Apr 29, 2015
Philosophie has evolved quite a bit over the years, but we still believe in doing exceptional work on time and on budget. We are not industry specific. We fuse our proven process with our Ridiculously Talented individuals and partner with innovators who bring their subject matter expertise to the table. I hope to shed light to other individuals or companies on how we work and how that may be applied to other firms or organizations. Here are a few things you can expect when you work with us.
We ask our clients to provide a Product Owner who will represent the client’s business interests, goals and vision. The Product Owner works closely with our Product Team. We teach them how to run an effective agile team and leverage lean UX tactics. The more time and effort they can give us, the better. We encourage Product Owners to work from our office as much as possible.
We staff most projects with full-time professionals to maximize focus and efficiency. Generally this is a cross-functional Product Team. A Product Team consists of a UI Designer, UX Designer, one to three Software Engineers and a Product Strategist. This is one reason that we can begin to ship results in weeks and not months. When beneficial, we will also leverage the diversity of our team by bringing specialists onto the project as needed to work through specific challenges.
All digital projects require frequent collaboration. The Product Team performs a standup meeting every day to report progress on their work. This routine maintains alignment and allows us to catch potential issues before they become costly setbacks. We use Slack for daily communication and create private channels for each of our projects. We ask our clients to be available on Slack during business hours.
In addition to the daily standup meetings, we hold a weekly review and planning meeting in which we present the week’s progress to you and prioritize what needs to get done in the upcoming week. There are no shifting deadlines; we demo what we have on a weekly basis and collectively determine what is ready to ship. Additionally, we use continuous integration (CI) so features are delivered to the Product Owner as they are completed. This lets us keep feedback cycles extremely tight.
Because we don’t sign a contract with a detailed scope, our clients only risk one hour at a time. We do not lock our clients into anything; we want them to pay us only as long as we provide value to their organization.
Any experienced developer or product strategist knows how rapidly things can change in a software product. No one wants to interrupt the process to negotiate scope changes and sign more contracts. This is why we do not specify things like revision limits or deliverables in our proposals. The flexible scope allows us to organically take advantages of our discoveries along the way and iterate until it’s right.
One of our core values at Philosophie is Same Team. There is no “us” vs. “them.” We partner with our clients. Our partners teach us about their industry and customers and we teach them about good design and development practices. We work together to build creative solutions that solve real world problems. We make their goals our own and collaborate to achive these shared goals. Philosophie’s success can only be measured by the success of our partners.
Of course, the primary advantage of an agile process is that it is rapidly iterative. Wherever possible, we aim to test, validate, and refine designs and features. Our agile process emphasizes One Deliverable for each project: a functioning and stable product that can be deployed to a production environment immediately upon approval by the Product Owner.
It’s easy to develop products in a silo. But unfortunately that doesn’t always result in the best products. We believe in getting out of the building and engaging with people who are experiencing the described problem. This allows us to experience the full scope of the problem and better predict where the product may fit into the lives of these users.
While these expectations require a lot from our clients, we have found it results in successful engagements that everyone benefits from. Building a business isn’t easy; it requires time and dedication from everyone. We push our team members as well as our clients. One of the things we take the most pride in is transitioning this process and knowledge to an internal team. We’ve helped our clients hire designers and engineers so they can continue to build great products.