8th March 2016

How we work

Simon Wakeman
Chief Executive Officer

At Deeson we provide a range of digital services to many different clients, and although the scope of what we deliver varies, we have some principles that underpin everything we do. We know that getting the approach and the attitude right is just as important as getting the work right - in fact, you can’t do one without the other.

Over the years, we’ve experimented, observed, and adjusted - and the decisions we make now are based on practical experience of giving our clients what they need. By putting practices and standards in place that are borne out of real-world knowledge, we can be confident in our ability to deliver results consistently regardless of the size or scope of a project.

Immersive discovery

We’re interested in building the right solution, not the first or easiest.

When we start a new project it’s essential to us that we develop a shared understanding with a client both of the challenge they’re facing and what a usable, viable and valuable outcome might look like.

During the discovery phase our UX, creative and technical teams work with the client to scope and de-risk a project. We will run research, initial workshops and interviews and produce a backlog of user tasks, wireframes and a roadmap, so we all know where we’re going and we’re all facing in the same direction before we start. At this stage, we want you to know that the heavy lifting is now in our hands, and that you can be confident about what we’ll deliver together.

Agile delivery

What do we really mean when we talk about Agile delivery? For us the clue is in the name - tools and timelines are all artefacts of a successful project delivery, but at heart it’s about the relationship between us and the client - about being collaborative, communicative and open to change; about working together to use our experience and expertise to meet your needs.

Keeping the original values of the Agile Manifesto in mind is core to our philosophy - we really do value individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over following a plan. And we want to work with clients who share them, because we know that they result in the best possible outcomes.

“If we hold ourselves up to the original principles we know whether we’re doing things right. It’s about organisational ethos, not buzzwords.” Tim Deeson

Self-organising teams

Our teams work in project-based pods - that is, self-organising, autonomous teams who are dedicated to a project and who work directly with the client.

The management team provides the structure and the framework, but within that the teams run everything for themselves. This works for us and for our clients, who get a dedicated, experienced and permanent team of people who know and care about their project and are skilled and empowered to make the right decisions about it.

Distributed working

We’re driven by results, not process, and distributed working lets us ensure we’re available when we need to be.

When we’re on the road or working remotely, while tools like Slack, Basecamp, Google Docs and Hangouts let us get the work done, paying close attention to each other is even more important.

We make sure we’re really clear about where we are and what we’re doing, because our work is all about being collaborative, communicative and supportive - with each other, and with our clients.

Keeping and developing talent

We all work better when we feel we’re doing it for a purpose, so it’s important that everyone on the team knows and shares the value and the meaning of the work we do.

We hold regular brown bag lunches, talks and breakfast briefings to keep the conversation going.

We also have a generous staff training budget, because we know the value that training brings back into the team, both in terms of the skills we bring to the table and in keeping people motivated and engaged.

We hire, and keep, the most talented and dedicated people out there, and we do that by investing in them and making sure that their careers are moving forwards.

Sharing solutions with a global community

Open source is about doing work and then giving it back, rather than hoarding all our knowledge.

By opening up the work we do to the Drupal community we multiply its value - to our developers as individuals, to us as a company and to the community at large.

When we develop a new Drupal module or a tool which we think will have wider application, we publish it, which opens up a conversation with a worldwide community of developers who can feed into the project, suggesting enhancements or making feature requests which we can then incorporate into the code, in a virtuous circle which benefits everyone involved.

We’ll be writing about some of these projects in more detail in future posts, but if you can’t wait then check out our Labs space for some examples.

Focusing on long-term strategy

Because our autonomous teams work directly with our clients, our leadership team has the time to focus on long-term strategy: what we’re doing, where we’re going and why.

Right now we’re working with the Entrepreneurial Operating System, an agile framework for organisation management that will help us to plan in a flexible, iterative way while also focusing on our longer-term plans. It’s early days, so expect more from us later this year on our experience with EOS.

If there’s anything that you’d like to know more about, do let us and contact us directly.