I have had the pleasure (and continue to have) of collaborating with several extremely talented people and I have learned the key to successfully collaboration.
Another ‘C’-word: Communication.
Without proper communication, any project will likely fail. When you are working with another person who is also busy, that failure is practically guaranteed.
Take, for example, the Action Pack Podcast, which is scheduled for release the end of this month. Scott Roche, JR Murdock and myself are each writing a story in serial form with a new episode every month. That means writing, recording and production of the podcast each and every month. If even one of us fails to have our individual story element finished, the whole thing falls down.
That means we need to help each other and the best way to do that is by talking, emailing, and Tweeting each other regularly.
Now, that may sound like a big enough challenge, but we also have thrown in the other elements of music, artwork and eBook publishing. We must ensure that the people who are helping us, like Dan Absalonson (artwork) and JP Losier (eBook) know what’s going on and when we have to hit deadlines. Expectations must be set and results must be guaranteed or the project, once again, falls down.
Then there are the ancilliary elements of the project. For example, the website must be up and the promo must be created. That means we all have to spend more time talking and sharing with each other. Oh yeah, and that promotion piece doesn’t just happen on its own either.
Every step of the way there are potential pitfalls that could stop the project cold. That makes communication between all the contributors, whatever their capacity, key.
It’s important to have the right people on the project, but if no one knows what the others are doing or when things need to be done, the project will fail. So, make sure that, if you are collaborating with anyone, you have your communication plan set out at the very beginning.