The client & us!? Applying a balanced team mindset in agencies

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Presentation from the Balanced Team conference 2011.

My definition of a balanced team: a multi-skilled, collaborative team that is self-empowered, free to choose the best way to achieve what they’ve set out to do, with a culture of learning and skill-sharing. (How) can this work in an agency context? I address this question based on my current and previous work experience, as well as patterns I've observed.

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  • ideally working in a multi-skilled, collaborative team, that is self-empowered and free to choose the best way to achieve what they have set out to do. Learning and skill-sharing. 
  • ideally working in a multi-skilled, collaborative team, that is self-empowered and free to choose the best way to achieve what they have set out to do. Learning and skill-sharing. 
  • My current context: full-service design-and-build agency with an emphasis on an agile, collaborative way of working.Experience design team rather than UX / visual design / research etc.
  • When investigating balanced team mindset, I compared these two teams. I work in Team B. A is almost like an in-house team. B is the classic consulting model.
  • I thought Team A wouldn’t have these problems, but they did! Balance between a team that performs well together, and disruption – it’s a benefit to have people with fresh eyes come in!
  • Agile practices adopted for effective deliveryPROCESSvs MINDSET
  • The client & us!? Applying a balanced team mindset in agencies

    1. 1. The client & us!?<br />Applying a balanced team mindset in agencies<br />Johanna Kollmann- @johannakoll<br />Balanced Team Conference, 24 September 2011<br />Photo by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center http://www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/4941688795/<br />
    2. 2. My definition of a ‘balanced team’<br />Photo by Frank Kovalchek http://www.flickr.com/photos/72213316@N00/5531444032//<br />
    3. 3. A multi-skilled, collaborative team that is self-empowered, free to choose the best way to achieve what they’ve set out to do, with a culture of learning and skill-sharing.<br />Photo by Frank Kovalchek http://www.flickr.com/photos/72213316@N00/5531444032//<br />
    4. 4. I work in an agency!<br />
    5. 5. Team A: we are your department<br /><ul><li> Financial services client
    6. 6. Long-term relationship (years!)
    7. 7. Experience planning, design, development, business analysis
    8. 8. The client sits with us</li></ul>Team B: we are your consultants<br /><ul><li> Retail client
    9. 9. Building a long-term relationship
    10. 10. In-house staff, us, plenty of 3rd parties
    11. 11. We spend a lot of time at the client’s</li></li></ul><li>Key success factors<br /><ul><li> You work on one account at a time
    12. 12. Collaborative planning instead of account managers who ‘sell resources’
    13. 13. Everybody on board from the beginning</li></ul>Key challenges<br /><ul><li> Can us + client + 3rd parties = 1 product team?
    14. 14. In the end, it’s about money
    15. 15. The boom of freelancing!</li></li></ul><li>What tripped us up<br />Neglecting the basics: <br /><ul><li> process
    16. 16. rituals
    17. 17. work environment</li></ul>Why did that happen? <br /><ul><li> Team A got too comfortable
    18. 18. Team B had people drop in and out
    19. 19. Both moved workspace</li></li></ul><li>Balancing requires attention and adjustment<br />It’s constant and conscious<br />Photo by Dirk Jan Ranzijn http://www.flickr.com/photos/dirkscircusimages/6155373806/<br />
    20. 20. Agile adoption in agencies: my observations<br />Collaboration rituals<br />Client involvement<br />‘the right fidelity’<br />Prototyping<br />Teams, not departments<br />Mini-waterfalls<br />Angst management tools<br />Deliverables, deliverables<br />Oh research, where art thou?<br />Roles, not responsibilities<br />
    21. 21. What makes me feel out of balance<br /><ul><li> Customer feedback & research not (enough) part of the design process
    22. 22. Resourcing, roles and egos
    23. 23. Project vs. product
    24. 24. Learning, coaching, pairing</li></li></ul><li>I’d love your input, please<br /><ul><li> Traditional UX agency business model is threatened
    25. 25. It’s very early days – agile still scares large clients
    26. 26. Process vs mindset
    27. 27. Any stories to share?</li>

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