January 26, 2017
Walking down the halls of PointSource, you’ll see a lot of rooms created for collaboration, made unique by the amount of post-its wallpapering the space. They may be filled with people hunched over, doodling on giant rolls of drafting paper, maybe laughing, maybe adding to the sticky note decor. Maybe a banana peel is strewn haphazardly on the table. The rooms at PointSource probably give the appearance of a heated game of Pictionary being played over lunch. And while there’s no guarantee that Pictionary is not involved, what’s actually taking place is more than likely Co-De*.
Chances are good that a software engineer, a designer, a business analyst and maybe one or two other people have blocked their calendars and booked an hour or two in that room. They are all highly-skilled, multi-disciplined professionals with a common goal, a common client project and a common scope of work. They are digital transformation ninjas and their weapons are a whiteboard, sticky notes, TV screens and endless rolls of drafting paper. Step back and observe while they slay any roadblocks to your unique digital solution.
Co-De* is Co-Design and Co-Development:
Co-De* is our proprietary process of co-design and co-development that we use to solve common problems that companies are facing when they initially come to us. Unrealistic timelines, development inefficiencies and bad user feedback plague businesses that aren’t equipped to think beyond the confines of lateral and departmental input. Collaboration across channels and resources is the key to making this process successful.
At PointSource, co-design and co-development utilize all the skills of a deliberately chosen group of people to provide solutions that are intelligent, innovative, user-friendly and technologically sound. The Co-De* process revolves around a few core principles:
- Iterative value has an exponential relationship with cross-discipline collaboration.
- Gestalt Theory is the idea that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
- Making and building happens with many artifacts.
- Co-de* is as much programming as it is content from wireframes, visual assets, interaction direction, templates, copy, etc.
What’s a Co-De* session really look like?
Go to one of those rooms you passed and take a closer look. Those doodles aren’t pictographs of a movie title. They’re wireframes of responsive layouts. They’re braindumps on functionality and features. They’re lists of next steps and individual action items. They’re visual design mockups and iconography. A unified team on a mission to create a new business solution has just purged all their thoughts on how to accomplish this in a collaborative exchange of knowledge and expertise. While it may seem like utter chaos, it’s actually organized chaos. There is structure – rules to the unruly. A governance to the ungoverned. It’s not obvious upon observation, but internally there are well-established rails to help keep our collaborative train on course.
What’s Co-De* do for our clients?
It puts professionals in a room together focused solely on our client’s business in a predefined structure that facilitates open and creative thinking and problem-solving. But don’t rely on that answer. All of our clients are invited to participate in as many or as few Co-De* sessions as they prefer! There is continued opportunity in Co-De* for our clients to learn through watching and coaching. We want to share our work and we want to hear feedback and input. We consider this an opportunity to identify and address any divergences from our path to the solution that is unique to each of our client’s businesses. Co-De* sessions are not just for kickoff, but throughout the scope of work, so that everyone starts out and remains aligned from the beginning of the project to the launch. Through this process, we are able to redefine limitations as opportunities to develop and broaden the possibilities.
What does Co-De* actually mean to PointSourcers?
Co-De* is a great tool for establishing cultural alignment across partnerships. Hear more about it from the minds and mouths of some experienced Co-De* participants…
Paul Smokovitz, Senior Visual Designer:
“For me Co-De* means: All team members can help solve design problems resulting in a better design than if done ‘alone.’ Or more simply put: Gets everyone up, moving, and communicating.”
Cait Smith, Director of Digital Strategy:
“Co-De* = Removing the walls of your own thinking and learning from others.”
Kristin McPeak, Digital Creative Manager:
“It’s about getting outside of your own discipline and considering other perspectives – things you never would have thought of if you were working all alone. You have to be pretty comfortable in your own skin to welcome those perspectives rather than be threatened by them. When Co-De* expands to include our clients, it brings them along for the ride. They are in the trenches, problem-solving, being creative, and getting the satisfaction of doing things like testing prototypes with users. It’s cool, at the end, to be able to say, ‘We made this,’ with everyone feeling a true sense of ownership.”
John Romano, UX Director:
“Co-designing is a collaboration technique that uses structured, collaborative sessions to inform the work of individual contributors on a team. Cross-disciplinary members work together to initiate sketches and initial ideas for specific challenges.”
Sean Kennedy, Senior Software Architect:
“Co-De* means that my insights and creativity are welcomed and considered by my teammates from all disciplines regardless of the topic at hand. It also means that I get to leverage the experience and expertise of those teammates to improve the work I do in my own domains too.”
Ron Reed, Senior Business Analyst:
“It’s a way for employees to interact early and often within the lifecycle of a project to ensure all ideas are shared across disciplines to lead to more successful team communication.”
Co-De* can be a lightweight sketching session with a couple people throwing out ideas. It can gain weight with two developers pair programming for quicker and more efficient code. Co-De* can even get as heavy as co-located hybrid teams of our experts and your team members. It’s inherently structured to allow a range of processes to suit a range of needs from a single session to a long-term residency where your team members work onsite with ours. Where do your business needs fall on our Co-De* spectrum?