Working at a digital agency developing apps and marketing solutions is pretty fun, and there’s a lot more to it than just writing lines of code or paying for ads on Google or Facebook. We problem solve, be creative, work on cool projects that redefine life for people, and see businesses grow and become successful.
Working in the tech space is rewarding in many ways, but it’s also hard work. From the moment we arrive in the morning to the moment we pack up for the day and leave the office, we’re simultaneously learning and doing - at all times. Every aspect of what we do, whether it’s coding or designing UI and UX, requires us to be thinking for all different types of users, their end goal, and what problems could arise (and how to prevent them).
So what exactly do we do at work during a typical day? IS there a typical day?
In another blog we broadly talked about what’s involved in the various stages of the app development lifecycle, but this time we’re going to talk about what we do on a day to day basis more specifically as a digital agency.
Let’s take a look at what a typical Tuesday might be like for us.
Start of the day
We don’t really do the typical “9 - 5”, instead we have a more flexible working schedule where most of the team begins arriving at the office at 9.30AM with a few arriving at around 10AM. In some cases, team members are able to work remotely on occasion - one of the benefits of being a digitally based company. It’s pretty quiet in the morning and everyone settles into their routine fairly quickly, with productivity levels fueled by coffee running high.
All of our app development projects are run with a scrum style of “agile” management, and the developers work on projects in “sprint cycles” - these are 2 week blocks that begin and end with a sprint meeting to set goals, monitor progress, and ensure deadlines are being met. This system means that when the developers arrive in the morning, they can immediately get to work with a clear goal in mind for what they need to achieve each day and what their goal is for the fortnight.
Meanwhile, the admin team, or “A-Team”, is preparing for the day ahead of them. This team is made up of the General Manager, Project Coordinator, Design team, and Marketing team. Although each person has a specific role, it’s fairly common for the team to work together on a variety of tasks interchangeably, especially where duties or skills overlap. The General Manager may respond to his stack of emails, or sit in developer meetings with his Project Coordinator to monitor progress. The Design team may receive incoming requests from developers for tweaks or changes as needed to fit their development workflows.
On this particular day, we have a client coming in for their Discovery Workshop, where they come and discuss with our team their vision and how we would build them a great app and a successful business model.
From the start of the day to the end, our leaders have to throw themselves into overseeing business matters, office productivity, and managing the assignments of developers across the various teams to ensure development projects are running efficiently and the company is achieving its deadlines.
Before the client meeting, the project coordinator and designers update several devs and the QA team on changes that are going to be made to an existing project. The changes won’t have a significant impact on the deadline of the project, but they do change the way that the devs will have to approach the next stage of development so it’s important to brief them now before they begin writing any code for it.
The change isn’t a surprise, but it is a bit inconvenient and brings a few challenges that the team will now have to overcome.
The General Manager uses this time to respond to clients, evaluate the progress of several projects currently being worked on, and creating productivity reports for the Directors. The marketing team work on a social media schedule and content for a client.
Midday (lunch break)
Throughout the day it steadily becomes busier in the office as developers begin working together to discuss roadblocks and solutions they come across. The General Manager and Marketing team find themselves busier as prospective clients begin emailing with questions and ideas, and the Project Coordinator performs a quick check on the status of several projects to make sure the assigned developers are making progress.
The business team have an early lunch break ahead of the Discovery Workshop, and at around 12:30pm the office completely clears out as the developers head out to lunch leaving the few that remain to a quiet office. Our office is located near a variety of restaurants, cafes, and other places to grab something to eat and drink, and a few parks for relaxing outdoors which some of the team make use of.
As the lunch break ends at around 1.30PM, those that went out for lunch all return to the office and lineup to use the coffee machine for their afternoon dose of caffeine.
Afternoon (Discovery workshop)
Our client arrives at around 1.00PM for the Discovery Workshop with our “A team”. Depending on the size, scope, and nature of the project being discussed, the team attending the meeting may include any combination of the General Manager, the Design team, Project Coordinator, and occasionally somebody from the Marketing team.
In this instance, the client contacted us with their idea a few months prior, and we’ve already got a fairly good working relationship with them and have a decent understanding of their business needs. This is the first day of the meeting so the two groups set up around the table armed with coffee, flowcharts, and notebooks, ready to begin discussing what’s going into the app and how to approach the project.
The meeting ends up going for around 4 hours during which we discuss strategies to the UI and UX, culling and adding high value features until we have a refined idea of what the final product would look like.
End of day
The Discovery Workshop meeting finishes at around 5 and the “A team” returns to their desks to complete the rest of their daily duties.
At around 5:45PM, the Technical Director debriefs with the lead developers with a short standup to wrap up the day. During this daily standup, the lead developers highlights which goals were met, what obstacles were encountered, what changes had to be made, and any specific plans that need to be made or adjusted for the next day.
This standup meeting is usually only 10 minutes in length, but it helps the team to remain informed and creates an open platform for the team leads to make suggestions, and give and receive feedback on how their project is progressing and how their team is performing.
By 6PM the standup meeting wraps up, and the office begins to clear out as everyone heads home for the day. A few who make use of a flexible working schedule to start and finish later in the day are the exceptions, and stay back to finish up their daily tasks in the peace and quiet of a mostly empty office until the next day.
But that’s just one example of a day at a digital agency like PixelForce, and no two days are really the same. For more information about how we plan projects, check out our Discovery Workshop page, or book a free 30 minute consultation today and get in touch with us to start your project.