Own It

What is the point where many projects get off track? We think it's when decision making becomes a burden.  Indecision, lack of ownership and unclear reasoning often means stasis and frustration.  Over the past year, and likely through traveling together, Sachi and I have evolved a system that helps us be productive without wasting time.  It's a system of ownership - of being personally accountable for the small decisions that contribute to the overall goal.
Early in the process, we talk a lot about the goal - the big ideas, the vision.  Then, we can see how our independent roles will contribute. For example,  Sachi (among other things) is our editor. From cutting the audio to stop-action to color correction, she owns it.  Once she starts the process, all the decisions are hers.  She can always ask for my thoughts, but my input is not required.  By the time I see something, it's mostly done and we can iterate from a big picture perspective.

The same is true for me with the art work. I own the process of storyboarding and creating the artwork. I conceive the scenes and how they all fit together. Only after the bulk of the creative work is done do we come back together to make decisions before production.  This way, I have a chance to own the vision of the video - a vision that may not be clear until all the pieces come together. I don't bother Sachi with the details - I own them.

We expect the same from our clients.  The best projects, the projects that stay on schedule and produce the best outcomes are the ones where the project leader on the client side owns the project. They have the ability to make decisions and be accountable for their outcomes.

The lesson here?  Ownership = efficiency, for us at least.  Ownership mean understanding the goal and having the confidence to make independent decisions that contribute to it.  It means not wasting time discussing every step along the way. It means getting work done quickly so that it can be evaluated as a whole. It means being accountable and ready to stand up for why we made the decisions we did.

Of course, this isn't to say we don't collaborate.  When I wrote about being a video making team, iteration was a big theme. When we do come together to review, and especially to shoot a video, everything is subject to change.  What we own are the chunks that make up the whole.