Reject cynicism.

Defy apathy

Celebrate good.

Teams That Work

Kate Schmidgall September 24, 2020 | 2 MIN 13 SEC READ

BitterSweet has collaborated with hundreds of creative professionals to craft stories and produce scopes of work for clients working at the highest-levels of world change. Here are a few practices and principles we’ve codified for ourselves along the way:

Assume Nothing

Besides the output of any particular creative process, we’ve learned that our real core competency is collaboration-not just with our teams, but with our clients. There are always underlying drivers and higher-level goals relevant to creative work and we’ve found that those insights fuel and guide fresh imagination. When we ‘assume nothing’, it helps us to determine where the parameters really are and how much (or little) space we have for creative strategy versus production. We regularly run through best and worst case scenarios, inviting concerns and highest hopes, and helping to identify the needs behind the wants.

Document Everything

At project start, the contract is distilled for our team into a scope of work and we get to work breaking it down into the whos, whats, and whens. Our teams are built to suit our clients’ needs, which is a distinct comparative advantage that requires specific attention to early alignment and expectation setting. At project start, we establish a timeline with major milestones on a calendar corresponding to to-do’s assigned to the appropriate people, send the client-approved scope of work and THEN schedule a kick-off call to discuss priorities, approach, and the technicalities of solutions. All phone calls are summarized in written form and circulated to meeting attendees afterward for additional input or validation. This paper trail and decision tree is very important, particularly for longer-term projects where we might forget when or why a decision was made months ago. Document everything.

Ask A Lot Up Front

What’s the problem, when does this need to be done, whose feedback is going to be most critical, what do you need in order to take the next step, how long do you need to review, how would you like to prioritize or sequence these milestones, what budget is ideal, is this really the best person to put on camera, is there another way to accommodate/deliver/promote that content, who is this piece meant to serve. We push on every assumption and loaded word in order to get to bedrock and build from there. It’s just more efficient when we start from a posture of openness and curiosity-assuming only that we don’t already know and enjoying being surprised and challenged by what we learn.

By Kate Schmidgall ,Bittersweet Creative Founder, Director