An Update from Us

What we have learned and how we have adapted in 2020

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CSG Project Manager Megan

How Our Bespoke Software Team Are Working Now

Well, where to even begin with this year? It’s been quite unforgettable, hasn’t it? A year to change them all. As a software development business, we’ve tried our best to shape as many positives out of the past seven months as we can. 


So, here’s a little insight from our head honcho, Andrew into how we’ve found silver linings in 2020:


Moving Onwards

In-between learning to embrace the curveballs of running a business in a pandemic, back in July we moved into a fantastic new office space in Ringwood, Hampshire. We’ve moved from a business centre to our own stand-alone modern office. Our move came from a need for more space for our growing software development team. And it couldn’t have come at a better time as we now have plenty of room to grow and social distance too! 


While our team worked from home, we took the time to remodel the office to optimise the space. We now have a large open place space as well as a separate breakout area, meeting rooms and a secure server area. Ringwood is a vibrant market town on the border of Hampshire and Dorset with great travel links, and we’re excited to be part of a new business community. 


In the summer we welcomed Megan as Project Manager, Doukas as UI Designer and Business Development Manager Mark, who have been brilliant additions to our team, helping us to provide an even greater software development experience to all our clients. We had a good few weeks to settle in together, learn how everyone likes their cuppa, before government advice changed; encouraging staff to work from home if they can. As a result, our plans took another swift U-turn, but we quickly found our feet and are making the best of both worlds, taking turns to work from home and in the office too. 


 
A Virtual Office Space

Effective collaboration is essential to how we work as bespoke software developers. So, although we may not all be able to be in the same room, we are constantly talking. Everyone is fully equipped to work from home and cloud technology has become our best friend. We’ve been raving about the benefits of cloud technologies for years, but we’ve never been more grateful for having a cloud based working environment. We work primarily with the tools of Microsoft Teams to keep in touch and project manage. Our SCRUM meetings are held virtually every morning via video calls, where we make sure we’re all kept in the loop of project developments. 


Our leadership team meet in person at least once a week in our well ventilated office. Although we miss having the whole team together, we are making the most of being nicely spread out with at least a two metre distance between desks, and are enjoying all the extra leg room and having better dibs on the best biscuits. We’re finding that we want to make this time together really count too, so all meetings have a real focus. I am based in the office five days a week, holding the fort as well as taking care of all the important tasks like watering the plants (amazingly they’re all still alive and kicking!)


Successfully working from home, in our book, is a skill in itself. It’s been a period of adjustment, and we’ve all had plenty to juggle and contend with (I personally will forever shudder at the term ‘home-school’). However, I’m really proud of how the team have pulled together to ensure communication is prioritised, productivity is high and our clients are taken excellent care of. 


Being More Mindful 

One aspect of working remotely that we were conscious to keep on top of is making sure that no one feels isolated. Working from home definitely has its perks (hello fluffy slippers and Bargain Hunt lunch breaks) but as a team that work as closely as we always have, we knew the adjustment wasn’t going to be easy. That’s why it’s been so important from the outset to prioritise the wellbeing of our people. 


Being a software developer can be intensive, with hours spent on the same piece of code or trying to solve a usability problem. Sometimes it can take only one brief conversation with a colleague to help freshen our thinking. Similarly, in the traditional office culture, we can generally tell if someone is ok or if they are struggling without having to ask. Everyone here has different circumstances, and as such have been affected in different ways by Covid-19.

In our new setup, talking openly and immediately, rather than waiting for the next meeting, is actively encouraged. So, we talk on the phone and via Teams whenever we need to. I also take the time to regularly check in on each person on a one on one call, making sure they’re managing their work life balance well, sharing positive news and the odd meme or two to brighten a day. 

Flexible Thinking

While Joe Wicks got our bodies moving (and aching), we’ve had to keep our thinking flexible too. Some of our client’s businesses have changed for a short while, some have changed for good. So, we’ve been working super hard to adapt their software needs to work for their new business needs. In some cases, this has involved making new additions to operational software to automate processes, in other cases we have had to re-tailor the level of support we provide. We’re lucky that we work in an industry where even before this year we worked remotely and virtually with clients from all over the UK. Now we are mindful that our clients time is more precious than ever, so we are working hard to ensure that all our communications and meetings are efficient and productive as they can be. 


If this year has taught us anything, it’s that anything can – and will – happen. Being prepared, and planning, for change has never been more important to the way we work. Our bespoke software developments have always been built around scalability, and now we will ensure that many and more eventualities are considered too. So that all software applications we design are adaptive to business developments of all shapes and sizes. 


All this to say, that we are still here, and we’ve made some changes, all for the better. We are still working to ensure that we can provide the same excellent customer experience as always. 


We hope you’re all ok, and have been able to find some silver linings too. 

Not Just Travel

Not Just Travel (NJT)

Our client's current internal reporting tool was in need of a series of complex developments to facilitate key administrative tasks. Our specialist software support developers made enhancements to make the system easier to manage internally and to give the client greater control of their software.

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