THE BEAUTY OF DISTRIBUTED CREATIVE WORK
HOW A GLOBAL WORKFORCE OF CREATIVE TALENT IS CHANGING THE WAY DESIGN, ANIMATION, AND VFX POST-PRODUCTION GETS DONE.
By Robb Wagner
Technological advances and changes in the global economy are increasing the geographic distribution of work in industries as diverse as banking, wine production, and clothing design. Many workers communicate regularly with distant coworkers; some monitor and manipulate tools and objects at a distance. Work teams are spread across different cities or countries. Joint ventures and multi-organizational projects entail work in many locations.
– The MIT Press
At Stimulated, Inc. we added distributed work to our company over three years ago. Why?
- Leverage our existing infrastructure.
- Increase our capabilities.
- Scale while controlling costs.
We accomplished all these things by developing a scalable system built upon our rock-solid workflow. Here I’m sharing how we did it and how you can take advantage of it.
The system consists of three core elements working together to in the most efficient way possible.
4 steps to getting started.
- Envision your distributed system.
- Document your process.
- Vet your workforce.
- Choose your technology.
1. ENVISION YOUR DISTRIBUTED SYSTEM
To envision your distributed system, start by identifying capabilities you’re existing infrastructure is missing. Then envision those missing capabilities as distributed resources that compliment your existing infrastructure.
2. DOCUMENT YOUR PROCESS
A distributed work system is a process, so it requires a set of carefully prepared procedures for everyone to follow. Answering these questions will help you break down your process and document your procedures.
- What are the steps in your process?
- Who is involved at each step?
- What tasks are required at each step?
3. VET YOUR DISTRIBUTED WORKFORCE
Vetting a distributed workforce is an ongoing, time and resource consuming process. Plan on conducting interviews on phone and Skype at off hours, when the rest of the world is awake. When interviewing keep in mind a remote worker must be capable of working with a system, which means following written instructions. We recommend putting top candidates through a ‘test job’ as a final check. The test job typically includes a nominal payment, which pays the worker for their time and helps validate the payment pipeline. Your AP department will thank you.
4. CHOOSE YOUR TECHNOLOGY
With distributed work your in-house team will become tasked with more daily activities. Technology powers your distributed system and helps automate your process.
Technology requirement checklist.
- Empowers your team with an easy to use solution that simplifies their daily activities.
- Easy access to assets.
- Simple way to communicate without losing time.
- Convenient way to track projects and effortlessly stay up to date.
There are a number of SaaS (software as a service) platforms to try, including Sharefile, Signiant, Wiredrive, Simian, Basecamp, Dropbox, Frame IO and others. Comparing and testing these takes months and there’s a good chance you’ll end up using a combination of SaaS platforms. We found most did one thing well but fell short as an overall solution.
We built our own system (stimulated.works). Feel free to contact us for more information.