Roles at Deeson
We're not big on job titles at Deeson, but we do think it's important that everyone understands their accountabilities.
When thinking about roles there are two subtly different things that are important:
- The job role that we hire people into the agency to do and they need to fulfil when they’re here
- The project roles that team members play on specific projects
The first is important to set expectations for the company and the new team member. It will inevitably change over time as the agency and the team member develops professionally.
The second reflects a project team being a unique mix team of individuals and recognises that on different projects, team members with different skills will be able to play different roles - and that’s ok.
The first is broader in remit and more fixed than the second, which may flex according to the needs of a project. The second is always a sub-set of the first.
Here are the specific accountabilities we all share regardless of our role:
- Client satisfaction
- Delivering projects (on time, on budget, on spec)
- Your own capacity
- Your own capability
- Supporting your colleagues
- Following company processes
Job roles at Deeson
We have five specific job roles:
- Solutions Architect
- Account Manager
The specific accountabilities of each job role are shown below:
Technical strategy and consultancy
- Understanding the client business goals and requirements for the project
- Scoping, identifying, estimating and deploying technical solutions that deliver the project goals and the outcomes of the discovery phase, including adequate assessment, definition and documenting of technologies, tools, modules to meet project needs
- Ownership of the project blueprint during the production phase
- Delivery of the production phase of a project (on time, on scope, on budget)
- Undertaking complex custom programming and web application development using one or more open source platforms
- Identifying and mitigating technical risk during projects
- Daily review of development progress against estimates and resolution of issues arising for allocated projects
- Where applicable, ensure features have sufficient test coverage (testing tools and methods as needed)
- Technical work meets Deeson standards
- Understand requirements for accessibility and how this will impact the technical aspects of the project
Team and community
- Facilitation for developers on a project to resolve problems and ensure rapid project progression
- On-project coaching for technical team members to support professional development as agreed with the chapter lead
- Actively sharing knowledge with / contributing improvements back to open source community and projects
- Developing well engineered technical solutions to properly defined problems using using one or more open source platforms
- Technical work produced meets Deeson standards
- Definition and estimation for development tasks
- Testing and quality assurance for own solutions developed as defined by the definition of done
Team and community
- Collaborating and pairing with others and actively reviewing each others code
- Sharing best practice and new found learning internally and externally
- Learning new skills, tools and approaches at a rate expected of a fast changing industry
- Actively contributing improvements back to open source community projects
Our developer role encompasses all development activities, including "front-end". Read on for more about how we handle technical specialisms.
- Delivery of the discovery phase of a project (on time, on scope, on budget)
- Own the project blueprint during the discovery phase
- Client stakeholder research
- User experience research
- User experience design
- Prototyping and wireframing
- User experience testing
- Analytics and optimisation
- Estimation for UX tasks
- Be up to date on requirements for AA accessibility and how this will impact the project
- Internal product ownership during Production
- Creative development of concepts, styles and branding
- Collaboration with and facilitation of UX and SA roles to undertake the discovery process, including client and end user interviews and usability labs.
- Lead the team on design thinking, using and explaining design affordance, whilst helping the team to move away from initial concepts and gut reactions.
- Design solutions that meet the needs of the users, as well as the strategic and tactical goals of the client
- Understand AA accessibility and impact on the design process
- User interface design, including interaction design
- Collaboration with front-end developers to ensure interaction design works within technological constraints
- Time estimation for design tasks
- Remain up to date with web design trends so that you are able to recognise them, and steer clients away from them where necessary
- Present your designs to clients, face to face or using video link.
- Client satisfaction and growing relationships
- Identifying opportunities
- Commercial awareness
- Project kick-off and set-up
- Establishing overall project timings
- Documentation production & delivery
- Phase Lead for Support & Maintenance clients
- Reporting & Billing
- Client development
- Pre-client release quality control and testing.
In addition to their primary role, some team members hold additional accountabilities as well:
Project leads have overall accountability to the business and the client for on-time, on-budget, high quality delivery of projects. They provide leadership to the client and to the team on overall approach and delivery.
The accountabilities of the project lead role are:
- Ensuring the team delivers agreed products on-time
- Encourage full participation of team members within their defined roles, responsibilities and empowerment
- Ensuring that the development process is properly focused and controlled
- Ensuring that all testing and review activity is properly scheduled and carried out
- Managing risks and issues at the Timebox level, escalating to the Project Manager, Business Visionary or Technical Coordinator as required
- Monitoring progress on a day-to-day basis for all team activities
- Decisions on project resourcing
- Facilitating communication of team progress with the Project Manager
- Facilitating the daily stand-ups, ensuring they are timely, focussed and brief
- Facilitating reviews and retrospectives with the team
- Quality of chapter output on client and internal projects
- Establishing, sharing and maintaining professional best practice within the chapter
- Thought leadership outside the agency
- New team member successful first year
- Billability of the chapter
- Professional learning and coaching for chapter members
- Acting as the senior expert for complex and tricky problems
- Innovation, R&D and creativity within the chapter
John Ennew is the chapter lead for the technical chapter, supported by James Wilson for front-end.
Andrew Larking is the chapter lead for the design chapter.
Mike Jongbloet is the chapter lead for the user experience chapter.
Holly Davis is the chapter lead for the delivery chapter (agile project management).
Within roles in the technical chapter, it is important we have the right mix of technical skills to deliver client work.
To deliver our vision of being Europe’s leading open source agency, our core technology skill areas will need to be (at least):
- CSS and CSS preprocessing (SASS)
- ES6 (and future versions)
- PHP frameworks (e.g. Symfony, Laravel)
Developers at Deeson join the company with technical skills in at least one of these areas. We expect our developers to be interested and able enough to learn how to work in other areas listed, although we don’t expect everyone to be equally competent in each area.
Deep specialisms in one or more area are a good thing and are encouraged through our quarterly OKR process.
Solutions Architects need to be able to know enough about all of these areas to be able to do their role effectively, but they’re likely to have deeper specialisms in one or more of these areas too.