Sharing an Office and Launching Gofivo.com
Not every team would relish having their client hunker down in the same office for the duration of a project. A healthy dose of distance and separation is often beneficial, but perhaps less so when it comes to start-ups. Short timelines, evolving requirements and "phase 1"-types of funding are less daunting when you reduce the distance for decisions and collaboration. A new Viget client, Gofivo, recently reinforced the value of this approach. The two entrepreneurs behind the start-up, Craig Carey and Jon DeYoung, sat within shouting distance of much of Viget's team during the three-month effort to design and build gofivo.com.
In a nutshell, the Ruby on Rails application provides local businesses a new way to connect with their customers by way of swift, targeted offers. As anyone knows, the "deal space" is incredibly crowded, turbulent and very much maturing. During the course of work, even, much of the landscape changed, as did Gofivo's original business plan (all for the better, mind you). Being able to walk down the hall and ask, "Hey guys, what did you think of that latest article?" was incredibly valuable to shaping the product's direction.
Despite routinely seeing the guys in the kitchen or their ability peek over the partition at the latest design comps, we were able to maintain productive boundaries within our process, which allowed the team to really focus and do their work. Most clients wouldn't be able to resist the urge to reflexively ask about progress if passing the UX lead in the hall.
The benefit wasn't all Viget's, however. While the client had a great idea, there was ample opportunity for Viget to educate them on the latest web technology and methods, not to mention sound start-up practices, given Viget's deep history working with emerging companies. Impromptu conversations weren't just about the project work at hand; they spanned other useful areas and topics germane to a start-up. If you can find the right opportunity and client, the intrinsic osmosis born of sharing a workspace is incredibly valuable to the teams and outcome.