obsessed with technology and the role it plays in our daily lives. In many scenarios, we gravitate towards using technology to collaborate, and it's been great in a way because it's made the collaborative process much more accessible and reachable. But at the same time, I think that it's removed a lot of the face-to-face elements that really drive collaboration in the truest form. I come from a background of working in schools, and one of my the many hats I've worn is being a technology administrator within schools and you see in many situations people gravitating towards a certain technology because they read about it in Fast Company, or saw someone at a fancy company using it. They want to incorporate that into their processes or approaches because they think that it might be useful or that it seems cool, but is it really ideal for that particular situation? Maybe, maybe not. I think you have to take a big step back and really think through what is it that we're trying to accomplish and what are the methods and approaches that are really optimal for that type of project. Yeah, I think the situation you're in while working on that collaborative project totally depends on the tools that you use. Are you going to use online tools or offline tools? How frequently are you going to meet up in person if you're able to? Certain things like that will dictate how you move forward with your project. I think it's important to understand that you shouldn't work in constraints of a task management software or in the constraints of any other tools out there. I mean, I think what's important is to figure out as a team what is going to be the best method of sharing information or files or things like that, and then just work around that because everyone works differently. That's why there's multiple task management softwares, there's multiple video conferencing software because everyone likes certain things and so I think it's just important to either come to a consensus on which tool to use or talk about a workaround to make sure that everyone is able to use those tools in a very comfortable way. So therefore, you're not alienating one or two people based on the fact that they don't like a certain thing, or that it's maybe too hard for them to use or things like that. So, I think it's totally important to come to a consensus. It's interesting you bring that up because I've been in several scenarios now where I've helped a community think through the ways they communicate and collaborate. In most situations, the members of that community have a particular approach or series of tools that they are very comfortable in using, and bringing up the idea of changing that is very tricky and it can be difficult to overcome. To help them see the potential of something else, you have to show the pros and cons, and so they're able to see, okay this is really good at one thing, but if we're able to accomplish these other tasks with this one platform, as well as the task that it's really good at and that you're comfortable with, we're going to be able to produce much more, much faster. So yeah, some of the things that I covered earlier, I think around collaboration and making sure we hit milestones, there are a number of digital services that we use in combination with how we structure our meetings internally. Those tools, whether it's Basecamp or Dropbox or Excel Docs or Google Drive or something like that, as long as we're doing our daily stand-ups and any other meetings that have been planned to check in with each other, we usually don't have a problem collaborating with each other in that way just because of the amount of communication that goes back and forth. In one case, actually this is happening right now. In this particular case, we are using a video conferencing tool that is very buggy in certain cases. If the connection is not strong, it automatically drops calls and things like that. So, when we're trying to collaborate with a client remotely and we're using this service, it always craps out. So in this case, what we've been having to do is actually just travel to them. We made it a point to say, okay, look, this service isn't working for us. We had to shift gears a little bit and say okay, so now that this video service isn't using, we're going to actually have to just come up every other week because number one, it's better to do this in person anyways. We are much more productive, and the results are always a lot better when we meet in person. Number two, the technology just isn't working for us. I think of our tools as falling into two buckets. So, the asynchronous tools, so the tools that we will post to. Then there's like a wall that you can see and you can check in and respond, and then I'll see it at a later date. Then there's the synchronous tools, which are live collaboration but remote. The two are better or worse for different tasks. Our default is asynchronous communication. We use Podio for that, and that's where we document all of our work, all of our workflows, we comment on the work itself, and we assign tasks, directly attach the work itself. That's where you see all of that status and we can update each other. But it's not super collaborative because you're not able to get the tight feedback loop and communication that you need to be sparking ideas. That's where you tend to get people more going off into their corner of the world, thinking about it, putting something back. It's just a slower process. Then once in a while, when we need that more collaborative, hands-on live element, we'll get on a Google Hangout or a call or just be working in a Google Doc together at the same time, GChat, whatever, and just make those decisions or generate those ideas on the fly. I mean, you have to feel it out which tools are right for which moment. The default is going to be asynchronous, but you have to kind of get a sense of like are we hitting a block here where we need to unblock ourselves and we need to just, either it's we need to make a decision live or we're just in a creative rut and we need to have a brainstorming session. That's where you might jump up to a more of a live synchronous tool. In a way, that's a tricky question because I think some of us has grown organically and we've just sort of figured out these ways of working. I mean, I think it's having at least one person on the team who's really going to be the one on top of keeping the list of details, helping keep the checklist done. If somebody goes, "Wait, what did we decide about this?" there's someone who knows. Some of that even happens organically, but I feel on teams that I'm on, I always know that there's somebody that is going to have that. I mean, we do use, software-wise, Basecamp has been a really useful tool for us as a place to keep conversations going. I mean, I think the plan and structure is just part of the project management piece and however that works. We found a way that works for us and our team, and some of it involves color coding stuff in Google Docs. We've made it up as we've gone along, but I think we've come up with a system that works for us. Hallway conversation type stuff is really important, too. When it comes to the tools, what we'd like you to do is just simply list out the tools that you think you're going to need to use and think about it in the context of the different buckets that you're going to be responsible for and how you're going to be interacting with your colleagues or classmates on this project. Through that, you'll figure out, okay, is face-to-face going to be ideal for a particular interaction, and what tools would you need for that? So, post-it notes, it could be pusher paper, markers, pens, what have you. Or if you know that you have certain elements where you're working remotely, what are the videoconferencing pieces that are going to be required. Then with task management do you need just a big paper calendar that's going to be in your office or do you need something digital like a Google Calendar or Trello? 8. Evaluate Your Project: You've executed your project, you launched your event, you've published your magazine, you've done the thing that you're trying to accomplish. Right. Then what? So, I think this is a critical step in this process that now a lot of people really take the time to sit and evaluate, and so, I think evaluation is a huge thing in the collaborative process to take a moment to sit back and think back to how the process turned out, and figure out what worked and what didn't work and so, take that information. So, next time, when you have another collaborative project with either the same people or different people, you can take the insights that you learned and apply them, so therefore you don't run into the same road bumps, or you maybe do something that worked really well, you do it again or even elevated to where you have a much easier smoother collaborative process. When it comes to evaluation, I'm sure many of you have been through some scenario where you just talked it through with your classmates, your partners on your project, and just very conversationally evaluate what happened, what worked, what happened, what didn't. I think the important piece there is during those conversations make sure that you are prepped for that, so that you have certain questions that you are hitting, certain points that you're hitting, and that you're recording, so that you have a very clearly defined document on what worked, what didn't, and then you have some milestones that you can then build in. So, how can you make sure that the holes that you had or the issues that you had with this project that you can improve upon. So, making sure that those milestones are ways to be better prepared for your next project. I think that every time you do something regardless of the endeavor, you're looking to become better. You're looking to improve. We're constantly trying to do that and you need both qualitative and quantitative metrics to gauge that, and that will range from conversations with your colleagues, it might be collecting survey data, it might be just looking at how many clicks you had on a particular website. I think it ranges based on the project. My background, as I mentioned, is in the social sciences. I was a history teacher, I've organized large events, and I've run surveys in various communities to collect data about how people are interacting. From the standpoint of the event side or the softer side of collecting quantifiable data, you're looking at something more, surveys are going to be a key piece of it. It's important to really think through the questions that you're asking and what kind of data that you're trying to collect. Because I think anyone can do a survey, but if you don't know the specifics of what you're trying to pull, you're not necessarily going to find that as useful. So, for you, in your project it's going to differ, but think of that process of, okay, we just completed this project. What were the things that we thought worked well and what we didn't, and then through that, you were able to figure out some areas of focus that you could generate questions around. I think that goes across the board whether it's an event or whether it's something like in a class where you're working with your classmates, anything that doesn't require, that it isn't focused on something that's generated by numbers. So, as my background in both graphic and web design, I still design a lot of websites just to keep my skills sharp. So, working with a copywriter, photographer, developer, things like that, we're all collaborating to put together this site. So, everyone does their part, everyone has their roles, everyone knows their deadlines and milestones that they need to meet, and then once the site goes live, then great. But, as I look at it, a site is only as good as the amount of users it attracts, right? So, looking at the analytics of the site, looking on the click rate within the site, where users are coming from, things like that, and on top of that, nowadays social media plays a big part in all of this. So, who is clicking on what links, where are they coming from, how they figured out about the site? So, looking at all of that, that will help me determine if what we put our time and energy in as a collaborative group if that is yielding the best results that we could based on the website that we created. So, looking at analytics and click rates and things like that will help us determine if what we worked on was as a success or not. The collaborative process is much like the creative process, you have to constantly check in and evaluate where you are, reframe if necessary, dive back in, and look in a minute standpoint of what's going on, but also take a big picture. Step back and say, okay, how was this particular task or responsibility going to affect the larger goal of this project? I think it's another great opportunity to ask yourself questions like, did this person on my team work well with others? Do this type of personality match with my personality or everyone else's personality? Did having these types of people on my team in terms of their roles, do they get better results? Was this the best way to determine milestones? Do we use the right tools? Things like that. So me, I think it's a matter of stopping and reflecting on the high level stuff, but also getting into the nitty gritty, and really talking about the different types of things that we covered throughout the class, and really asking some hard questions to determine if it went well or if next time it could be changed. Because, let's be honest, if it's something that proved itself to not yield the best results or not work, why would you do it again? We debrief on all the technical stuff, we debrief on the speakers, we debrief on the experiences that we brought in, we debrief on the experiences the partners brought in, we debrief on the hosting, on the events outside of the event, the parties and things, and really ask a lot of detailed questions and keep notes during the event on every single thing that we recognize that we can do better next time. Because it's when you do that level of care on to something, I think you also walk out of every event going, "Great. I feel really good. But if we had only done these 200 things differently", and I think that's like we always look at it as how can we raise the bar next time, and so went an event's happening, I'm constantly looking at what's going wrong, and hopefully, it's not all really obvious to everyone else, but there's always stuff that you see that you could do better because you envision for so long how something might play out, and then when you see it happen and it's not like you expected or you feel like this would have made a little bit of a difference. We just keep those lists during the event, and that's part of it as well. So, for us, how we gauge success on our project, it usually has a lot to do with, again, having a conversation with our client. Usually, when we are writing a contract for the project or when we are setting up the project plan in the process of an upcoming project of the client, we like to set up upfront what these success metrics are for them, because us going into a project now, we have something that we can use as a baseline for what we're working against. When we know what our clients are looking for and what they would gauge as a success, it makes a lot easier for us to reach that goal for them. That also has a lot to do with us working collaboratively with them. The fact that I think we work so hands-on with our clients, they're involved very heavily throughout the process of a project. So, I think in most cases, they have a very strong stake in what we've been creating with them. So, it is much more of a group effort, it's not just us designing a product for them, it's us designing their product with them. So, in that case, once a project is over, it's usually fairly easy to know whether or not we've been successful, either they're really happy or they're not. That's usually how we gauge success on the project. So, we do set goals and metrics at the beginning of a project, and recently, I published for our whole team, a Fifteens so they call the makeshift playbook, which outlines our strategy, our vision our brand principles. So, we're all lined around that. But for each strategic branch of the organization, there are metrics. So, for any new project, you would go and look in the book and say, "Okay. I think this project fits more with this strategic part of the company, therefore what are my metrics. I'll give you an example. Recently, we started a blog called an Assignment, and that's a blog that's within our website. So, we looked into the playbook and we said okay, this fits more with engaging our community. That was one area versus attracting new readers, for example. So, if it's about engaging our community, therefore we're looking at metrics like, is our community commenting? Are they coming to our events? Are they engaging with us in social media by tagging us or retweeting us? So, that's very different from the user acquisition or growth metrics, which would be, how many people are coming through our site? Are they buying things? This is more about the loyalty. So, that's one of the ways that we set goals. At the end of a project, we'll evaluate against the metric that we set. But, at the same time, we will do an internal evaluation. So, we'll hold the retrospective and that's each member of the team coming together and saying what worked, what didn't work, and what questions we have, what ideas we have. So, this gets deeper into, okay, it goes beyond that number, that metric and digs into the process, the failures of collaboration, the unforeseen market forces that affected the outcome and allows us to break all that down and learn from it. So, for evaluation, we love to have you share with us your experience. Create a 36-60 second video, talk to us about how your credit collaborative process went. What worked? What didn't work? Did you have to change your goal in the middle of the process? Did you guys meet your milestones and deadlines? What tools worked, what didn't? Just give us an idea of what happened in your collaborative process, so you can share that amongst your Skillshare community. Talk to us about what types of personalities worked. Do the roles play out? Did you guys come up to any pinpoints throughout any of your process? We would love to hear your thoughts, and we'd love to hear some of the pinpoints that you guys have stumbled upon and we'll be able to share amongst the Skillshare community those ideas. All of us have collaborated on projects in one sort or the other, and so take that experience into account here and make sure that you add your own suggestions to the mix. You don't have to really start from scratch, and because the whole idea is that we want you to help support each other on this. This is a collaborative effort in its own right, making sure that you as the students are able to learn from each other and see each other's processes and then glean insights that you can then take back to your own teams. So, now that you've worked through this collaborative process, you have this framework now. This is your opportunity to start your own collaboration project, whether it's a project that you've been wanting to work on for quite a while or you might have a group of people that you just have no idea of what to work on, but now you have a better understanding, or maybe this is a time for you to work on a project, how to create your own board game or that podcast you always wanted to do with your friend. So, I mean, I think you know now that you have this process in mind, what are the what are the projects that you can create using this framework? We're excited to see what you cook up. I mean, we got into this project because we were very interested and curious around this idea of collaboration, and we worked to identify ways to improve our processes and those who we work with. Now, working with all of you, we're excited to see what you can create and what we can learn from you as much as you learn from us. So, share your projects that you've been building, whether it's a website that you've been wanting to create with some friends or it's a project that you and your colleagues have lined up and you're just trying to re-evaluate the approach in which you accomplish that particular goal. Yes, so we appreciate your time, and we're looking forward to seeing what you guys produce. Thanks. Thanks.