Product as Process Part 1: Introducing the Video Sprint

Image by Zen, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It’s been less than 48 hours since our first blog post and we’re already feeling the slightly euphoric adrenalin rush of what it’s like when we are producing one of our video projects. Working in public under the scrutiny of our audience gives us a rush – we enjoy giving a good performance. It forces us to iterate rapidly and make bold decisions as opposed to waffling in the safety and obscurity of keeping things under wraps. The first big insight we’ve had as we’ve been filling out the application form for PIE is:

We don’t have a product. We have a process.

If we try to boil down what we do to something akin to a commodity – a product – it weakens our case and narrows our focus too strongly. We think we have more to offer than that. So let’s settle (for today) on the idea that what we do is a process. We’ve had it on our to-do list for quite some time to try to define our process and there’s no better time than the present.

We call our process a Video Sprint.

That name comes from a variety of influences. The video part is obvious – after all, we “produce videos which blur the boundaries between documentary and fiction, artwork and essay”. But what about the sprint part? Its genesis can be traced partly to agile software development, where a sprint can be a hackathon or a piece of the Scrum development cycle. We’ve participated in both hackathons (Mozilla Drumbeat) and Scrum (Postcards from Berlin) ourselves:

Working on the Future of Education demo with members of the Popcorn.js javascript community at the Open Video Lab at Mozilla Drumbeat, Barcelona. Gabriel sits far left editing video material. Photo by Homardpayette.
Gabriel with the developers of Postcards from Berlin the night of the site launch – the team's final sprint in our Scrum product backlog.

Despite the inspiration we draw from it, software development is still a far cry from video production. In our next post in this series we’ll take a look at the story behind the first Video Sprint prototype. Stay tuned!