Working through the Coronavirus pandemic

By Tobin Harris, March 21, 2020

Managing Director at Pocketworks, app development specialists.

Happening At Pocketworks 


UPDATED 20th Jun 2020

This short FAQ should help you work with us during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since we're in Phase 3 and the world is slowly returning back to the new normal, we thought it might be useful to give you a short FAQ about how we're working right now.

Are you available for meetings in the Leeds office?

Yes. Although most of us are working from home, Tobin is happy to meet clients if they're comfortable with it. Other staff might be, but I hope you understand that we're not expecting them to. We could check on a case-by-case basis. If you're open to it, we'd rather we have an outside meeting rather than being in the meeting room. 

Do you still do weekly product reviews and demos?

Yes. Your weekly product reviews and demos will be conducted over Zoom or Google Meet. We'll show videos of your software or send builds to your devices as usual. Our clients in London and the South will know that we do this regularly and it works smoothly. We'll continue to call and Slack for ad-hoc questions and interim updates.

Can you run discovery workshops?

Yes. We are continuing to offer workshops over Zoom or Hangouts. You'll also get an invite to a Miro, which is the best collaborative virtual whiteboard we've found. It supports sticky notes and sketches for interactivity.

We anticipate workshops may not be as seamless as our face-to-face workshops. However, we can assure the critical bits will all be there;  presenting research findings, identifying project risks, working up ideas and making decisions together. 

Do you still run focus groups and user interviews?

We'll continue to offer user research services. User interviews will be done remotely. Previously about 70% of our user interviews were done this way, so we don't anticipate it being a problem. 

We're doing focus groups over Google Meet, which is working well. Running interactive tasks isn't so easy, but we're still getting good value from the sessions.

We won't be doing any "day-in-the-life" or field studies for obvious reasons. 

Does this affect my app design or web development project?

Nope. Our team will continue to design and develop your digital products as usual, except our internal standups and planning sessions will be done over the wires. We use great cloud tools for app design, hosting and continuous integration, so we don't see there being any disruption to the design and development of your product.

The most important part of developing digital products is communication between everyone involved. We're keeping an eye on this in our weekly retros. Some people thrive off face to face communication and there are advantages to having everyone in the same room. Please be assured we're doing what we can to develop healthy remote communication habits. For example, we're about to trial a "whole-company" virtual standup, and encouraging people to video-chat rather than just Slack each other.

What about quality assurance?

Poonam has mobile devices at home to ensure she can test across a wide range of devices. We are investing in cloud-based device farms to help fill in any gaps. The goal is to offer the same test coverage we could achieve in our own offices. 

We'll continue to use tools such as BrowserStack for web-app and PWA testing.

Hosting and support

The main change to our support is that we won't be able to do on-site visits to troubleshoot issues. We're encouraging clients to send videos and slightly more detailed bug reports to compensate. We are still offering support packages over UK business hours and also for 24/7/365 clients. 

We'll continue to do server health checks and security patches for customers with web applications.

Finally

We know it's tough times for business at the moment. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you need flexibility or help. We wish you good health and good luck over the coming months.

Best wishes

Tobin and the Pocketworks Team

Chat with Tobin

If you'd like to discuss this topic or anything else, drop me a line. The best way is to contact Pocketworks and arrange a chat over a coffee, Zoom or phone.


About Pocketworks

Pocketworks believes that software should lighten the load and make life easier for people. We're a digital product studio. We can help your create human-centered apps and websites that grow your customer base and increase efficiency.
Learn more.