Three lessons in Productivity

Tally up, if you can, all of the time-energy required to keep your organization coordinated:

  • Production Schedule Meetings
  • Client Meetings
  • Strategy Meetnigs
  • Site Visits
  • Shoulder Tapping
  • Knowledge Sharing
  • LIFE in general

We crack jokes about pre-meeting Meetings. We set aside quiet time away from the office to read the emails we missed during our daily distractions.

Research shows that Train of Thought is critical in creative environments. When a designer is separated from it by distraction, it can take as long as 25 minutes to fully refocus.

Its 2pm. A small, but critical conflict shows up in your Restaurant equipment list just before an electrical construction deadline for the evening. You call your MEP Engineer and go through the well-known rigmarole: Office Phone > Cell Phone > Voicemail > Text Message

At 5:45p after your Kitchen Designer has shut off the phone, your MEP Engineer texts back: “Sorry. It’s Wednesday – meetings all day.”

Your GC needs info on a specification by noon tomorrow to coordinate an event between multiple contractors You send an Email this morning to your MEP Client Director. Lunch goes by, and you’re not too worried so you send another email a little more urgently.

You call the next morning a little more worried, only to hear: “Sorry – I didn’t see that Email yesterday! My Engineer left for a remote site visit today. I can get an answer first thing tomorrow”

How much creative effort is being unraveled due to interruption?

How many meetings turn into daydreaming for lack of engagement?

How many unread emails are in YOUR Inbox?

How much of your MEP budget is paying for this?

Asynchronous Collaboration

Silicon Valley outlawed meetings and started moving beyond Email a decade ago. The trick was understanding the very nature of how we communicate and collaborate through working with Business professionals and Corporate Psychologists. Over the last 20 years, they’ve been building Tools to keep the chatter properly categorized and our teams properly notified without the headaches of a 20th century office.

Collaboration Engagement Attributes Example
Synchronous engagement with each party is simultaneous. Scheduling is critical. Guarantee of Receipt Phone call, Meetings, Skype
Asynchronous engagement is not simultaneous No Scheduling required. No Guarantee of Receipt. Email, Word Docs, Texts

When Clients reach out, they are conveying Need. Expressing a Need is best handled Synchronously. But when your go-to guy is locked in a meeting, your only resort is to send an Email and cross your fingers it is opened within the timeframe you need.

Computer Programmers found a better way. Chatting. Scrums. Brainstorming. Task Lists. Bulletin Boards. Project Tracking. Trouble Ticketing. Each need for communication has its own simple Tool. Each of them talk to each other. Each of them can configure group or individual notifications across all cloud-connected devices. Every player is connected to the information they need, without being harassed by unproductive chatter.

Email is only used to interface with external Clients.

Check out the Tools we’re using here.

Scrums – Everybody’s doing it. Why aren’t you?

logoModern creative organizations have effectivey killed production meetings by adopting Scrums – a time-limited planning session, usually a standing meeting and often humorous enough to keep everybody wholly engaged.

The meetings last anywhere from 2 – 10min – One company reportedly timed the meeting by requiring the participants to do Planks on their elbows. Coordination issues aren’t solved here; they are merely brought to light so that the correct parties can problem solve later in the most suitable manner.

We Scrum through a mix of IM Channels, Video and Device Notifications. All of the project conversation is archived instantly. Important tasks are set into cloud reminders and information is pinned into a sidebar for easy recall. No excuse to miss anything later.