May 09, 2014

On Momentum

I remember, back when I was still doing project work, that at some point I had to add production schedules into my contracts. I needed to communicate that our work together was bound to a specific timeframe. That this or that asset would “go live”, in say, 6-8 weeks, for some dollar amount. I would also give a breakdown of what would happen week-by-week: my delivery as well as when feedback was required. Now, sure, this addition informed the client what was needed from them and when the project would get done, but I added this element to set the stage for momentum.

Momentum, to me, is critical. And honestly, some most every one of my client’s projects often frequently always went over schedule. Yes, always, and never because I missed an agreed upon deadline. Yes, never.

“Why?” you might ask? Hell if I know. A myriad of reasons could contribute to a client not meeting a deadline. And in all fairness, one could’ve been that I failed to properly impress upon them what feedback looks like, or the importance of an on-time response. But the end experience was uniform, the lag created by non-reply put the project to sleep. Slowly, and then all at once.

Just like a car being most fuel efficient when driven at the same speed for long distances, starting and stopping a project drains the tank of gas quickly. Another clever analogy? Imagine ideas having a center of gravity. Keeping it balanced allows a full range of possibilities to become attracted, and then grounded, within a project.

I might go so far as to say momentum is the lifeblood of the creative process.

Some top-of-the-head examples of ways we can honor the important role momentum plays in our work together: Saying yes when things are good enough, trusting it will come together; picking up the phone to talk, instead of belaboring an email response; refusing to look at “inspiration,” mid-project.

My contractual agreements no longer outline a week-by-week rundown, but are still bound to a timeframe. Albeit a year-long one. Even with this generous runway, the need for momentum remains. I’m a huge fan.


‘On Momentum’ is one in a series of short musings about topics I inquire about, a lot.