The collaboration double act that we love to take to client site

10 November 2015 | Louis Bougeard | About a 3 minute read
Tags: Communication, Culture, impact, Slack, technology, Trello

As a professional services firm, we find ourselves working almost all the time on client site,  but obviously we also want to keep in touch with colleagues who may be working for a different client in a different office. Traditionally, this was an issue. There was constant context switching between tools, be that a chat app or kanban board tool. We used to use Hipchat internally then used Lync, Google hangout, Skype or whatever the client used for communication with them.

Too many tools!

There was a point where I could be logged in on up to 6 chat tools at any one time. You’d hear a bing from one of them, alerting you to a new message, then have to flick through them all, just to find it was an unsolicited contact request in skype; “cute_girl_xxx”. Decline.


In a similar vein, we were using JIRA internally, but then you went out to client site and had to learn the complex custom workflows being used in Target Process, Rally or whatever other ticketing tool had been chosen. Or you had the joy of trying to work out how the swimlanes, sub-tasks and sprint lifecycles work. It wasn’t easy to have a seamless transition to a new or existing client.

Something we’ve recently been talking about quite a lot internally, are MBEs, or Minimum Barriers to Entry. The amount of handover, setup and general faff a developer needs to go through before they can start working on a product is huge. We believe that not only do clients get more added value if this is as simple as possible, but it also prevents developers getting pissed off!

Cue Trello and Slack. We love these tools internally anyway – they are a pleasure to use, and highly intuitive – but what makes them superb is the way the make context switching so easy, and the fact that they integrate together beautifully. It means that, if you take these apps with you to client site, suddenly you can just have one kanban board tool open and one chat tool running, each containing both your internal work and client work in segregated spaces.


Both of these tools are great for reducing the barriers to entry. Furthermore not only are they tools that we are familiar with, they make us more productive, and when we introduce them to clients, they love them, too!



The ability to seamlessly switch back and forth between organisations makes work so much less painful, with the added bonus of simplified work flows and ability to send GIFs of cats!


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