How we run winning projects for our customers

The art of storytelling in engineering projects. How we help our customers crystalize their vision for a project and keep us on track as we work towards it.

The outstanding technical ability of our teams is crucial to our customers’ success, but there’s so much more to it than raw talent. Storytelling plays a strong role in our work, helping our customers crystalize their vision for a project and keeping us on track as we work towards it.

Whenever we get started on a new project, the first thing we do is to identify its riskiest or most complex element. We then explore the solution to that challenge by running an isolated test, ensuring we’re able to minimize the risk or complexity before integrating it back into the working project based on the knowledge we’ve gained from the experience.

Because our Fireteams work from week to week, we prioritize tasks within a project to use that span of time as effectively as possible – this guarantees that we have concrete outcomes to show each week. Measuring our output also allows us to estimate what we can get done the following week, which in turn forces us to prioritize our decisions on what comes next.

As engineers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of starting out by thinking about what can go wrong in a project, but we’ve found that staying laser-focused on our desired outcomes – what we call the “happy path” – is much more effective. We do this by asking our customers the right questions about the project’s risks and challenges and creating a storyboard with them around the ideal product and its intended uses. This storytelling approach acts as a reference point, keeping us on track to achieve the perfect outcome.

Our SOUTHIES begin building that product story as soon as they start on a project. Strong storytelling supports the customer by ensuring they’re always in the loop and clear on our way forward. Every week we update the story, telling the customer where we started out and where we’re at now. Rather than imagining every possible difficulty and wasting energy on precautionary actions to tackle those potential scenarios right from the start, this perspective means we’re identifying potential hitches by working backwards from our story’s desired ending, and only putting measures in place to meet that end.

SOUTHWORKS Fireteams are always geared towards the project’s solution, which helps them avoid working on things that will ultimately be binned – they do this by striking a balance between a well-thought-out design and the most efficient, simplest implementation that will work as desired. This isn’t always easy, which is why we have experienced architects overseeing all our teams (more on how are teams are shaped here). They ensure that we’re not overthinking or overengineering, and that we remain focused on doing what’s needed to get a positive outcome for our customers as efficiently as possible.

And that’s how we help our customers get the best out of us and succeed – not just with our accomplished dev work and the challenges we’re able to solve, but by helping them to get to the bottom of what they want to achieve, what they’re building and why, and then tell that story successfully.

Learn more about SOUTHWORKS on our Culture Blog or check out our latest client projects.