Written by Steve Johnson
Aug 22, 2017

Make our office your own

Collaborating ‘in-house’ with our clients

A day out at Brightec

This story begins before I joined Brightec, when I was working for one of our clients.

My job was to QA app builds before they were released. My colleague was project managing and the two of us regularly attended the Brightec office.

For us, it was a day out, away from the humdrum of our own workspace. I pretty much had my own desk, access to additional test devices and direct communication with the developers whose code I was testing.

Impromptu meetings were easy, simply pull up a chair. With us present, game-changing decisions could be made sooner rather than later.

Feeling less like a traditional client/supplier relationship and more like colleagues sharing a common goal, the benefits were evident in both the work we produced and the shorter times it took to produce.

Including clients in the team dynamic

Fast-forward a couple of years, and I’m experiencing this relationship from the other perspective.

While many of our processes have been streamlined and we now work almost exclusively in an agile environment, one thing that hasn’t changed is the inclusion of our clients within the team dynamic.

Instant feedback

As a developer, I am able to walk them through areas of their app, get instantaneous feedback and make tweaks while they are present.

Because we are all in the same room, we can experiment with different approaches and go with the best solution.

This extends to our design team too. With a key decision maker present, they're able to make changes quickly and cut down on a lot of the usual back and forth that remote e-mail and chat gives you.

Spend the week with us

It’s not unusual for a client to spend a week in our office working on a particular sprint, and we always make sure we treat them well.

We get lunches in, sometimes take them out for dinner and include them as part of our Brightec community.

In practice

A project I was recently involved with required us to build a concept app so our client could secure additional investment in their idea.

A previous design sprint had produced a great set of visuals, but there were still areas that needed further exploration, decision-making, and refinement.

We talked a lot, scribbled on whiteboards, had discussions over lunch and ultimately finished the sprint with a concept that both ourselves and our client were proud to have worked on.

The Brightec family

As a client, I always enjoyed working from the Brightec office; and now as a developer, I always enjoy the opportunity to work face to face with a client.

It nurtures an additional camaraderie that keeps everyone focused on the best outcome.

In the last week, we had three separate clients in the office on the same day. When that happens, it’s always nice to see everyone getting to know each other.

We often speak of the ‘Brightec Family’, and we see our clients as an extension of that.

"With a key decision maker present, we're able to make changes quickly and cut down on a lot of the usual back and forth"

TL;DR

Messaging technologies such as e-mail, Slack and the like are a great way to interact with your clients, but they will never compare to a little face to face interaction.

When we invite clients to work with us in our office as part of the team, we find important decisions can be made quickly, issues resolved before they pose a problem and we are more likely to win repeat business.

/ People
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