Musings

2 years in...

Posted 7/8/2018 by Emma Browne

How has it been two years already?! Around this time last year, Andrew and I opened the doors to Mutual.

We had both been recently been made redundant from the agency that previously employed us, but knew that from the ashes of our old employer could rise a very good little agency. So we purchased the remaining assets and set to work.

Since then, we've grown to five people with Harry, Meg, and Rachel joining us. We've also done some very exciting and rewarding work for well known brands such as NBC Universal, Transparency International, CIB, McBains, and The Carey Group.

So I thought I'd reflect on the past two years and write a little about what we're doing well, and where we're focusing our efforts on over the next year.

We rock at support.

We recently looked at the stats and the vast majority of support tickets are responded to within ten minutes and resolved within a day or so, too.

That's not all support tickets - sometimes they're larger and take a little longer, but we're really happy and we've heard from our client partners that they are too.

We've struggled to find talent.

We're finding it really difficult to find good web developers who care as much about the detail as we do, and over the past two years that's held us back quite a bit. We've had to turn down jobs we would have loved to do, but we knew we weren't yet cut out for it.

Our team is great, but we're looking for one or two more people to make us run like clockwork.

If you're interested in working with us, shoot over an email at hello@madebymutual.com

Project management is hard, but we're getting there.

We've always managed projects at our past agencies, of course. But Mutual is taking on really interesting and complex projects with lots of dependencies and stakeholders. This has been our biggest teething problem.

By embracing agile methodologies, and being increasingly strict with ourselves, we're now finishing almost each week with no overdue tasks. We're keeping jobs within scope, and therefore within budget.

When we have gone over-estimates in the past two years, we've swallowed that cost rather than passing the cost of our failings onto our clients. That pain has helped us learn to be better.

Craft is still fantastic.

Craft is still our go-to choice for Content Management System and we can't see that changing any time soon. We're co-sponsoring this years official conference and have invested heavily in building out a suite of tools for Craft to make it ever better for our clients.

Thank you Pixel & Tonic, if we weren't using Craft I'm not sure we would have been able to take on the projects we have done so far.

We don't really want to get much bigger.

We've shown that we can deliver great work with a nimble team. I'm sure that other firms might be able to do things a little quicker or a little cheaper, but we're going for quality. And I'm really happy with the quality of work we consistently release.

Andrew and I are well aware that once we grow the team much more we'll stop managing projects and start managing people. That's not who we are, so we're going to stay lean and mean.

Next up...

Over the next year we're going to focus on filling the one or two extra positions we think we could benefit from, making sure our project management is consistently on-the-ball, and exploring new opportunities for the team.

We also plan on releasing some Craft CMS plugins. We've been wanting to do this for a while, and we've always put it on the back-burner because we haven't had the time or resource to offer good support for them. But we're close to being able to do that, and some of the ones we have (almost) ready to go should make people's lives a little bit better.

We'll catch up next year and share how we did.

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