Collaborate: to “co-labor,” to work together. We value collaboration among our employees and with our clients. Does that seem obvious? All agencies “work with” their teams and their clients, of course. The burning question is how.
What’s Planet Argon’s take on collaboration?
We choose relationships we believe will succeed. Let’s start at the beginning: the best way to grease the skids for a good collaboration is to choose employees and clients that will work well together. We’re deliberate about building both our team and our client roster. This means we don’t get in our own way, so we have the energy to focus on making good things great.
We foster transparency and open communication. We put a lot of thought into shaping our process. Less overhead, more useful communication. Our project managers help the team function smoothly; they guide communication between clients and developers instead of blocking it. When things go awry, we’re up front about problems and mistakes, instead of hiding behind technical jargon and bureaucracy. We avoid useless meetings so that we can make the most of the meetings that do matter. And as much as we love our online tools, from email to bug tickets to wikis, sometimes you just need to sit down in a room together and hash out an issue. We do that too.
We’re kind to each other. No matter what the scenario, we don’t have room at Planet Argon for disrespectful behavior. Of course, when you work with people you trust and enjoy, treating each other well is a whole lot easier. By acting with kindness and good humor, we create a culture of respect and delight that extends to our clients and partners. This is crucial for building lasting relationships, which is what we’re all about.
All design patterns imply antipatterns. Here are some things that collaboration is not:
It’s not groupthink. We all like each other, and we like our clients, but healthy collaboration includes disagreement. Sometimes energetic disagreement. But when the discussion happens in an environment of trust and mutual respect, conflict makes the project stronger.
It’s not a monarchy. Some collaborations are built on a strong hierarchy: “We are the agency, we will tell you what you need.” “I’m the project lead, do what I say.” We think that’s yucky. We want to serve our clients, not govern them. A key part of “open communication” involves our team listening closely to the client, learning from them instead of dictating what we think they need.
It’s not boring. Worried that getting rid of psychodrama will get rid of the excitement? Fear not! Good collaboration is muscular, adventurous, messy, funny, challenging. We’ve never had this much fun, and every year it gets better.
At the end of the day, a good collaboration means you got things done and had fun doing it. And at Planet Argon, that’s how we roll.