The Final Product (Click)

Project is done, largely successful. Samurai are seven and they look pretty sweet. Reflected below are items which I felt as part of the management team went well and items that could be improved upon for future projects. So starting with the good:

What Went Right

1. Planning and Documentation

From the start there was a solid foundation for project planning and a clear vision for what the final product would be and how we would go about getting there. Vanja on the very first night went ahead and drew up the basis for the project plan as well as a fairly comprehensive foundation for the art bible. As stated in the previous post items were added and changed to this format then from myself and Adam in regards to project work-flow and delegation of task, as well as the means by which we would attempt to track the working hours for members of the group to attempt to stay within the fairly restricted hours per week limit we all had. In this most people managed their time well and there was no time that we ever had to go over budget on working hours. Over the course of the project the planning materials were an evolving system, the main project plan receiving many iterations from all three of the more senior students, the artistic style altering slightly as time went on from our own decisions and from helpful suggestions from the studio one students contributions as well. There are a couple of items which bear mentioning for future improvement which I will mention later in the post but I would say an overall success as far as clear planning was concerned.

2. Implementation of clear style

Central to the theme of the project was maintaining a style that referenced to a degree the inspiration material taken from a randomised source piece, in this case being the closing title sequence taken from ‘The Interview’. The elements the team took away from this were propaganda character styling, a mixing of language texts, a vibrant yet uncomplicated coloured background to compliment the foreground pieces and a shot progression which played very strongly to the timing of the music. Though the entire group had different artistic talents and styles we reached an effective compromise on which all contributed to the research and concepts of the project , building an artistic base from which the final art could be composed by a ‘lead artist’ in this case being Vanja, and composited mainly by a single technical artist, being Curtis (though Che and Adam did provide assistance with some of the shots to assist in meeting schedule).

Much as with the planning this in the end gave the project a solid final result but there are some issues I’ll mention below which could be improved relating to group size and scope. It does look kickass, though.

3. Team Communication

I place this at the bottom of the positives as its a mixed issue which I want to address firstly in the less well done elements as well, but it also deserves to be here. Potentially contrary to the opinions of other members of the team I thought communication was fairly solid for this project. All members were present on slack on a fairly regular basis (if not every day at least 3 times across each week), everyone responded appropriately when assigned new task or asked for status updates and were largely on time with the delivery of assets or forthcoming with delays or issues which may have hindered continuation of tasks as the project progressed. Worth noting too that while not everyone did fill out the contact details within the documentation (fair enough, not everyone had to share personals for such a small project), in the couple of instances Vanja or myself had to contact another team member via alternate means the members in question were available via this information. This was overall from a communication the most consistent group I have every had for a project to date.

What Went Not So Right

I’m not going to say wrong here because overall the issue that arose during this project were as a result in personal opinion mostly of my own input at the detriment of others, and on the whole the group worked admirably so anything I express here is less a point of failure and just more things that could be done better, if only speaking for myself, in the future.

  1. Team Communication (again)

Not a whole lot to say here, but it was a minor issue. There were times in which a couple of members of the group would act reclusive and not engage in the slack with issues they might be having (guilty on my own part as well, though I tried not to leave it more than a day). Not a huge issue but in a couple of cases it caused the schedule to come into question, and created slight difficulties in reassigning task to other members as required to bring the schedule back on track. It is my opinion that the two are derivative of each other and therefore my second point to make here is…

  1. Task Allocation

And this was my responsibility, so it comes back almost entirely to myself. This was from a project workload standpoint not overly demanding as a task, and largely through my own ignorance I feel several members of the group, through no fault of their own, didn’t get to shine with their talents as much as they could have. This is in turn I feel probably leant to the lack of communication at times as to where people were at with tasks, as they were probably unsure as I was as to what exactly their task was for the given week. To mitigate this in future I want to dedicate some time at the beginning of any project in which work is being divided getting to better know the past work of my colleagues involved, perhaps dedicating an extra session just in the first week of the assignment, if the very first session then the second, going over past work to best plan out a progression for the project that will best allow everyone to feel they are actively contributing. Everyone did this time, but I can see why they might have questioned it at times.

This also came into the documentation. Evolving document as it was it would have to be revisited by all members on a regular basis to follow what was happening at various stages during development. The general consensus from the group, though I might be wrong, was that people rarely read it if at all. This might just be a teething issue in regard to there being little group work prior to the studio section of the course, but that then too becomes an issue that members of management, including myself can assist in mitigating perhaps by making any specific updates to the project plan and supporting documentation available directly through linking to the primary communication platform. In this case Slack.