In the world of development, you need a range of different people and roles, to ensure everything goes to plan. All of our projects are guided and nurtured by a fastiduous project manager – someone who sees the whole picture, can assign priorities, and make snappy decisions to ensure efforts are kept efficient (both in terms of time and budget).
Luckily, we’ve managed to land a brilliant addition to our team who will be helping us do exactly these things, in the form of Simone, our new Junior Project Manager.
With a background in both account and project management, coupled with boundless enthusiasm, we’re confident that she’s going to make a positive impact on both our current and future endeavours. In Simone’s own words, she’s already ‘genuinely loving every second’ 🙂
We’re delighted to welcome you, Simone!
We’re on a roll, as we now introduce you to another new team mate, Dewang.
Dewang joined the Oval team last week, bringing with him some solid commercial application development skills. Adept in .NET, and Angular – amongst other things – he’ll be adding his expertise to one of our key projects, working with the client in developing a digital platform that seeks to improve the lives of those in fragile and conflicted countries.
Once again, we’re making full use of online platforms to get to know him (and vice versa!), and to provide a good insight into our work. Accept our big Oval welcome, Dewang, we’re delighted to have you on board 🙂
If you’re here, reading this, you probably already know that we’re in the business of software development. No ordinary software development, of course; bespoke software development.
We develop all sorts of software, in all sorts of coding languages, across all sorts of sectors.
Sounds frightfully generic, doesn’t it? Why don’t we back one horse, and just specialise?
There are many specialist software developers in this rich and diverse world who focus specifically on one technology: one framework or one coding language. For example, there are companies just doing Laravel, just doing .NET, or just doing Ruby on Rails. There are very successful businesses focused exclusively on AWS, or even just on WordPress. They have a much easier job of marketing themselves than we do. Arguably, it’s easier for potential clients to rule them in or rule them out. If you’ve decided to build, say, a Ruby application and you find a supplier who says ‘we’re so into Ruby that we only do Ruby’, then you’ll immediately get the sense they’re a good fit.
But here’s the thing: software development isn’t that simple. It’s actually a bit of a web, as you might expect. So, any single project will very often call for a whole range of disparate – but interconnected – skills and technologies.
No technology is an island.
Your application developer will need to be adept at understanding how to engineer a great front-end experience for your users. They will also need the experience to create comprehensive and robust database architecture. They will need to know how to build – or at least use – APIs to connect your applications, and enable them to share data. Their knowledge of hosting options, resilience and security must stand up to close scrutiny. Make no mistake though, you don’t need a jack of all trades, but you do need a digital partner that has mastered a curated handful of core trades.
So, yes, we DO specialise! We specialise in carefully selecting and implementing the right blend of technologies and techniques to deliver your solution. All of which allows you and your teams to be more productive, by using the right digital tools. Still scratching your head about it all, and whether you really need to go down this route? Then drop us a line and we can help you decide.
And finally, if you’re thinking about diving into commissioning any kind of browser-based business system, you might want to check out our simple guide to bespoke systems versus off-the-shelf-systems.
We’re delighted to extend a very warm welcome to a new developer in our midst, Niall.
Niall will be joining the Oval team, to help us continue the ambitious growth and improvement plan we have for our successful AwardStage platform, as well as getting stuck in to a number of meaty Oval projects.
Despite these challenging times, we have successfully navigated the recruitment process remotely, and (poor) Niall is now embarking on a series of (lots of) web meetings to bring him up to speed with how each of our projects works from a technical point of view. With an impressive track record in both front and back end development, we’re super excited to see the expertise he will bring to the team – and we know that our clients will see the benefits too 🙂
As we all know, a large proportion of the workforce is now into the swing of getting their job done at home. For many, this won’t be anything new and, for others, it could be a whole different way of life – particularly if you’re throwing other factors into the mix, such as home schooling, or caring for vulnerable relatives. Either way, nothing is normal at the moment. Staying at home is no longer a choice, but a moral obligation, and that – alongside all the other factors – can have a massive impact on our overall wellbeing, both mental and physical. We’ve put our heads together to come up with our top ‘self care’ tips to help keep things a little more in balance.
1. Keep checking in with your team
This one is particularly poignant if you’re more used to working within yelling distance of your colleagues. Keep those regular team meetings in the diary, and use one of the many web tools available to retain the structure that you use in the office.
2. Stay social
Related to point 1 above; if you hang out and chat at work in the comfy seating area, the kitchen, or at the water cooler, then you’ll want to (or even need to) do the same when you’re working remotely. Schedule virtual tea breaks to shoot the breeze. Set up a WhatsApp group or a Slack channel. Just keep talking, and retaining that sense of team spirit (read ‘banter’!!).
3. Don’t leave anyone out
It might sound obvious, but ensure the whole team knows about points 1 and 2 – when and where everything’s being held. There will naturally be differing levels of sociability amongst you, but everyone will benefit from seeing and hearing from people.
4. Show your face, when you can
One thing we’ve really noticed that makes a positive difference, is switching on those webcams, and actually seeing people. A voice call will suffice if that’s all that’s available, but the connection (and the benefits reaped from that) is made much stronger when we can involve sight and sound.
5. Compare coping strategies
If you’re running out of things to do (or your kids are), swap ideas with your colleagues. Found a great online art workshop recently? Share the link. Discovered an awesome free fitness app? Refer a friend. Having said that, it can also be strangely comforting to compare mundanities too – you are not alone in your boredom, anxieties, and potential cabin fever.
6. Switch up your workplace
You may not have the luxury of a home office but, even if you do, swap your scenery from time to time. Work from the sofa for an hour if you’re usually at the kitchen table. Hell, be luxurious and base yourself in bed for a morning (although perhaps not advisable for video calls!). Either way, a change is as good as a holiday, and it’ll help keep things a bit more interesting.
7. Don’t forget to move
We’re always told we should do this, even if we’re usually based in an office, and the same holds true for when you’re working from home. Make sure you take regular breaks to stretch, walk around, go into the garden if you have one. Sitting still for too long in one place won’t do anything to help your motivation levels, or your spine alignment.
8. Try and stick to a routine
We never quite get over being babies in this respect; most humans work best when there’s some kind of routine in place. It’s WAY too easy to float back towards your laptop after your working day is done, when it’s sitting in your kitchen/living room/home office – don’t do it. Try and stick to your usual core hours (albeit you may need to build in a bit of float if other things – in my case, children! – take up some of your attention during the day). Equally, it can be helpful to try and draw some distinction between things like what you wear on working and non-working days; mentally, your mindset is likely to subconsciously shift from one to the other too.
We’d love to hear what you’ve discovered that works for you along the way, so please do drop us a line and let us know! It could be productivity related, or simply that you’ve discovered an awesome new board game…tell us about it!