Using Challenges to Build a Project

One of the things I enjoy about watching hitRECord projects develop is how they handle that development. A project will be broken down into a series of challenges, arranged by skill sets. Creators then contribute to each challenge, often building off others’ contributions, exploring different visions , interpretations, and points of view. Each challenge builds on the ones that come before, until either a solid project comes out of the collaboration or the project is tabled for one reason or another.

I think there’s something very useful in that for the solo creator or for any creative team, really. Larger projects are a monster to begin with, especially when they require a number of components or skills. So, hitRECord’s method of breaking a project up into bite-sized challenges is a great way to make the monster-sized project feel more manageable and maybe even a bit more able to be accomplished.

How can you incorporate challenges into your creative process?

  1. Start by identifying what work needs to be done on your project. What assets or components need to be created? Do you need to learn any new skills to complete a part of the project?
  2. Group like assets, components, and skills into a single mini-project. Each of these groups will be one of your challenges.
  3. This is the hard part. Figure out the best order for you to tackle your challenges. Some mini-projects will need to happen before others. Use that to help find a good order. (And be open to the fact that shuffling is sometimes necessary, especially if you find a skill gap in your knowledge that affects more than one project or component.)
  4. Tackle your first mini-project. When it’s finished (or at least ready to move on from), tackle the next. Keep going until you’ve finished all of your challenges and have a completed project.
  5. Show off your hard work!

Remember as you’re developing your challenges that these should be fun, but should also push you to become better at a skill or a technique, or deepen your understanding of your craft. And also remember to keep an eye on the larger project to make sure your mini-challenges are staying on track. If you find yourself getting off-track in a mini-project, but what you’re doing is too cool to stop and get back on track, then make a note of it and make it an independent project.

Your turn: Go out and create (and complete) a challenge-based project.

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One thought on “Using Challenges to Build a Project

  1. Pingback: Sabotaging Impostor Syndrome | Genius in Transition

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