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Practice makes perfect

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3rd October

Looking back to the start of the year, when my current team were green and in an unquestionable forming stage, it’s clear that the challenges we faced were a big part of what made us bond as a team.

We waited two months for our official kit to arrive, and during that wait it was interesting to note how quickly we adapted despite not having the tools we would normally expect to have to do our jobs. We used our own laptops of course, so we weren’t without technology, but we were only able to get those laptops working together by buying some cloud space to store shared work (which our lead dev paid for out of his own pocket).

I wondered – could it be the depravation that bonded us so well as a team – this shared experience, of having …



Summertime Blues

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2nd September

No matter how much we try and plan our projects around holidays, and allow for the fact personnel will be off for long periods during the summer holidays, somehow we still manage to grossly underestimate the impact it is going to have on the productivity of our teams.

I’ve made a point of displaying the team availability on the wall beside the teams, as well as entering all absences into our shared calendar in an effort to raise awareness of who will and who won’t be here during a sprint, but to no avail. During July and August, we failed to deliver at 2 out of our 4 sprints and I think it’s no coincidence that this has happened during our peak holiday season.

So what exactly, is going on here? Here are 4 of my key insights into why this might …



Navigating the politics of technology

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9th February

The unfortunate consequence of being a new contractor working alongside respected and experienced incumbents is that there is a natural inclination to be deferential to the opinions of those permanent, or long-standing members of staff, regardless of whether they are right or not.

Being the new kid on the block, you really don’t want to rock the boat in the first few weeks into a contracted assignment, so you politely try and get your point across and resist the urge to fight your corner, for fear that you will upset your client and come across as a trouble maker.

Having been brought in to introduce best practice, and align with Government Digital Service standards, we found that our recommended approach to technology was subject to various, often inconsistent, opinions of those people with the authority to grant or deny our requirements. The …



Lessons learned forming a new development team in the public sector

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6th January

Don’t worry, if on day 1 your team has no kit, no desks to sit at, or software to use. In fact, don’t worry if on day 5 your team still has no kit, permanent location or software, because this will stop them falling into their default position of being glued to a screen, and avoiding eye contact with the strangers that now form their team.

When we started back in early December 2016, we had no kit for almost two weeks. Starting in a job without ID badges, access to the network, or dedicated work stations, left us with very little to distract is from having to talk to each other. And this precious commodity proved to be very welcome – it meant we had chance to get to know each other; our backgrounds, who was quiet, who was the …



Smooth flying

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14th February

In my role as Digital Projects Director at Connect Group I wrote the following article upon the successful launch of the new Birmingham Airport website that I managed delivery of and which launched this week.

It was an exciting, fast moving project, that wasn’t without its challenges, but the result is a fantastic looking airport website that has the user at the heart of the experience.  We have worked with Birmingham Airport for 5 years now, and the opportunity to take the brand into the digital space was too good an opportunity to miss, so naturally we worked hard to win the pitch by presenting a fantastic long-term vision that will evolve over time.

This is a fully responsive site, that complies with both CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) & W3C accessibility rules, and which gives users up to the minute flight information, …



The future of social media

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11th February

Over on Forbes this week, José Espinosa, discussed the life expectancy of Twitter in an article written by Andrew Cave. The article posed the question on whether or not Twitter would be around to see the Super Bowl LII in 2018, and José gave the opinion that it would not – it would be dead.

The same day, Mashable released an article that reported this years Super Bowl XLIX was the biggest Super Bowl on Twitter to date, so Jose’s bold statement sparked some lively debate in our office.

Wanting to understand more about how Jose had come to this conclusion, and aware it may raise questions from clients, I did some research of my own.

First I looked at a recent report by YouGov which suggests that not only is Twitter in decline but that Facebook is also suffering a similar percentage …



Customer journey, by committee

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14th January

I’ve run a website for the local running and athletics club for over 7 years now, something I got duped into doing when my 11 year old daughter proudly announced to all and sundry that I’m a web designer, one chilly Sunday morning at a cross-country meeting. It was one of the first websites that I built using WordPress, back in the days when WordPress was a great blogging tool, but not much else…



The human side of social media shines through

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6th March

With the uptake of social media becoming so widespread and so accessible, it’s easy to see how hard it’s become to make talking to your audience through social media 100% failsafe.



Responsive Design

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16th February

When I put together my website I decided it was a good opportunity to try out a responsive design. At that point I hadn’t had a client who could be convinced that the small amount of extra effort needed to create a site that would work well on a number of different devices would be beneficial to their business…



QR Codes – passing fad or here to stay?

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2nd January

I wrote this article on QR codes recently for my agency blog. A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry.



The right way to create your website

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30th December

Website creation continues to evolve. Long gone are the days when website development was the preserve of the geek and the technician. Now the marketer, the designer and the social media exponent are the driving force behind a medium…




Latest from the blog
Practice makes perfect

Looking back to the start of the year, when my current team were green and in an unquestionable forming stage, it’s clear that the...

Summertime Blues

No matter how much we try and plan our projects around holidays, and allow for the fact personnel will be off for long periods...

Navigating the politics of technology

The unfortunate consequence of being a new contractor working alongside respected and experienced incumbents is that there is a natural inclination to be deferential...