• What I do

    9 March 2020

    I am a technologist and designer.

    I make things with technology, and I understand and think about technology by making things with it.

    A lot of my work starts with uncertainty: an unknown field, or a new challenge, and the question: what is possible? What is desirable? From there, the work to build a product leads towards certainty: functioning code, a product to be used. I have worked on a lot of shipped, production code, but my best work is not only manufacture and delivery; it also encompasses research, exploration, technical discovery, and explanation.

    Research could involve investigating prior art, or competitors, or using technical documentation to understand what the edges of tools or APIs are - beginning to map out the possible.

    Exploration involves sketching and prototyping in low- and high-fidelity methods to narrow down the possible. That might also include specific technical discovery - understanding what is really possible by making things, compared to just reading the documentation; a form of thinking through making.

    Delivery involves producing production code on both client and server-side (to use web-like terminology), as well as co-ordinating or leading a development team to do so, through estimation and organisation.

    And finally, explanation is synthesis and sense-making: not only doing the work, but explaining the work. That could be ongoing documentation or reporting, contextualising the work in a wider landscape, or demonstrating and documenting the project when complete.

    How does this work happen?

    I work best - and frequently - within small teams of practice. That doesn’t necessarily mean small organisations, though - I’ve worked for quite large organisations too. What’s important is that the functional unit is small, self-contained, and multidisciplinary. I have built or led small teams of practice to achieve an outcome.

    I’ve delivered work with a variety of processes. My favourite processes often resemble design practice more than, say, formal engineering: they are lightly-held, built as much around trust as around formal rules. Such processes are constraints, and they serve to help a team work together, but they are also flexible and adaptable.

    A colleague recently described some of the team’s work on a recent project as “a lot of high-quality decisions made quickly", and I take pride in that description; I hope to bring that sensibility to all my work.

    You can find out more about past projects. If the above sounds of value to you, do get in touch with me; I am available for hire.