Tag: creativity

 

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

Now on to the 9th Agile Principle, one of my favorites (it’s hard to pick a favorite), because it makes a great point often forgotten. It also applies to so many situations. Let’s take a look

Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Ah just soak that one in. By paying attention to technical excellence and good design, you become even more adaptable, more productive – more Agile. Simple, and elegant, so as you may guess I’m going to analyze the hell out of it. It’s not that it hides any excret complexity – it’s obvious – it’s that there’s a lot of power in this that anyone can use – and Creatives have unique opportunities to take advantage of.

Let’s take this – backwards.

The Goal: Enhancing Agility

Note this Principle spells out that technical excellence and good design are things that one wants to pay attention to – always. That of course seems obvious, because who wouldn’t want to pay attention to doing things right and designing things right? But it states specifically that this enhances agility – that it lets you act, manage, and work agilely.

The benefits of these things aren’t just “hey well done” – they’re that you use Agile methods and apply agile principles better. There’s a benefit beyond the obvious of “doing stuff well.”

So it helps to spell it out. If you want to improve agility, do things right and design them well.

For Creatives, which often deal with unpredictability, ways to enhance agility are always welcome. Creatives are almost always entering unknown territory, have challenges communicating work, and more.  Anything to make work more adaptable, more predictable – more agile – should be welcome. More agility allows you to deliver more value.

So let’s look at just good design and technical excellence help you out – and help you be an agile creative.

Good Design

When you design something well, it’s more than just a “valuable” piece of work. It delivers other benefits that deliver agility. Let’s look at them and how they apply to creative work.

  • Good designs prevents errors since you can get it right the first time. This means you save time since you’ve got less revision – and aspiring to good design focuses you on listening to the client and understanding work so you deliver value. That helps in unpredictable developments, which you probably face a lot.
  • Good designs are repeatable in part or in whole – which saves time in the future. That lets you work faster since you’ve got other things to call on like design templates, reusable code, or helpful checklist. This can help you in creative works because you’ve got some work done already – at least the less predictable or more standard parts.
  • Good design makes your work shareable – because you can communicate it. This makes it easier to review with clients, as well as easier to teach to people. Creative work has its challenges in communication, so good design makes it easier – and good communication means more agility.
  • Good design is just good practice. Making something well-designed in turn helps you just learn to do things better – and that by definition will make work more agile.  Creative work often involves multiple skillsets, so good design helps deal with that.

Technical Excellence

Good design isn’t necessarily the same as technical excellence.  Good Design may be about laying things out and putting things together well, about organizing and making patterns apparent.  Technical excellence is about attention to detail, about doing things right, and about not overdoing things. Again, it has obvious benefits anyway, but  let’s see how it affects Agile Creativity.

  • Technical excellence just means things are done right and done well.  This ensures not having to redo things so you can move on – good for any form of organization, but in agile . .
  • Technical excellence also means that you’ve learned lessons you can repeat and teach.  Since many Agile methodologies focus on review and improvement, when you do it right once, you can do it again.  This is important in creative work since, with so many options in creative works, having repeatable work is helpful.
  • Technical excellence builds confidence in the people you work with and deliver work to.  When people see you do well, they trust you.  Creative works, which have many options and many variants, require trust.

You want to aspire to technical excellence period – but when you work with Agile methods, the benefits are even more pornounced.

When it involves creative work, it’s essential.

The Ninth Principle

The Ninth Agile Principle really is a great reminder that designing things well and doing them right has more benefits than the obvious – it lets you be better at being Agile.  When you’re a creative it has some specific benefits:

  • Good design helps reduce unpredictability, creates repeatable elements, allows work to be easier shared, and is just good practice.
  • Technical excellence reduces doing things over, teaches you repeatable lessons and inspires confidence.

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

Now on to the 9th Agile Principle, one of my favorites (it’s hard to pick a favorite), because it makes a great point often forgotten. It also applies to so many situations. Let’s take a look

Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Ah just soak that one in. By paying attention to technical excellence and good design, you become even more adaptable, more productive – more Agile. Simple, and elegant, so as you may guess I’m going to analyze the hell out of it. It’s not that it hides any excret complexity – it’s obvious – it’s that there’s a lot of power in this that anyone can use – and Creatives have unique opportunities to take advantage of.

Let’s take this – backwards.

The Goal: Enhancing Agility

Note this Principle spells out that technical excellence and good design are things that one wants to pay attention to – always. That of course seems obvious, because who wouldn’t want to pay attention to doing things right and designing things right? But it states specifically that this enhances agility – that it lets you act, manage, and work agilely.

The benefits of these things aren’t just “hey well done” – they’re that you use Agile methods and apply agile principles better. There’s a benefit beyond the obvious of “doing stuff well.”

So it helps to spell it out. If you want to improve agility, do things right and design them well.

For Creatives, which often deal with unpredictability, ways to enhance agility are always welcome. Creatives are almost always entering unknown territory, have challenges communicating work, and more.  Anything to make work more adaptable, more predictable – more agile – should be welcome. More agility allows you to deliver more value.

So let’s look at just good design and technical excellence help you out – and help you be an agile creative.

Good Design

When you design something well, it’s more than just a “valuable” piece of work. It delivers other benefits that deliver agility. Let’s look at them and how they apply to creative work.

  • Good designs prevents errors since you can get it right the first time. This means you save time since you’ve got less revision – and aspiring to good design focuses you on listening to the client and understanding work so you deliver value. That helps in unpredictable developments, which you probably face a lot.
  • Good designs are repeatable in part or in whole – which saves time in the future. That lets you work faster since you’ve got other things to call on like design templates, reusable code, or helpful checklist. This can help you in creative works because you’ve got some work done already – at least the less predictable or more standard parts.
  • Good design makes your work shareable – because you can communicate it. This makes it easier to review with clients, as well as easier to teach to people. Creative work has its challenges in communication, so good design makes it easier – and good communication means more agility.
  • Good design is just good practice. Making something well-designed in turn helps you just learn to do things better – and that by definition will make work more agile.  Creative work often involves multiple skillsets, so good design helps deal with that.

Technical Excellence

Good design isn’t necessarily the same as technical excellence.  Good Design may be about laying things out and putting things together well, about organizing and making patterns apparent.  Technical excellence is about attention to detail, about doing things right, and about not overdoing things. Again, it has obvious benefits anyway, but  let’s see how it affects Agile Creativity.

  • Technical excellence just means things are done right and done well.  This ensures not having to redo things so you can move on – good for any form of organization, but in agile . .
  • Technical excellence also means that you’ve learned lessons you can repeat and teach.  Since many Agile methodologies focus on review and improvement, when you do it right once, you can do it again.  This is important in creative work since, with so many options in creative works, having repeatable work is helpful.
  • Technical excellence builds confidence in the people you work with and deliver work to.  When people see you do well, they trust you.  Creative works, which have many options and many variants, require trust.

You want to aspire to technical excellence period – but when you work with Agile methods, the benefits are even more pornounced.

When it involves creative work, it’s essential.

The Ninth Principle

The Ninth Agile Principle really is a great reminder that designing things well and doing them right has more benefits than the obvious – it lets you be better at being Agile.  When you’re a creative it has some specific benefits:

  • Good design helps reduce unpredictability, creates repeatable elements, allows work to be easier shared, and is just good practice.
  • Technical excellence reduces doing things over, teaches you repeatable lessons and inspires confidence.

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

Let me say up front this is one of my favorite Agile Principles (#10 is up there too.). It’s obvious, thought-provoking, and in-your face.

Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Yes, the Agile Principles state outright that you should find and keep a pace that can be maintained indefinitely, and everyone should have that pace. I’d love to phrase this positively, but let’s face it, it’s a principle about not burning out.

Yes, way back in 2001 the Agile gurus were well aware of the potential for burnout, death marches, and more and made it part of their principles.

Agile Processes Promote Sustainable Development.

Agile processes make sure that development is sustainable – that the inputs, velocity, testing, processes, demands, etc. all are aimed so everyone (and I do mean everyone) involved could keep this up forever.  This of course makes sense – once you find a doable pace you’re able to continue, predictably, over time.  When there is deviation, you can adapt as you’ve got a stable pace going.  When it’s sustainable you can keep delivering value.

This flies in the face of so much we’re taught about work, leisure, and so on. We’re taught to expect death marches. We’re taught to expect rushes. We’re taught to idolize being overworked. This Agile Principle outright states ‘bollocks to that’ and says ‘no.’ Or if we want to put it positively, says ‘yes’ to sustainability.

But I’ve seen so many death marches and overtime pushes I like the “no” part.  But let’s get away from negative/positive, let’s talk about why this matters to creatives.

  1. Creatives are often in areas and industries that promote death marches and rushes.
  2. Even if we’re not in #1 we often do it to ourselves.
  3. The unpredictability of creative work may lead us to pace ourselves erratically anyway – and accept it as normal.
  4. Because of these issues we don’t try to find a way to work better.
  5. All this stress outright kills creativity – and the goodwill that’s needed for it.  It’s a testimony to many creatives that they’ve sustained in the face of so many things.

Because it is so important this means . . .

We Need to Consciously Work On Sustainability

You don’t just say “hey, let’s be sustainable” and it happens.  It’s something you work on – this principle reminds us to commit to it, to make sure we find a pace we can all work at, together.

This principle, despite the fact it’s a call to work appropriately, is also a call to work on sustainability.  You need to take the time and effort to make work sustainable.  You need to educate yourself on principles and processes to make things sustainable.  Hopefully this is the collective “you” – all the sponsors, users, and developers in your creative work.

But it might be the lone “you.”  Sorry, you might be the lone voice of sustainability and have to advocate.  Maybe these columns can help, but let me emphasize that if you’re using Agile, keep reading up on it and researching it.  There’s plenty of knowledge out there.

Note that this Principle means everyone in the project.  It could just be you and one client, it could be a giant team and users/audience.  So let’s talk about how the three different groups – sponsors, developers, users – can promote sustainability on a creative project.

Sponsors And Sustainability

Sponsors are the people asking for the work. It would seem their role is obvious – don’t overload people!  Of course it’s not that obvious.  Each of the three groups have different interactions on creative projects.  So how can Sponsors work with the other groups?

Developers:

  • Sponsors need to understand what pace Developers can work at and support it – perhaps even push back on those pressuring them.
  • Sponsors need to work with Developers and be available so they can both assist developers, but also stay aware of their pace and sustainability.
  • Sponsors need to listen to Developers; the developers know what they’re doing. In creative work, this is exceptionally important because of the little intricacies and intimacies.

Users:

  • Sponsors need to understand User expectations – not just what is wanted, but what can be handled. it might sound great to shovel out a ton of stuff (such as game patches), but this may limit feedback and communication. Users can only handle so much.
  • Sponsors should listen to Users and get feedback, finding ways to encourage sustainable development.  This may also mean understanding User perspectives – and what they want and you want may differ.
  • Sometimes the Sponsor is the User – and you’ll need to figure out how you feel in both roles.

In promoting sustainable development, a good Sponsor is realistic, listens, facilitates – and doesn’t overload Developers. I won’t lie – sometimes you become a firewall or a funnel. Be a good one.

Now a few warnings. Where does this usually go wrong in creative works?

  • Sponsors often come to Developers far too late in creative processes – I’ve seen it a number of times. Sponsors should engage Developers in creative works as early as possible and learn their pace.
  • Sponsors overload Developers. This often fails, leads to bad blood, and the “there’s more where that came from” attitude I see a bit too often in creative fields makes enemies.
  • Sponsors don’t pay attention to Users or assume on what they want. They often get it wrong.
  • Sponsors assume they know how the creative process works. Often they’re wrong because even if they are a creative, each creative is different.

With sponsors covered, let’s get to Developers – which, my guess, covers a lot of my readers.

Developers And Sustainability

Developers make the creative work. Also an obvious role, but a Developer’s role is really kind of strange – they’re an expert in making something who often deal with people who aren’t. Thus you’re trying to give people what they want when they don’t know how you do it. Though they probably think they do and it drives you crazy.

Worse, you’re sort of in the middle of the Users and the Sponsors. You spend a lot of time making something for the actual target audience, you do research, so sometimes you end up as a bridge. When the User and Sponsor is the same (say, if you’re doing an art piece for someone directly), they can still seem like two different people and you have to bridge the gaps in someone’s own head.

(Ever have someone argue with themselves about a creative work? Probably.)

Finally, you’re probably the one most aware of any burnout, overload, or unsustainability, and you have to tell people about it. Sometimes those people aren’t happy with you. OK most of the time.

So first up, if you’re a Creative (and you probably are if you’re reading this), get ready to do a lot of psychology for yourself and for others. You do the work others don’t do, see things differently, and are kind of in the middle. However, to make sure your work is sustainable, you have to think about them.

Sponsors:

  • Give Sponsors feedback and information to help them pace themselves and pace working with you. The more pre-emptively you give them an idea of what’s sustainable, the quicker they’ll get it.
  • Help Sponsors reach a sustainable pace – they don’t do the work, they may not know what it is. You might save them from burnout and being overly pressured – or help them find they can do more.
  • Help Sponsors understand your work and what you’re doing so they can work with you sustainably.
  • If needed, bridge the gap between them and the user on what’s sustainable.
  • You’re also probably the one most focused on using Agile methods, so help them understand them – including the Eight Principle.

Users:

  • Understand Users have a limit to what they can process and work with that. Their pace may be slower than yours, so you need to slow down, or faster, and you need to find a reasonable delivery.  That may need to be communicated to Sponsors – and in creative work the pace may vary a lot.
  • Users may not understand their own limits; be aware of the.
  • Remember to work feedback from the Users of your creative work into your plans and pacing. Feedback can consume a lot of time.
  • Learn to understand how the users think and communicate. Help bridge gaps with the Sponsors.
  • Users might not get the creative efforts you put in – find ways to subtly make them aware (it helps set expectations)

A good creative Developer is aware of their process and abilities so they can not only pace themselves, but pace themselves with others, and help others pace themselves. Because you’re where work happens, you’re the most able to understand what’s going on and what can probably be sustained. You just have to make the effort.

Now a few bits of advice for Creative Developers trying to keep a sustainable pace in Creative work.

  • Sustainability also incorporates probable interruptions – vacation, illness, training, etc.
  • Yes, there will always be rushes. Minimize them, adapt, work them into expectations.
  • Don’t assume because you know how the creative process works that you’re superior – don’t get arrogant. That can lead to over-confidence and/or poor communication with Sponsors and Users.
  • Also remember how unpredictable creative work can be – communicate that but also work to minimize it.

Users and Sustainability

It feels weird to even go into this part – this is pitched at Agile Creatives. That definitely covers Developers and may cover Sponsors. But Users? They’re the end consumer of a creative product. They may not be that interested in all this.

I include this however because you, doubtlessly a Creative of some kind, will be communicating with Users (and thus you can figure how they can work with you), and probably are a User at some point (and can work better with others). It’s my small way to bridge the Developer-User gap in Creative work. Whatever side you’re on, you can help the other side work better.

One thing Users forget is that they to have to have a sustainable pace, and it’s easy to think “I can handle anything” delivered to you because you want it. However, getting too much of a good thing is not sustainable – you can’t enjoy it, can’t give feedback, etc. You to, even as a pure consumer, have limits, and pushing those does no favors to the people doing work for you.

Sponsors:

  • I find Users are often very abstract from Sponsors, from idolizing them to being suspicious of them, to ignoring them. Instead, be aware of them and who they are – and their motivations.
  • Understand sponsors have their own limits. Learn to be a responsible User in your demands and interests.
  • Find ways to engage Sponsors realistically – if they actually engage you, be grateful (I find a lot of Sponsors aren’t to great at this).
  • Be aware that the pipeline between Sponsors, Developers, and you has a lot of bumps.

Developers:

  • Respect the Developers time and understand that they are often not only the limitation on delivery, they’e also the ones doing a lot of work.
  • Engage constructively with Developers. In fact, the more you engage with them, the better you understand sustainability, and the more you can help them with feedback.
  • if you’re really engaged with Developers, learn how they work on their creative projects.  It’ll help you appreciate them – and you may learn some things.

I don’t have a lot of other advice for Users promoting Creative Agile to use Sustainability except for this – remember you’re part of the process to.  Working with others means much better stuff on your end.

Moving On- Sustainably

Sustainable development requires everyone’s effort – and commitment.  In a creative project, this is even more of a challenge.  It requires everyone to get on board.

Of course if not everyone is on board, you’ll get to help with that because you’re the one reading this.

So let’s round up what we can learn:

  • Good Agile involves sustainability.
  • This sustainability requires all sides to be involved and committed.
  • Each of those involved in an Agile project – creative or otherwise – has a role to play.
  • Sustainability is more challenging in creative projects due to a variety of factors.

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

We’ve passed the halfway points! We’re now on the Seventh Principle behind the Agile Manifesto. It looks simple, and in fact is simple, which means I’m going to go on at length about it. Let’s take a look:

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

Yeah, it’s pretty clear isn’t it? I’m very fond of it because the idea is the measure of progress is something that actually works. No maybies, no charges, no plans, no mockups. Something that works is how you measure progress.

But let’s tweak it a bit for creatives, since creative work involves a wide range of stuff from art to presentations to films.

Usable products are the primary measure of progress.

There, not much of a change, but we broadened it out. You measure progress primarily by giving people things that are usable.

Now of course, I’m going to analyze the heck out of it.

You measure progress with something people can use – even if imperfect

Your efforts should focus on giving people something they can use and experience – that’s it.  It’s usable/working/review-able or whatever you want to call it.  That does not mean it is:

  • Complete.
  • Ready for public release.
  • Ready for all of your customers to use.
  • Even that good.

You may deliver work that’s incomplete and lousy, but at least each embarrassingly bad delivery there’s something people can use to give you feedback.  You will improve it over time.

As you may guess this means . . .

Delivering usable product means feedback

Giving people something they can use, no matter how incomplete or half-baked, at least means you’ll get feedback on it. It may not be nice feedback, it may mean a lot more work, it may mean a change of direction. But at least you know what to do next.

So the more often you deliver, the better you do getting people to their destination – because you learn how to better get there.  It’s a lot like navigation – in fact your customer or client may learn about what they really want once they have something they can really experience.

But it’s not just people who give feedback. You and your team give each other feedback. If it’s just you, then YOU give yourself feedback (even if it’s “that was dumb”). You also learn by making something usable as opposed to reaching abstract deadlines and milestones.

There’s nothing like having to make something workable to really learn what you have to do, and what you shouldn’t have done.

Now to do this . . .

This almost always means iterative development – so plan for it

So as you’ve probably guessed from reading so far, this Principle really hearkens to iterative development. You measure progress with usable product, so you’ll be delivering useable product over time – probably improvements of previous deliveries. That’s pretty common in Agile, obviously and we’ve already discussed it.

But this means that anything useable you deliver is something you should plan for and keep in mind. Don’t just work on something, work on it in a way that helps you give actual results as often as possible. This could mean:

  • Constant refinement, like putting a logo through more and more iterations.
  • Delivering in usable parts, like a costume where each piece is complete (and, say, at least display-worthy).
  • Delivering in review-able parts, like a piece of writing where each chapter is something that can be edited.

So you can keep getting work out, do that work in the best way that keeps delivering useable results. Because when you do that . . .

Useable Products Are THE Way to Measure Progress

Delivering usable products is the way to measure progress. There’s the obvious ones of “this customer is happy,” but you can also use this to get a bit more mechanical and procedural.

  • If you have a list of features for something, like perhaps a game, as you deliver them in prototype, you can check them off. Yes, some may be wrong or changed, but you can get a rough idea of progress.
  • If you are aiming for certain numbers, such as a performance score or loading speed or image size, then you can measure them – with workable product.
  • Of course, you get abstract feedback from others, maybe customers or even beta testers and early access users. They might provide other quantifiable forms of feedback, ranging from yes/no responses to answering polls and questions.

From simple lists of features to complex analysis, usable product is not just a way to measure results in general, but gives you a way to get specific results, maybe even complex ones that need some number crunching.  Thinking in deliverables and producing them gives you access to a wealth of data.

Though I wouldn’t overdo it. This is Agile after all, let’s not get complicated.

Rounding Up

Let’s review the Seventh Agile Principle for Creatives:

  • Frequently produce something usable for your audience, no matter how imperfect.
  • Iterative development is the best way to do the above, so organize your work accordingly.
  • Because you are delivering something usable, you’ll get feedback and learn, meaning you can produce a better product.
  • If you need to have deeper analysis, working products are a great way to do it.

It’s another simple principle, but it’s really great advice – progress is producing something.

Sounds like you could overload yourself with trying to constantly get stuff out, right?  Well, let’s move to the Eighth Principle . . .

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

Agile principle #6 is a simple and sweet one about communications.  It needs no embellishment:

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

This is obvious.  If you want to get the most done, effectively, talk to a person directly.  I could probably stop here and you and I have easily discussed 70% of the value of this Principle.

Obviously I’m not done – and we’re talking Agile and Agile Creativity, so there’s some subtleties to go into.  So I’d like to discuss this principle in a bit more detail, and focused on creative work.  This probably would be faster if we were face-to-face, so revel in the irony.

Good communication is vital to all work – creativity moreso.

It’s obvious that you get more done productively if you actually go and talk to people, and in-person conversations convey a lot of information effectively.   In-person you can judge gestures, expressions, voice pitch and more.  In-person you sync-up with people better.

When you communicate effectively, you say more, hear more, and can work effectively.  You can adapt better because you’re actually talking to someone directly and saying so much more.  I’ve seen team behavior change and become more productive when face-to-face activities are introduced.

In creative works are challenging to communicate because they involve everything from intuitive interpretation to understanding complex emotions.  This makes face-to-face or similar far more important because there’s just a lot to convey.  So if you have to collaborate creatively, get talking face to face

(As you may guess, I accept we can’t always get face-to-face, which means) . . .

Face-to-face isn’t always possible, so make due

Communicating with people on your team face-to-face sounds great.  It’s also probably impossible at many times due to location, travel, mutual loathing, and what have you.  So what do you do?  You find the closest-way to face-to-face in order to interact.  This could mean:

  • Video conferences (with sharing)
  • Chat programs (of course)
  • Phone conferences.
  • Meeting face-to-face when you can and packing in all the communication you can do.

You do what you can.  This may mean when it comes to creative works, you have to get pretty innovative.  You may do things like sending people videos and following up with online chat, and it may not be face-to-face, but it’ll be as close as you can get.

Is this somehow violating the ideal?  No, because . . .

Face To face is the most efficient and effective method – not the only one.

This Principle is a recommendation and a statement of truth – face to face is the best way to communicate within your team.  It’s not the only one, it’s just the best.  Agile isn’t big on hard rules and structures.

But sometimes the best is not available, so you do what you can.  Don’t fret, don’t beat yourself up over it.  Just do what you can.

A quick thought for solo creatives.

Does this matter to the solo creative?  Actually, hidden within this Principle are two important lessons:

  • You may be solo, but changes are you still are depending on other people for some things.  Delivering supplies.  Providing editorial services.  Etc.  Face-to-face still applies to these “team-like” connections.
  • Are you taking time to really communicate with yourself?  Analyze results, do research, consider where you’re going?  You might not be – learn to pay attention to yourself.

A moment for review

This simple principle is pretty easy to review:

  • Face-to-face is the best way to communicate with your team members.
  • If Face-to-Face isn’t possible, learn the best alternatives.
  • Even when solo, practice good communications techniques and take the time to self-reflect.

Simple one there.  Good, because the next Principle seems simple – but has a lot of depth.  In a way it’s a core to a lot of Agile thought . . .

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

So if Agile Principle #4 was kind of heavy, Agile Principle #5 is a bit more philosophical – but also is very thought-provoking. It states:

Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

This one makes a lot of sense. Make sure you have motivated people, give them what they need, and trust them. It’s a great principle, and having seen the opposite applied, I can assure you it leads to failure when you don’t do this.

But some creatives are solo acts. So let’s add on to this:

Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. This applies to any size of team, from yourself to a large group.

There. Now it applies to everyone from a hundred people to you alone working on a project. In fact, imagining how this applies just to you helps you understand how it applies to a team. Let’s take a look at this Principle:

Build Projects . . .

It may seem weird to focus on just two words, but the fact this is about projects is important. Projects have defined goals (even if they change) and ends (or potential to end). It’s important to have bounded activities and goals – and not just for direction or signoff.

Having a project focus means you can evaluate progress, know what you want to accomplish, and know when you’re done. That’s vital to retain motivation and interest in these projects. People who feel motivated may loose it if they’re going in loops and don’t know if they’re accomplishing anything.

This is even more important when talking Agile for creatives. Creative projects can go in all sorts of directions, never end, never be broken down. Infinite possibility gives you infinite ways to never complete the work.

Solo Creative Tips:

  • Having defined projects helps you set goals and directions for yourself.
  • Having defined projects keeps you from trying to keep all the information in your head – having notes, spreadsheets, etc. keeps you from having to juggle that in your head.
  • Having defined projects will keep you motivated.
  • Having defined projects lets you share them when needed – say, if you need help.

 . . . around motivated individuals.

Quick, when’s the last time you worked iwth unmotivated individuals? Did you measure it in years, months, days, or minutes? Were you an unmotivated person?

Forget any happy motivational speaker talk, let’s be honest – unmotivated people do awful work. Many, many projects fail or are done halfway because of poor motivation. Many managers and leaders never pay for their awful job at motivating and finding motivated people.

Meanwhile, truly motivated people can achieve a great deal. Motivation is instinctive, and thus it guides and directs, inspires and drives; a truly motivated person brings their entire set of skills and interests and knowledge to a project.

If you want to have a project succeed, you want to find people who are motivated and motivate those there. I will state for the record many, many people are utterly terrible at this.

Motivation is a necessary part of any Agile method as it’s a light, adaptable approach to work. It doesn’t rely on someone directing or provoking work, it relies on feedback, direct communication, and initiative. Un-motivated people give poor feeebdak, ask poorly for feedback, have issues with communicating, and have no initiative. Agile methods of any kind don’t work without some motivation.

That means it’s up to you on any project to encourage motivation in yourself and others – and to find it. This is an entire area you could study up on to improve your work and leadership, by the way.

For creative work, you can guess that this is somehow even more important. Creativity is visceral, and the gut-feel of motivation is necessary to drive creative work – or even to feel creative. Creatives who are unmotivated often have trouble doing work or their best work as they don’t have that visceral drive.

And most work has some creativity in it.

Solo Creative Tips:

  • Understand and evaluate your motivations – honestly.  This helps you appreciate, follow, and continue your motivation.
  • If you aren’t motivated, ask why.  It may be something to address – it may be a sign you’re on the wrong path.
  • It helps to have someone or someones to help you assess your motivations and state of mind in creative work.
  • Learn how to coach and motivate yourself.  Besides, it may be good practice for coaching and motivating others.

Give them the environment and support they need . . .

People need the right environment to succeed of course.  The right technology, the right information, the right lack of noise (or lack of lack of noise).

When it comes to creative works, this is even more important because creative activities require certain technologies, environments, equipment, and more people aren’t always aware of.  That monitor better have damned good color resolution for subtle artistic tweaks, you’ll want to get that bulk membership to a royalty-free photos site for digital work, and if your team works odd hours have the right chat software.  Creative work’s “right environment” may be something not easily apparent.

It helps of course to ask people what they need- and listen.  Which leads to . . .

People also need support.  They need someone to solve problems, address issues, back them up, give them the professional and personal help they need.

(If you ever worked with a job without good support, well, you know how well that went.  And why you’re probably not there).

For creative work, support is, much like the environment, something that will take effort to provide because of the many variables of creative work – and creative people.  Listen to people doing the work like writing, art, graphics, and so on to figure what support they need – and provide it.

If you are a creative, learn to listen to and support other creatives on your projects.  Creativity isn’t some magical spigot we turn on and off, and if you know that, you can help others.

By the way, on the subject of helping others, let’s get to helping yourself  . . .

Solo Creative Tips:

  • Be sure you have the right equipment for your creative works.  That may seem obvious, but it’s easy to miss (as I once found using the wrong monitor).
  • Make sure you develop an appropriate creative environment to work in.  Imagine you had to set it up for someone else, and go from there.
  • Support yourself as a creative – taking care of yourself, figuring what helps you be creative better, learning to take breaks, etc.
  • I find that for creatives, having a group of like minded creatives helps you in solo work – they have good advice and insights.  As may you.

. . .and trust them to get the job done.

Once you give people who are motivated the right environment, once you’ve got their back, go ahead and trust them to do the job.  Help, enhance, guide, offer, so what you can to assist.  But trust first (which may be hard when a mistake is made, but often they’re honest).

This is challenging in any situation – we’re taught not to trust people.  One of the most revolutionary things about Agile methods is the emphasis on trust and transparency, which is probably why they can be so disruptive.

Creativity, which is often variable, unpredictable, and personal makes that trust harder to give as it’s harder to understand what’s going on.  If you’re working with creatives, you’ll want to go the extra mile to trust them.  That’s also because . . .

. . . trust is somehow even more vital in creative works.  Because of the many variables there’s personal opinions, trial and error, and the need to experiment.  This means that creative works, in some ways, can go further afield before coming back to the point and may need even more feedback than most works.  Trust is essential for this – and to navigate the more esoteric issues you may encounter.

On a personal level, I think there’s also a kind of mistrust of creatives among people.  Folks may see them as lazy as their job seems enjoyable.  People may think they’re strange because of their work.  Others may assume they’re unreliable because of the many variables in their work.

Most of that is B.S.  But it’s a challenge for people.

Solo Creative Tips:

  • Trust yourself.  This is probably harder than trusting other creative people; we tend to be hard on ourselves.
  • A good way to trust yourself is to keep and review successes in recent works (I do this myself).

The Right People, The Right Environment, The Right You

The Fifth Agile Principle is one of the most wonderfully obvious, no-nonsense ideas that really calls out how easily you can do things wrong.  Get motivated people (or motivate them), give them what they need, stand back and trust them. Stuff gets done.

It bears repeating because, like many Agile Principles, the obvious gets missed.  That’s why we need them.

When it comes to creatives, this principle requires thoughtfulness and discretion because supporting creative works may require extra effort – especially if you’re not a creative type.  It’s one to keep in mind as you help people out.

And if you are a creative, hey – support yourself.  And support others doing creative work.

 

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

There’s something horribly restrictive about creativity. Ever start something and feel trapped? Ever have an imaginative project become a burden? Why?

If you think of it, creativity means that you can do anything. The human mind can imagine things that were are are, never were but could be, and are not but shall be. In a creative act, from an add campaign to a novel, you could do anything.

Modern tools make things even easier. A decent set of CGI tools or self-publishing can bring any work to life.

Yet, why are creative works and acts so often frustrating, feeling like a trap? Why do we worry over writer’s block, argue about subjective artistic choices, or turn creative work into a death march? That’s because the sheer opportunity of creativity and all the options leads us to make bad choices.

When you can do anything, you can find new ways to screw it up.

The Choice of Paralysis

We all know writer’s and artists with too many ideas in their heads – indeed we may be one. They have all the opportunity in the world – and can’t decide what or how to do it. They are paralyzed by the very power they have to create.

Soon, nothing gets done because they can do anything. One choice is swapped for another, one color for another, and nothing truly finishes. It’s like constantly trying to adjust your thermostat.

(This is similar to the business term, “Paralysis through Analysis.”)

We can be free, only to be lost in a maze of maybes.

The Choice Of Fear

Having many ways to create, we also can see many paths to failure. Which is the right option out of an infinity? Which will get the job done? Which will at least keep people from getting angry at us?

Lost in fear, we loose our creative edge – it’s hard to imagine when you’re second-guessing everything. Creativity becomes a constant dodge of imagined failure and anger. At best, we imagine ways around problems we also imagined.

Fear is one of the causes of the Choice of Paralysis as well. Because we’re afraid, we’re endlessly using our imaginations to come up with things we then decide aren’t good enough.

Creatives are good at imagining, and often imagine worst cases.

The Choice Of Miscommunication

Communicating creative works is hard. There’s often something visceral, beyond words at the core of what we do. But we must also make it accessible to others – because our audience is often not us.

Yet with so many options, do we choose the one that helps people get it? I’m not talking about over-explaining, I’m talking about using our infinite choices to create a work that is accessible to the audience. It’s all well and good to have a great idea, but not if people can’t enjoy it.

At times, frustrated, we may avoid addressing miscommunication, because we expect to be “misunderstood.” We don’t have to.

At times, aloof, we may figure that we don’t have to work to be accessible, for the journey to understand our creations is part of them, right?

At times, we fear miscommunication – and the Choice of Fear catches us again.

We have infinite options, and sometimes choose the ones that lock people out or can never figure how to talk to them.The Choice Of Restriction

When confronted with many options, some of us don’t choose to wander through creative options, we instead restrict our choices. Plans and plots, review sessions and sign-offs, imagination turned into a checklist. We try to restrict and channel creativity, to avoid both too many opportunities as well as the fear of failure.

In this case we probably stomp all the fun out of it – and make ourselves less creative. It’s hard to look forward to your next work when all you can see is lists and marketing data.

Worse, we often make the Choice of Restriction because it helps us deal with the other bad choices. If we build some elaborate system it’ll solve all our problems! Of course we then imagine a system that destroys the fun of creativity.

We try to control creativity and thus make it harder.

The Choice Of Safety

Confronted with many fears, with marketing needs, with needs for a paycheck, many creatives opt to play it safe. Make the same thing over and over. Don’t innovate too much. Recheck everything. Make it like last time.

We take all that potential and make it like te last thing we did. Some creatives are satisfied by this – and the paychecks – but not everyone. Besides “Survivor bias” paints a far rosier picture.

This is often the end result of the Choice Of Restriction. We give up on creativity entirely, and just make it into a machine. We may wonder, at times, why we’re so frustrated, but may lack the imagination to know why.

We can try to stop innovating, just to be safe. It somehow doesn’t feel safe.

Facing the Paradoxes

So now, facing these paradoxial choices – Paralysis, Fear, Miscommunication, Restriction, Safety, how do we creatives deal with them?

By getting ahead of them. You’re a creative person – you should be able to create ways AROUND these limits. You need to face them head on. Here’s a few things I found, but you’ll need to find your own methods:

Paralysis – Can be addressed by making and reviewing choices, accepting imperfections, and iterative improvement.
Fear – Can be addressed by diving in, producing, facing it. In a few cases personal support or even therapy may help, but don’t let fear rule you.

Miscommunication – Develop empathy with people. Learn to understand them. Also learn that you can’t please everyone – don’t be angry about that, accept it.

Restriction – Can be addressed by making it unnecessary as you’ve build in your own ways of channeling work, but giving yourself space.

Safety – Dealing with Safety requires us to regularly get out of our comfort zones. It doesn’t mean some radical push, it means regularly poking your head out a bit more, trying new things.

For me, using Agile methods have been my methods. Regular reviews help me stay on track. Setting out blocks of time gives me freedom. Staying in touch with my vision gives me guidance and inspiration. It’s worked for me – it may work for you.

But my methods or not, tackle these issues head on.

As a Creative, find your methods, your ways, to deal witht hese issues. They might be my ways, they may be someone elses, they may be yours. But when you address these Choices that make Creativity so paradoxial, then you can truly get amazing things done.

With less stress and less of the wrong kinds of paradoxes.

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

Now the fourth Principle of Agile Software, which we’ll be re-purposing for creative work, is simple until you think about it for two seconds. It states.

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

Easy, right? First, let’s tweak this a bit for creatives

Customers and creatives must work together daily throughout the project.

Still simple, but I’m pretty sure you’ve been in situations where you couldn’t get someone to talk. Or respond to email. You probably wondered if they were OK. Maybe the Fourth principle is harder than it looks . .

At the same time, despite your disbelief, you probably see the value in this. If you and whoever you’re doing work for are in communication, you work better, get feedback better, and so on. Work becomes easier, faster, and friendlier.

It’s just that this sounds like it’d be real hard to implement.

So let’s break this Principle down – and focus on how you make it work – to everyone’s benefit.

Customers And Creatives Must Work Together . . .

This is a bit of a “duh” rule. But pause for a second and ask yourself what working together with the customer *really* means.

This Principle doesn’t say one is in charge and the other isn’t. It’s not about following a plan or not doing it. It’s the idea that you and your customer work together. You’re a team, even if one of you sort of started all of this and is probably paying the bills.

So you want to make sure you and whoever you’re doing creative work for are actually cooperating together to get a result and thinking of yourselves as working together. This is a bit of a radical mindshift (probably for both of you) and you can help encourage it because, well, you’re reading this. Approach working with your creative customers as a team effort, which means:

  • Encourage cooperation (of course).
  • Treat work as succeeding (and failing) together.
  • Develop a team approach, think of yourself as a team, cultivate that.
  • Include customers (when appropriate) in activities, from status reports to team lunches.

By the way, this may have you askin “hey, who is my customer.” We’ll get to that, but let’s finish off looking at the Foruth principle.

. . . daily throughout the project

Yes. The Fourth Agile Principle expects you to work with your customer daily throughout the project. The reason for this is obvious – you’re in touch with the people you’re doing work for. Talking to them and communicating with them to get questions answered, get feedback, etc. means two things:

  • You’re better directed towards the goal (even when it changes).
  • It develops good teamwork (which leads to informal improvements).

Yes, you are in contact daily, interacting, daily, and by now you’re probably thinking “how the heck can I do that?”

Ideally, you’d be in touch with people you’re doing work for all the time; indeed, ideally you’d work with them in person. In actual reality, in an age of conference calls and distributed teams, it’s a lot harder to work with people daily. I find the best way to solve this is – literally – just do your best and be aware of it.

It’s an ideal to aspire you. A few things I’ve found that help are:

  • Chat programs. Just passing an update to someone can help.
  • Email summaries and statuses. Sending quick daily updates helps.
  • Open Hours. Have a time in your schedule where someone can contact you; maybe you even sit in on a conference call or voice chat and anyone can swing by.
  • Talk to some if not all people. If your customer contact involves multiple people, touch base and work with as many of them as you can, even if it can’t be or doesn’t need to be all.
  • Cultivate customer communication. Help the customer develop this communicate-with-team attitude as well.
  • Radiators. Have some kind of chart, status sheet, document dump, working beta, that people can look at and use to get update. It’s passive communication, but it’s something.

I tend to solve the need for regular communication by mixing regular methods (daily updates, radiators) and informal (using chat programs and upates). Combined together, people stay in touch overall, even if individual methods don’t cover everyone.

And yes, trying to convince people daily communication is a good idea may be hard. If you’ve got people who are heads down, who like their privacy, etc. it may be harder. Cultivating this is going to be a bit of work.

Ultimately, I find this part of the Fourth Principle ultimately wraps up with the first part. You work together, you cooperate. As you do so, you’re better able to communicate daily because you’re more of a team.

But there’s a complication . . .

The Fourth Principle’s Complication: Client and Audience

The Fourth principle may sound hard to implement, but it’s an easy one – except but there’s another wrinkle. There’s the customer and then there’s the audience . . .

If you’re doing a logo, it’s easy – the customer asks for a logo. You make it. The customer’s customers, the “audience” may or may not like it, but it’s probably no big deal.

But what if you’re making a tutorial? Someone may ask you to make that tutorial, and you work as a team, but isnt the audience someone you need to keep in mind, because that tutorial is for THEM. The audience is also a bit more of a customer.

Now take this all the way; you’re an author. You have no direct customer or customer team, just a lot of readers, some of which you’re in touch with some of which you aren’t. How do you collaborate with that ?

When working to use the Fourth Principle as guidance, you’ll need to understand just who the customer is and just who the audience is. It might not be easy.

Rounding Up

Let’s review the Fourth Agile Principle for Creatives:

  • Delivering useable work focuses your efforts on what to deliver and how to deliver.
  • By delivering work as early as possible, you get feedback on the work you’ve done, which improves the results and communications.
  • Delivering work frequently creates feedback, communication, trust, and transparency.
  • Frequent delivery of useable work requires you to develop the best way to deliver, improving how you operate.
  • The shorter the timeframe the better, as it increases all the advantages of delivering useable work.
  • Frequent delivery of work provides direction, guidance, communication, and builds trust – areas that creative work needs, but that are also very challenging.

One simple Principle that packs a lot of benefits – and a lot of challenges – in. Worth taking to heart, just be ready for the actions it’ll take to make it real.

But, you’re someone that probably wants to improve and grow – as does everyone on your team. Let’s look at that in the Fifth Agile Principle.

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

All right now let’s get to what the Third Agile Principle and what it means for creatives, and continue our journey to apply the Agile Manifest to creative work.

I’m sorry, Third Principle of Agile Software. In fact, it’s kinda software-heavy Principle, which means for creatives we’ve got to rethink it a bit. Let’s take a look:

Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

This is pretty clear: deliver actual stuff often. It’s just it assumes that you’re delivering software and that you deliver within a given timeframe. As a creative, you’re probably not delivering software, and we know all to well some creative works need delivery in compressed timeframes.

Let’s not constrain ourselves and think of the third principle this way:

Deliver useable work frequently, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Pretty clear? Let’s break it down and see what it means from you. This one is *dense.*

Deliver Useable Work . . .

Whatever you give to a client, customer, etc. should be something usable. It may be rough, it may be incomplete, it may be rather bad. But you deliver something they can use, even if upon using it they think “this needs a lot of improvement.”

So why are you doing this for them – and perhaps to them?

First, usable work gets you feedback. A (somewhat) useable product, like a logo or document, means people can evaluate how you’re doing and give directions – or confirmation. It may mean they can even put your work into use, which means they get feedback to pass on from other people. For creative works, which have so many variables, early feedback is important as it helps you navigate to completion.

(Shades of Principle #2).

Second, focusing on useable work focuses you on making things people want and need. What is the highest priority to do? What makes something “usable” versus just “better?” Asking these questions means you are more likely to focus on what’s important; developing a new logo that looks right is better than slightly tweaking RGB codes to get the perfect blue half the population can’t tell from most other blues.

Third, this focuses you on delivery. You have to figure how tomake whatever you do actually deliverable and accessible – which can be very revealing. Having to make something that people can use means considering everything from file formats to image sizes to spellchecked documents. You have to ask just what to do first and in what order. This is a great way to reign in your creative ideas and focus on something you can actually give solid form.

These three words are a great way to focus on getting the job done – delivering the right thing so you get feedback. It’d be great to get that early, in fact . . .

EXERCISE: Think of one of your latest creative works. What made it “deliverable” – and how much work did that take over doing the actual work?

 . . . Frequently

If you’re going to actually give people a usable result, be it a comic strip or a piece of a costume, you don’t want to wait a long time for feedback. So when you deliver, whatever you deliver, however pathetic (but functional) it is, deliver it frequently.

Frequent delivery of work means the people you’re doing it for give you feedback more often. With more feedback, the next delivery becomes better (and perhaps faster). Frequent delivery means a dialogue, and enhances communications. In fact, frequent delivery can help lower barriers (psychological and institutional) as people get used to communicating and find new ways to do it.

This is very important in creative work as, with so many variables, communications helps direct your efforts.

With this frequent delivery, people also build trust. When a creative provides results to a client, even if incomplete, they’re taking the lid off of their process and giving people a view of how they work. When a client gives honest feedback that helps, the creative can trust them more. In both cases things are much more open and obvious.

This is very important in creative work as, with so many options and directions, and with work often being personal, mistrust or miscommunication can occur too easily.

Behind the scenes, thinking Frequency also means you restructure your work so you can deliver effectively. This can be challenging and even contradictory, say delivering the later chapter of a book earlier as it’s easier to do or more vital. But when you think frequent delivery, you think about how to deliver better.

“Frequently.” That one word in the Principle covers a whole lot.

EXERCISE: Think of someone you worked for where there was a lot of mistrust. How could more frequent deliver or communications have helped lower that mistrust?

 . . . With A Preference For A Shorter Timescale

Well if you’re delivering all this useable work frequently, getting all that feedback, thinking how to make things deliverable, you also want to do it as often as possible. The shorter the better.

This part of the principle accelerates all of the other benefits:

  • The faster you deliver the more feedback you get.
  • The faster you deliver the more you communicate in general.
  • The faster you deliver the more you optimize your work.
  • The faster you deliver the more transparent you are.
  • The faster you deliver the faster you get any mistakes out of the way (on all sides).

If there’s a challenge, it’s deciding just how frequent you really need to deliver. This is something to figure out between yourself, your client, any co-workers, and harsh reality.

This “more often” can get pretty common. After all you could optimize work to deliver daily or every other day. You might work directly with a client for a time or for an hour each day. If it works and delivers value then give it a try. In creative work, the more feedback the better.

By the way, I reccomend the timescale you use be regular if possible. Having an idea of when you meet, or when someone is editing a document, or when you have to send a file increases predictability.

EXERCISE: How fast do you usually deliver work to a client, and why do you work in that timeframe? Have you tried other timeframes – or any?

A Simple Principle With Many Repercussions

Delivering useable work frequently sounds simple – perhaps one of the simplest ofa the Principles, but it like all Principles it has hidden depths. Frequent delivery of useable work does everything from making you consider your work to enhancing communication. Besides, if you get anything wrong on the work or anything else, you get that fast feedback.

Work with people, clients and co-workers, to get that rapid and effective delivery into your creative works. You’ll be glad you did – or if you aren’t glad, you will be iteratively.

So in review:

  • Delivering useable work focuses your efforts on what to deliver and how to deliver.
  • By delivering work as early as possible, you get feedback on the work you’ve done, which improves the results and communications.
  • Delivering work frequently creates feedback, communication, trust, and transparency.
  • Frequent delivery of useable work requires you to develop the best way to deliver, improving how you operate.
  • The shorter the timeframe the better, as it increasea ll the advantages of delivering useable work.
  • Frequent delivery of work provides direction, guidance, communication, and builds trust – areas that creative work needs, but that are also very challenging

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

 

My friend Serdar has a fascinating response to my column on the Agile Manifesto for creatives.  Focusing on my calling out overdocumentation, he sums things up amazingly well:

Back when I started working on Flight Of The Vajra, that mammoth space opera epic thing o’ mine, I wasn’t in the habit of assiduously documenting the contents of my stories for reference. If I couldn’t fit the whole thing in my head, my thinking went, it was my fault. Then I discovered Dostoevsky’s work notebooks and decided to stop being silly and start keeping track of everything. And thus was born my use of a wiki as a receptacle for all things related to a given project — characters, plotting, storyline, locations, red herrings, MacGuffins, veeblefetzers*, etc.

The trap with such things, as I quickly found out, is that you can spend so much time planning and documenting the project that it becomes tempting to use that as a substitute for writing it. In which case you’re not dealing in fiction anymore, but something more akin to tabletop RPG modules.

(Emphasis Mine)

I’ve played a lot of RPGs and games.  I love worldbooks and guides.  I enjoy fan wikis.  However, reading Serdar’s comments made me realize that it’s possible to take documentation concepts from one form of media and apply it to another inappropriately.

RPG books, character sheets, wikis, etc. can teach us great documentation skills, as well as different forms of documentation.  However, if one is not careful, one can take the methods and skills from one form of media and try to apply them to another where they don’t do any good and may harm the work.

Case in point, Serdar’s example of overdetailing something so much that you’re not writing, say a book, but a module about the book’s world – which may keep you from writing the damn book.

This is a danger that creatives face, and I think it’s a more modern creation – we have so many documentation methods and tools at our disposal, we may over-use them or use then inappropriately.  We end up wasting time with unneeded documentation and documentation forms that keep us from writing the story or creating the comic or coding the game.

A good creative has to be selective in what they document and how they do it.  By all means get diverse experience, try different methods, indulge your skills – but pick what works. Don’t go overboard with documentation you don’t need.

This is extremely hard for me to admit as a worldbuilding fanatic, but you can overdo documentation or do it wrong.

Let me leave you with a metaphor a co-worker used (which in term he derived from a Scrum training event) – optimal miscommunication.  You don’t have to say everything to say enough, and it’s better to leave things out to help you communicate what’s important.

Or as I put it, better to have 80% of what you need documented and it’s all useful, than have 120% of everything documented and then have to figure out which of the extra 20% you don’t need.

– Steve

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