Onwards and Upwards

By Jess Allison15 Mar 2015

Starting a new job is hard. No matter where you’re coming from, there will always be differences between the people, processes and particulars of the role. I’ve discovered this to be even more noticeable joining Icelab late last year.

As a Producer, I’m tasked with managing our production schedule, liaising with clients, billing, new work enquiries, and constantly reassessing the best way for us to do things. (Luckily I have a sidekick in Aimee Cowie; our Canberra-based Producer, and organiser extraordinaire.)

Although spread across multiple locations, the team works in tight unison, constantly bouncing ideas, questions and issues for validation, improvement and resolution. There’s a distinct lack of unproductive days.

At first the pace was dizzying but as I slowly find my feet I’m learning to love it, even itching to learn more - how can I help these wizards do their job better? What’s the best use of my time? What can I bring from past experience?

The key to the efficiency here is twofold: the right people, and the right tools.

The Icelab team is a wonderful mix of designers, developers, writers, travellers, coffee drinkers, cyclists, and plant enthusiasts (in most cases, a combination of these). Each person has a unique set of skills, and an openness to share, collaborate, learn and grow with the others.

In the past we’ve had dalliances with Campfire, HipChat, Flow, FlowDock and others, but our current tools of the trade are:

Basecamp - for client communication, longer-term discussions, document uploads, to do lists, and milestone tracking.

Slack - for realtime chat, which is particularly useful when we are virtual team brainstorming across multiple locations. Our Slack window is constantly open, and very active.

Trello - for managing the project development process at a more granular level: starting with user stories, and then ‘card lists’ for features, bugs, and so on.

Google spreadsheets and documents - for a range of uses including scheduling, copy editing, estimation, and writing in collaboration with other team members.

We also have an internal quoting system that we’re constantly tweaking. Eventually this should encompass all our forecasting, scheduling and time-tracking needs as well.

I’m excited to be a part of something that feels authentic and organically fast-growing. These people know how to Do Things Right, and it’s an honour to be here. I hope I can keep up!

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