It’s the domino effect of neck ventilation—I’m only breathing down your neck because someone else is breathing down mine.

If you have a project that involves more than just one person, you have a workflow in place even if it isn’t formally written anywhere. One kid washes the dishes before the other kid can dry them, and it can’t be done in any other order. They can work together and be done at almost the same time, but if they can’t be nice they have to take turns, and the dryer can come in after the washer has left the kitchen so there’s no fighting.

I may be dating myself. I’m a little older than most. When I was a kid, we had things called “chores”…

Not all workflows are obvious to anyone over the age of seven. Sometimes it gets really complicated, not just in who has what and whom they are supposed to pass it to, but in tech-steps. If the next process involves converting the file to a different format or uploading the file to a new program, that time has to be accounted for. If it took 4 hours every time a file had to jump through a tech-hoop and there were four steps involved, you’ve just blown your timeline by two whole days. Every step takes time, and any time between steps in the “I thought you were still working on that” category just make everything more frustrating.

Asset management software is good for a whole lot of things, from metadata tagging so that clips can be found by content to creating a centralized place for the project that all parties can see so they know when it’s their turn. SNS’s Sharebrowser, for example, has a notification feature that can be triggered so the next person in line gets an email telling them to check out the project so no time is lost in passing the baton.

If what you are working on requires more than three obvious steps and involves more than one person, formalize the workflow. It may feel ridiculous if you’re not a list person and you feel like you’ve got this dialed in, but if you talk to everyone about their steps, you’re losing time somewhere, you just don’t know it. Writing things down lets you see the challenges so you can address them.

And talk to a workflow specialist. You may be a small tech-upgrade from digesting in the background, for example. No wasted 4 hours between steps. Just saved you two days. You’re welcome.

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