Know your craft and understand your clients
Client work can often come in various guises. The majority of work we produce at First 10 is created at our studio in Leeds, but can often happen over a Skype call or even in the pub.
Occasionally we are also asked if we can work on site by our clients, but sometimes we suggest to the client that it would be a good idea for us to do this. This gives us the ability to work closely with them, enabling us to completely immerse ourselves in their world, their people, culture and working practices – better understanding their business in the process.
As a designer or developer, when the call is made to work on site directly with the client, plenty of worrying thoughts often wash over us initially; Will they have decent computers/equipment? Will their net connection be fast enough? Are the people friendly? Can I get away with wearing my PUMA Suedes? and most importantly; Will they have decent coffee?
We quite like to compare it to those ‘embedded reporters’ that you see on the news nowadays, riding shotgun in a tank on the front lines, as they try to talk to the camera. It makes it sound more exciting. But with a Vauxhall Astra, less shooting (unless you count nerf guns rounds) and more nerd talk.
A small number of our team have been working on site with a fantastic client lately, ‘embedded’ as part of their development team. As they are within the financial services sector, it meant some changes to our normal working practices needed to be made.
Traditionally, a First 10 web project would involve initial meetings to scope out the brief, wireframes, sprints, initial concepts, designs, Github setup, front-end and back-end development and a more often than not, a WordPress cms install. All these elements would usually involve utilising some kind of newfangled tool or online service to help us move smoothly and swiftly in accomplishing our tasks.
Due to the nature of the business of this particular client, strict security policies are in place to protect sensitive data – which meant bringing our own machines in and putting the network at risk was a big No No too. Working on internal development servers without version control and working on a shared computer meant we didn’t have the luxury of using our favourite apps, fonts and general design and development tools that we are accustomed to.
We had to think on our feet, rely on our experience and go back to old school, tried and tested methods of web development, forsaking all the little helpful tools we’ve relied on for so long.
All these helpful tools and shortcuts that are available to web developers nowadays have the possibility to make us lazy, and can be detrimental to retaining and furthering our knowledge and understanding of our craft.
It was a great experience and reminded us how important it is to stay on top of the technologies we use day-in-day-out.
As anticipated, the project went well, and us being there not only helped enable the client to meet their deadline, but also gave us better input with the project build that we had been involved in crafting from the beginning.
As it turned out, with this particular client, the team we worked with were really progressive in their workflows and attitudes. They employed an agile working method, with daily scrums, release schedules and the tech team we worked with were both friendly and really on the ball.
They also had great coffee too.
If you’d like to pop in for a chat about how we can work closely with your business, drop us an email. We’ll have some freshly brewed coffee ready for you.
nb: This blog post was a joint effort between myself and the magnificent Mr. Dan Shoreman