Methodologies in the Creative Trades

By Deane Barker on January 23, 2012

Corey is Blend’s content strategist.  He was asked to write an article for the inaugural issue of Contents Magazine, so he wrote about methodologies and how they apply to content strategy.

Some people may think that methodologies are rigid and don’t fit the free-flowing nature of creativity, but Corey manages to summarize why I pushed him to get our process documented:

In our field, there’s no single set of rules, and there’s no progress without a little bit of guessing and testing. There’s room for wiggling. But before we can wiggle, we need to know how much space we’ve got to wiggle in.

You need to have a baseline – some framework on which to hang your efforts.  If you can step out of line, you can depart for it if you want, but remember that you can’t deviate from something that doesn’t exist.  You need some type of roadmap with a tension that keeps nudging you back onto a known path or else you wake up one morning and find your project wandering through the forest with no idea how you got there.

[…] your methodology keeps you honest. We’re humans, and humans like to skip things. With each step explicitly outlined, you can better decide which steps to skip. You can refer back to the methodology when you’re questioning your process, too.

In the IT industry in general, there’s too much “management by magic” – you don’t know exactly how things happen, but they always work out, sort of.   If you’re good at this, you can get fooled into thinking this is okay, and that projects that run wild are outliers and just the nature of the beast.

At Blend, we’re going to spend a big chunk of 2012 documenting processes, even ones we don’t think need to be documented.



  1. What tools or technologies are you planning to use to document your processes? We’ve been trying to do it with a MediaWiki implementation. I like the functionality but the free-form/flexibility really drives people up the wall.

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