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Managing Director

4 min read

What's working with Paper really like?

Working with Paper

This article is about opening up what we do so you can get a feel for what designing a product with Paper is really like. We invited one of our clients, Steve Cheshire - Director and Product Owner, to talk to us about his recent experiences working with Paper.

He focused on three areas

  1. The environment.
  2. Collaboration.
  3. Control.

Steve, Jon and Ellen discussing the copy Steve, Jon, and Ellen discussing copy ideas

The studio environment

Steve says, - “Paper welcome you with open arms into their collaborative space. Its great to be able to use the studio to immerse yourself in your project and seeing artifacts of your project all over the walls. This approach is not only exciting but shows that Paper live and breathe your project even when you’re not around.

We were lucky enough to do some of our usability testing on site and be in the next room whilst participants played with our product. This is so much more valuable than watching a video back or reading a lengthy report.

The coffee is also great… but the Spotify playlist is questionable!”

We always try to be welcoming and approachable - you have access to our open studio, working with us through every step of the project to bounce ideas. We have seats around the main table for clients that they can use during the project, whether they are working with us or getting on with their own tasks.

There’s always good coffee, cookies, and occasionally some fruit available if you’re on a health kick. Clients are also encouraged to contribute to the Spotify playlist on the days they are in the studio - we aim to suit all music tastes!

Mark and Jon in Paper's studio Mark and Jon in Paper’s studio based in the Globe Works in Sheffield

Collaboration

Steve says, - “Paper really acted as an extension of our small project team. Through working closely together they’ve gained great understanding of our product and there’s a real feeling of us working towards a joint goal.

Following the research phase, the sketch sessions are great for bouncing around new and existing ideas quickly whilst using little resource. Some of Paper’s fresh ideas have made a prototype that is being really well received by users.”

We are very collaborative - all of our projects include sketching sessions throughout so that everyone can be a part of the design process. However, we’re not a team of ‘yes people’ - we work with you to design a prototype that is built on research with real people. We will always challenge the team to think about user needs first and not to jump to solutions too early.

Steve, Jon and Mark discussing user research Steve, Jon, and Mark discussing user research notes written up on the wall

Control

Steve says, - “We came to Paper with a strong idea of what our solution would need to do and what it would roughly look like. Paper have done a great job of challenging the solution design throughout the process whilst acknowledging that we’re the experts in our industry.

They’re well organised and self organising. The daily check in gives you a chance to check in with the project every day and the team are agile enough if the direction needs to change due to a re-prioritisation or other external factors.”

You own the direction of the product, Paper is there to give you a better understanding of how your product will meet your customer’s needs. At the earliest possible stage in every project we go and talk to real people to understand the user needs.

The Product Owner (Steve in this case) controls the prioritisation of these user needs to decide the order of work. We have a 15 minute catch up each day to discuss the order of work, and a one hour planning meeting each week.

Jon and Mark sketching ideas on the whiteboard Jon and Mark sketching ideas on the whiteboard

Result

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what it’s like to work with us. We’re open and honest about what we do and we think it’s important that our clients feel that we have dedicated ourselves and our environment to their project.

We over invest, we’re not bean counters. The project with Steve involved a lot of extra time that wasn’t budgeted for, and that’s fine because we choose to work on projects that we’re passionate about.

Our goal is to create an open, collaborative environment that puts our clients in control. The result is a better product and happier product owners.

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