Once, I chit-chat with a very talented soft developer. And I couldn’t get one thing. Why does the owner of a low-profitable restaurant on the corner of my block have enough money to go on vacation somewhere in a beautiful mountain country right in the mid-season while my client stayed glued to his PC monitor for the entire summer?
You may say that the reason is the pleasure of work. Assure you, no. The restaurateur spends each day with love among his employees and clients. The reason lies in the working approach. All is simple: the soft developer still carries all the work by himself while the restaurant owner scales his business.
Ok, now I imagine you raising an eyebrow, wondering how my story relates to our approach to developing audio products.
Creators/developers often gather their expertise year by year. Firstly, they master working with the code. Then they spend many nights studying the design and only then learn how to manage the clients. Still, there are many areas of business responsibility. Yes, business, you heard right. Self-employment is slave labor for many years with no vacations, as you should withstand competition with other business players.
Ok, our developer slowly starts managing the processes and the projects. The legal stuff, accounting, operational activity, creation of the products, hiring of the contractors, marketing, and care about the clients, R&D and concrete projects – creation of the site, plugin or app.
The restaurant business owner initiates the formation of a team to handle processes and projects on the spot. Clearly – he cannot physically offload so much food and products alone.
And finally, let’s look at our company from the side of processes and projects. You may wonder why the company formation process took so much time – 10 years is a long gestational period. Ok, let’s say we could start faster in other conditions, but we began without expertise and money.
My husband and I started alone …
While one of us got hard expertise in music creation, then design, then 3D design, then UX, then market analysis, product design base, and history of art. Then, then, then… We have a lot of those then, you know. The list is huge.
During the same period, another studied team management, operational activity, marketing, branding, the base of graphic design, legal stuff, and art history.
The main thing is that we laid our approach from the opinion that it has to be a system, like at that restaurant. There each member can hold the other processes but is still responsible for concrete ones. Yeah, something like a creative Mc’Donalds.
And then we started with a team. Of course, at first, there were monotonic and boring positions that required other people’s participation or were profitable, like 3D designers.
I remember our first client. His designer almost committed suicide due to schizophrenia, greatly slowing down his work. One of the next clients asked us for help because his designer couldn’t do the animation because he didn’t have the skills, while the client was limited in time.
At that moment, I exactly realized that I wanted and will continue our company work as a team, not just the two of us.
Now our design creation department is divided into special roles. Each role handles the concrete logical stage and has its own quality standard.
Now I will slightly open the part of one of the documents I prepared within business management to move away from the role of executive director to the role of the company owner.
Before you watch the table, I want you to recall one important thing. Remember what you like most about creating digital products and what is the least.
As usual, I try to find the person’s favorite thing to do and match it to the role I give them in the team. To encourage their willingness to develop constantly. Although I often hear that developers love to design their own products. The magic of this is that a great idea can become the greatest with the help of an entire team of professionals.
Remember the example with Toto’s “Africa” track. It is about Africa but performed by white singers with a synthesizer as the basis of the sound. The idea is genius, but the implementation made this track iconic.
|Role||VFP (Valuable Final Product)||How To Measure|
|Company or the Role of the Owner||The app interfaces are made to the company’s high standards, tested and timely transferred to customers, meet the client’s requirements and cause users a sense of comfort and desire to use. The client’s time to work on the project has been reduced, and the type of cooperation is credible due to high-quality project management, consistency, a sense of security, improved knowledge and assistance to the client with both design and business or marketing solutions.||Quantity|
|UI Designer||Timely executed interface design with proven suggestions based on the layout and according to company standards transferred to the client, and the client showed satisfaction.||Meets the presentation standard. Work is accepted.|
|UX Designer||The product layout is created with no mistakes. Includes verified offers.||Meets the presentation standard. Work is accepted.|
|Delivery Designer||Timely delivery of files (interface assets) without mistakes.||Complies with the delivery standard of the framework type. Accepted work without mistakes.|
|Project Manager||The client received the completed project in time and is satisfied with the result. The company received the planned money for the project.||Final payment is made. There is a positive review.|
I am sure you would like to read about the magic of art. Telling the truth, you know, we have it. Each team player has it while working. It is the special magic with each client.
Besides, our owner, in cooperation with HR, created a special educational plan for each role and person. Which, in turn, develops strong points.
Using this approach, our expertise grows exponentially in all directions. At the same time, my dear developer, from the start of this story, continues growing only in one direction.
That is why my purpose is to take the load off his shoulders by taking away design for him to continue developing his strong points as also marketing.
I always say that when calling someone, when meeting new small companies or single specialists.
I often hear a challenging phrase that our art director says to the team in complex projects at a retrospective:
- So the client has a contradiction in the technical task, which he does not see, and there is something he considers impossible to do. This is the main reason for us to be designers. To help clients. To convert the impossible into possible and attract them using our expertise.
So, again, the thing is not to concentrate on all the hard skills in one person. The main thing is to understand your client’s needs and how to give him what he wants with the help of your strong points and the team.
This approach helps us guarantee great results for each of our clients, as we work like one big organism where each part is important and handles one of the directions and does it well.
The team is a bigger organism than the one person. It will always produce more ideas than one person. More value than one person!