We believe that responsible, client-centered engagement results in high-quality products that people are happy with.
Client-centered engagement means that the client is at the center of and drives the process. It is a concept I borrowed from therapy, as I was a social worker in my previous career and it describes how we work at Salty Dog.
Too often a conversation is just one person waiting until the other stops talking so that they can talk. At Salty Dog Technology, we work hard at listening and understanding. We want to hear your ideas and we want you to know that we see the project the same way that you do. Listening may take the form of a phone conversation, a face-to-face meeting, or an email. Whatever the format, for the duration of the conversation, you are the sole focus. We reflect back what we hear so that you have a chance to clarify your statements.
Have you ever left a conversation where both people are saying the same thing, but later you find out that you both understood something different? Imagine that you and a friend agree to go see a movie. You’re thinking of something with lots of explosions but they’re planning to see a comedy. You don’t realize that you left the conversation with different expectations. We call this “false closure.”
To avoid false closure we put together outlines, draw pictures of screens, and make mock ups to depict what we heard in the conversation with you. You have the chance to consider how you would like your screens to look and make adjustments before we begin coding. We are experts at design and programming, but that means little if the product isn’t what you had wanted.
We check in with you a lot. If you call us and want to talk about your project, we will make the time to listen. Your communication isn’t getting in the way of the work, it is the work. It is the best interest of the project to keep you updated with progress reports. As each portion is finished, you will be able to see and interact with it. If we encounter an unexpected roadblock, we will contact you right away and discuss possible courses of action. We will never just surprise you with a bill and a solution we made up ourselves.
Part of the Salty Dog process is to work in iterations- small chunks of work that result in the next piece of the product. Because we work iteratively, at the end of each cycle, you’ll have pages to look at and functionality to try out. You can verify it is working how you wanted and make any needed changes.
You get the source code at the end of each cycle. You are the owner of your code, it gets in your hands at stage of the project. Your project shouldn’t be a mystery to you. We’ve all seen the disastrous results that can occur when a contractor doesn’t show or deliver the product until the very end, or worse, never delivers despite being paid. Salty Dog Technology believes that as you pay for the code, you own it and can access it.
You are the first user that we test your product on. We want you to be happy with how it functions. We want you to see how your idea made manifest works. We will eventually test your product with other people to make sure that it is the best product it can be, but you are the first and most important tester.
You could be reading this and be thinking that you don’t actually want to talk to us that often. That’s ok, too. We work for you, and take our cues from you.
We want to build long-term relationships with our clients so that you will come back to Salty Dog the next time you have a project.
We’re listening- what would you like to tell us?