Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Other Source of Productivity

When I arrived at the office this morning it was with heightened concern that this time, I was not going to be able to complete the development of this latest course. Now, just hours later, I am returning home energized - even though the course is still not quite done. What accounted for this difference?

By way of background, we're talking online course development: content provided by a subject matter expert (SME), media developed by interactive designers (ID), an editor to catch the problems, and a project manager (PM) to clear the roadblocks. All that yours truly the course developer (CD) needs to do is to pull it together - and yet, in this case, that seemed unusually difficult.

Not the PM's fault - she had gone above and beyond to clear the way, even pitching in to find some innovative alternatives. Not the ID's fault - plenty of willingness and readiness there. Certainly not the SME's fault; this one may be the best, most productive, most inspired I've ever worked with. So what was the problem?

Somewhere between 8:15 and 9:05 a.m. I figured it out: I was not going to get the rest of the way on my own. There was too much complexity still left to simplify, too much detail still left to grind through. Somehow from the inside of this ego-centric, prideful, too self-confident soul, the cry went out for help.

By 10:00, I had reached out to Course Materials, Media, Editors, maybe even my 10th grade English teacher. Somehow, miraculously, by 4:30 pm, every one of them had come through. The ID came to my desk with a technical specialist, the editors asked the right questions, and I found that my PM had anticipated most of them. I left the office at 6:30 pm - not done yet - but I could see it from where I was.

I haven't changed my mind about the focus, determination, and sense of responsibility that one must bring to the job. All of those have to be there. But I've resolved not to forget the critical importance of the willingness to ask for help.

I am really looking forward to finishing the course tomorrow...

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