Black, white and the reality of grey

As a wet-behind-the-ears graduate my first real job was as a graduate trainee at retailer Boots. I joined the marketing scheme in their Nottingham head office. I spent many hours in meeting rooms being drilled in the disciplines of marketing and management. One of the mantras that Boots drilled into us was a management philosophy called value-based management (VBM). At its core was a focus on taking management decisions that added shareholder value. As a major listed company the logic of this was clear. And the congruence between what made sense for the company and what that meant for our decisions as newbie graduates was clear as well. But where VBM went wrong was in its implementation. It paralysed too many managers (and graduates too) by encouraging them to look for data-led evidence of whether a decision would add value. Analysis of data became paramount as the means to making Continue reading "Black, white and the reality of grey"

Guessing the price of websites

Over on the Deeson blog I’ve been writing about agencies writing proposals for client websites. Having been back agency-side for almost two and a half years now, it’s fascinating to see how many of the norms of the digital agency business remain unchanged from almost ten years ago – including the fixed scope, fixed price website proposal. In my post on the Deeson blog I talk about why this is a bad idea for both agencies and clients. But I also know that for many agencies there’s no choice but to enter into the guessing game that fixed price/scope tenders really are – that’s a commercial reality as fixed price/scope is the norm for our industry. So if you want to learn why I’m so convinced about the inadequacy of this way of delivering client-agency digital projects, check out these two links:
  1. The iron triangle of project management
  2. Why fixed Continue reading "Guessing the price of websites"

Guessing the price of websites

Over on the Deeson blog I’ve been writing about agencies writing proposals for client websites. Having been back agency-side for almost two and a half years now, it’s fascinating to see how many of the norms of the digital agency business remain unchanged from almost ten years ago – including the fixed scope, fixed price website proposal. In my post on the Deeson blog I talk about why this is a bad idea for both agencies and clients. But I also know that for many agencies there’s no choice but to enter into the guessing game that fixed price/scope tenders really are – that’s a commercial reality as fixed price/scope is the norm for our industry. So if you want to learn why I’m so convinced about the inadequacy of this way of delivering client-agency digital projects, check out these two links:
  1. The iron triangle of project management
  2. Why fixed Continue reading "Guessing the price of websites"

London to Paris cycle ride – in under 24 hours

I’ve always been one for a challenge of one sort or another. Inspired by the brilliant Sean Conway, Sophie Radcliffe and Donald Hirsch, the idea of cycling from London to Paris in under 24 hours seemed like a good one to take on to celebrate my 40th birthday this summer. The team So last weekend we hit the road out of London and rode to Paris. And we made it in under 24 hours too, having a brilliant time along the way. I’ve shared more details about our trip, routes, experiences, kit list and more on a dedicated page at www.simonwakeman.com/london-to-paris-by-bike-in-24-hours/. If you’d like to know more details about cycling from London to Paris in under 24 hours, drop me a line. The experience has certainly got me thinking about next year’s cycling challenge – it’s amazing what you can pack into 24 hours on your bike.

Looking for great designers

Building a team is hard. Building a great team is harder. But that journey always starts by hiring the right people. At Deeson we’re on a sustainable path to grow the business, and right now we’re looking for designers (as well as experienced Drupal developers and solutions architects). With the arrival of a talented new Creative Director last month, I’m now looking to grow our creative firepower as an agency. We’ve reinvented our discovery stage on digital projects to put creativity right in the centre of the way we solve problems for our clients using digital technology. To help roll this out we need great people to join us as designers. Find out more about how designers at Deeson work in Andrew’s blog post. While we’re a distributed agency with homes in London and Canterbury, our designers are physically located in London (Angel) and Canterbury so you’d be based in Continue reading "Looking for great designers"

Creating space in leadership

This is something that’s fascinated me for a while now – how to create space for teams to thrive, solve problems and do their best work while shaping direction and managing risks as a leader? Years ago when I led communications and marketing teams in the public sector, I used to frustrate my team regularly when they came to me to ask for help. I’d reflect the question back to them and ask them what they thought before sharing my opinions. In that role I had the professional domain expertise to have an informed enough opinion – I’d started my career in communications and marketing and had a good few years experience to draw upon. But I always had a nagging doubt that even with that experience, there was no way I could have a better way of solving an issue than the person who was bringing it to me. Continue reading "Creating space in leadership"

Review: A Mind for Business by Andy Gibson

Psychology and neuroscience fascinate me, even if I do have trouble spelling them when writing a blog post. With every day that passes I become more convinced that genuine leadership requires leaders to have a good understanding of these two disciplines and what they mean for the human interactions that make up our day-to-day working lives. So that’s why when a copy of A Mind For Business by Andy Gibson dropped on my doormat (yes, a real life paper copy), I was keen to get stuck in and see what it had to offer. As my interest in psychology and neuroscience has grown over the past couple of years, I’ve read some pretty heavyweight books on the subjects. This has been intellectually rewarding but, to be honest, pretty hard work. A Mind For Business is different – and refreshingly so. For the newcomer to this field it does a good Continue reading "Review: A Mind for Business by Andy Gibson"