How we work

We follow a fairly simple process to determine what needs to be done:

  1. Discuss what you want to achieve, the problem you’re experiencing, or even just questions you have.
  2. We will work with you to surface and identify underlying problems and put together a proposal for resolving them along with an estimate of how long it will take, when it can be done, who should be involved and how much it will cost.
  3. The initial consultation and problem exploration phase (steps 1 and 2 above) are provided free of charge and without obligation. If we think further investigation will be required to understand the problem better we’ll let you know at this point, but this isn’t usually required.
  4. Once you’re happy with our proposal, you raise a purchase order for the agreed amount.
  5. Some organizations require us to be accepted onto their supplier list before a purchase order can be raised – let us know if that’s the case, and we will supply whatever information you require.
  6. We work closely with you and other people in your organization, so coordination of diaries and setting of dates is usually required at this point. This can happen in parallel with raising the purchase order.
  7. Once we receive the purchase order we begin work with you and maintain a close working relationship throughout our engagement with you. We take a pragmatic view of the working relationship, so if new information or ideas come to light that indicates a change of direction would make sense, we agree that with you rather than trying to stick to the original proposal.
  8. We like to receive (and actively seek) feedback about the quality of our work, both while it’s being carried out and after it’s complete.

The engagement

“Engagement” is our word for doing some work with you to resolve specific or even unidentified problems. We don’t call it “training” or “consultancy” because, while each of these styles of working has its own benefits, one can be more appropriate than another for solving a particular problem. We often propose a mixture of different ways of working as the best solution to a problem.

An example

Clients often ask us to help them develop automated testing skills (Test-driven development or TDD). We could propose a 2 day training course which includes exercises to help the attendees consolidate and apply what they’re learning in the lectures. 2 or 3 day courses is what most training companies would propose.

However, what we often propose instead is 1 day of training, immediately followed by 2 days on-site mentoring working on writing tests for real software on a real project. You pay about the same amount as for the longer course, but benefit from:

  • having less “down time” - while you’re attending courses you’re not working on a project;
  • being able to work on realistic, concrete, project-specific problems is more satisfying and confidence-building than artificial ones created specially for the course;
  • you build confidence in your ability to apply your knowledge in the real world;
  • experiencing first-hand how an expert tackles your problems when they’ve never seen them before teaches something that is difficult to learn from pre-programmed courseware.