Articles tagged 'business'

All new KickCode and introducing Hijax Games Jul 6

I have completely forgotten to post on here about the relaunch of the KickCode site, or my new gaming focused development brand, d'oh!

First things first, I rebuilt and relaunched the KickCode site a good few weeks ago. The new site is smarter, cleaner and clearer, and focuses on what we do best - helping businesses improve. Whether it’s increasing revenue or users, decreasing churn, or another business goal you have, we can almost certainly help you achieve it. We’re providing lots of good business and technical content on the blog too, and you can sign up for the newsletter to get a nice round-up of things we’ve written, worked on, or found interesting. Check out the new site now!

I’ve also launched a separate gaming focused brand, called Hijax Games. The thinking behind this was to provide the same great focus we do on KickCode, but specific to the game development niche. We’ll be working on our own games and sharing development progress from those, as well as being available to work on client game development. Lastly, we’ll be providing great game development content to help other game developers, with the tools we’re best at, from RubyMotion and Joybox, to Unity3D. Expect lots of interesting stuff over the coming months, and again you can sign up to the Hijax newsletter to be kept in the loop.

So that’s that, busy few weeks launching those - let me know if you have thoughts, comments or questions on the new sites, and please get in touch if you think KickCode or Hijax Games can help you with your idea!

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Understanding Management Dec 15

I recently embarked on an openings course with the Open University, with a view to it being the first step for me on the way to a distance learning business degree. The openings course is mainly designed to get you into a studying frame of mind, and is perfect for someone like me who is returning to studying after six years. However, as the choices for the two openings courses on the way to a business degree seemed fairly dry (Understanding Management, or Understanding Society), I figured on the most interesting thing about the course simply being getting to grips with studying itself. I opted with Understanding Management.

As I’ve gotten through the first part of the course however, and with my first assignment submitted today, I’ve found that actually the course material has provided me with some rather interesting thoughts and concepts. The general idea that is presented throughout the first half of the course is that we are all managers. Management is made up of distinct, identifiable processes and roles, and we all implement a mixture of these processes and roles while managing tasks, however big or small they might be. We simply use a different set of these processes dependent upon the job at hand.

Instead of thinking about the stereotype of stuffy management and managers, it is important to understand what the concept actually is, and further to that, how it can be effectively applied, and become something useful for everyone who might happen to be “in charge” of something. And that really is anyone - whether it’s managing your finances, managing your workload, managing a party, or managing Christmas dinner. We’re all managers of something, and the sooner we can understand the processes that make up how we manage, the quicker we can improve them and become more efficient at it.

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Agile and Scrum'd Dec 14

I’ve been meaning to write this up for almost two weeks now, but there is no time like the present! A couple of weeks ago Robert Dempsey, CEO and founder of Atlantic Dominion Solutions took some time out of his busy schedule to speak to me about agile, and specifically agile from a freelancers point of view.

We had a great chat and covered a number of different things, but it was very cool to get his take on how much of the agile process a freelancer can really implement. From my own experiences so far, I felt that certain aspects still translate to a one man band scenario really well (client user stories, organising development into sprints and iterations), but there were other aspects such as daily standups and sprint retrospectives that I was struggling to identify where they might be able to fit in.

As I explained to Robert, effectively as a freelancer I am doing what amounts to a standup (what did I do yesterday, what am I doing today, what is blocking my objectives), only I’m doing it in bitesize chunks throughout the day. I’m managing my workflow, changing projects if something is blocking my progress, and checking off things as I get them done. The key difference for me is that my standup needs to account for my entire workload, which might encompass multiple projects for different clients in any given day.

After speaking with Robert, it became clear that while I don’t need to do a lonely one man standup in the strictest sense, there is still potentially some value in me attempting to take a set time period at the beginning of each day to accomplish the same thing as a standup - clear off what I achieved yesterday, plan what I’m working on today, and isolate/identify any blockers to my current and planned work for the day - in this way, I won’t need to waste time on those things throughout the day, where it potentially might be more distracting to my overall workflow. At the minute first thing I do each day is Inbox Zero, so it makes sense to follow that right up with a standup which is another potentially great productivity task that’ll help me to plan and organise my day.

Robert also mentioned that over at ADS they are building out some really great resources on agile, and coming at the topic from lots of different angles, so that people can understand how it might work for them, regardless of their situation or how they work. Specifically the up and coming Agile for Freelancers section looks to be very promising, and I’m looking forward to reading the resources that come out of this work, as well as giving them useful feedback from a freelancers perspective.

I really enjoyed the chat with Robert, and will definitely be speaking to him again in the future - hopefully I helped him a little in terms of getting more information on a freelancers perspective, and he definitely helped me out with some general advice on agile as a concept, and how it can be applied even in scenarios where it perhaps isn’t immediately obvious.

Lastly, he is currently running a very generous offer for the agile web application Scrum’d which ADS have built - a year free on their top of the range corporate product for any company still in its first year of business. He was able to hook me up, and I’m excited to start using it more extensively, and providing ADS with some feedback, as they seem very interested in turning user requests and feedback into reality, and are incredibly focused on crafting a tool that users really get the most out of. Thanks again for the free year of Scrum’d Robert!

I’m hoping to write up in more detail over the coming months my experiences of the bits of the agile process that work for me as a freelancer, and the bits that need tweaking or don’t fit so well. If any other freelancers have thoughts, questions or comments, I’d be delighted to hear from you!

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