Buddy System

Deep Work is using an internal process to improve quality control with projects, while allowing new designers to learn on real projects with as little friction as possible.

For each client project, you are either the Expert (main responsibility and lead) or a Collaborator. The Collaborator can be on a lower level than the Expert or wants to be observed and graded before becoming an Expert. The aim for Experts as well as Collaborators is to stay in Csikszentmihalyi's flow state:

Creative Directors choose a set of vetted Experts who already worked on a project with Deep Work before and have been approved. It's important that they worked on at least one Deep Work project because our clients have a very specific quality/speed expectation and our process has a few peculiarities.

Before working with a buddy, make sure you are signed up as a Collaborator.

Process for Collaborators

A client Hypersprint gets announced in a new Discord channel.

Creative Directors choose a set of Experts to work on the project, who they believe have the best fit. They will then post the scope of the project, dates and details.

As a Collaborator, you can apply to help through a Typeform, which pings the Expert on the project.

During the application you choose the tasks you believe you can take on. Honest and truthful self-assessment is crucial, over-estimation of skill may lead to not being chosen again.

Experts and Creative Directors review applications in Discord and confirm one Collaborator by inviting them to the project intro call.

In case you have been invited, you have a quick chat about how to split tasks between you and your Expert. Both go through the Hypersprint process, doing the work they want to focus on.

After the final presentation and before the retrospective, Experts give their Collaborators feedback to either attest to their capabilities or communicate why the Collaborator did not reach the Experts expectation and how they can improve. Everyone can add the experience to their portfolio document. You can see all portfolio documents here.

Process for Experts

A client Hypersprint gets announced in the #confirmed-projects channel. Experts can express interest to work on the project considering their availability.

Creative Directors select a set of Experts to work on the project, who they believe have the best fit. They will then post the scope of the project, dates and details in a separate project channel (see screenshots above).

In case Creative Directors haven't selected Collaborators for the project yet, they are prompted to sign up for collaboration through a Typeform. It will post a message to the channel and ping the lead Expert:

As an Expert, you decide who to work with from the list of applications and can get in touch with them directly to discuss how to split tasks.

Choose someone you feel comfortable with working and get in touch with them latest the day before the project onboarding. Make sure to invite them to all relevant meetings.

As you work with them on the project, you can observe how well they are executing on their promise and delegate some of your work to them. Only delegate what you feel they are capable of doing themselves. If they don't do good enough work, you will have to carry the responsibility for the outcome and may have to re-do it.

During the sprint, make sure that the Collaborator does at least the work they promise at the desired quality level. It's your task to evaluate the quality of their work and make sure they receive the level they have applied for. If the overpromise and underdeliver, it's your responsibility to make sure the project completes successfully. Give them honest feedback depending on their performance, to make sure they can improve next time.

After the final presentation and before the retrospective, Experts give their Collaborators feedback to either approve them for their level or communicate how the Collaborator did not reach the Experts expectation. Everyone can add the experience to their portfolio document. You can see all portfolio documents here.

Key principles

  • The working relationship should reduce the amount of working time for the Expert.

  • The working relationship should provide the Collaborator with constructive feedback.

  • Only one Collaborator can pair up with an Expert.

  • When giving feedback, honesty is important. Especially if feels uncomfortable.