Each month we're going to introduce a different member of our two professional services teams. First up is Louise Howells who manages our Coach House team.
How long have you been working at Zengenti and what were you doing before?
I've been a proud member of the Zengenti Family for over a year now, occupying the role of a professional services manager. I previously ran a web team at Shropshire Council and whilst there helped completely break the mould when creating the new shropshire.gov.uk site. I did this by taking an entirely user centred approach with the team and focused on our users needs, rather than the council's. I was also one of the original Project WIP members. We shared our methods, best practices, and mistakes on our website so others could learn from us.
The experience I gained from the 10 years that I was in local government is second to none and it has given me a first hand experience of what it is like for many of our Zengenti clients.
What does your role involve?
In my everyday role I manage a team called ‘Coach House’ which sits inside the professional services department. Working with my team, I help provide an exceptionally high quality of services to all of our clients and ensure we are meeting their needs to the best we can be. Often this involves me talking to clients directly, in person and over the phone, or providing guidance to members of my team who are communicating with clients on their projects.
Outside of client work, I am responsible for the team itself. This includes everything from planning work in fortnightly sprints to choosing what ornaments to put on the office fireplace! Of course my main objectives are to ensure the team is productive and, most importantly, happy!
Being part of a department and the bigger Zengenti picture, I also get involved with the company workflows, processes, business opportunities and ways we can be more effective as a whole. To give you some insight, this can range from ordering doormats so people have somewhere to wipe their feet, to working on a 200 page sales tender with a short deadline, or implementing a completely new workflow across multiple teams. You never get bored in this job!
What services are offered by your team?
Having a name like ‘professional services’ means that our teams cover an array of offerings which primarily sit inside the web and creative industries. Each person in my team has a unique set of skills which gives them all a little niche. This means in the Coach House team we can take a client project of any size from the drawing board all the way to launch.
To list a few of the services we offer in brief -
- Discovery - Everything you need to take your project from an idea to a fully mapped specification and wireframes ready to be designed and built.
- Design - Once some of the initial thinking has taken place in the discovery stage, its time to get creative. We have some of the most talented designers and visual coders in the country just waiting to unleash their skills on you.
- Front End Development - Taking that good looking (yet functional) concept and turning it into a working HTML, CSS and JQUERY prototype.
- Implementation - Taking the polished prototype and injecting life into it with the Contensis CMS.
- Development - Time for something a bit more complex? Once in Contensis we can look at your more complex requirements.
- Project Management - Ensuring our clients are kept in the loop and the project is on time and within budget.
- Knowledge Sharing - It’s important for us to work with the client so when required we offer training, documentation and consultation. This helps the client become self-sufficient.
Take us through a normal day for you.
During these cold winter months my morning usually starts with getting the fire going! No really, it does. Back to business and the rest of my morning begins with a stand up team scrum which also includes our project manager. This gives everyone an overview of what work was completed the previous day and what their focus is going to be for the day.
For the rest of the day? Well it really is a mixed bag most of the time. Being a professional services manager means you have to go with the flow, be reactive, and prioritise where you’re needed the most throughout the day. No day is ever the same.
Some of the more typical things I do on a daily basis include planning new work in for my team with the project manager, analysing past work and team performance to look for ways to improve, attending meetings both internally and externally, helping my team to carry out their work efficiently, assisting my manager on different projects within the company and, perhaps most importantly, keeping the team watered with copious amounts of coffee and tea! It wouldn’t be a web job without hot beverages!
How do you find working at Zengenti?
It’s a breath of fresh air. Literally.
I don't think there are many places where you can say you work in a manor house, in the middle of the countryside, with ducks, open fires and ping pong at lunch time. We're all about people and creating a culture that people thrive in. We’re not just somewhere people turn up and do their 9-5 work and go home. We’re a place where we like to think we make a difference. We want our staff to enjoy working here; after all we spend a lot of time here, so why not mix the hard work with a bit of fun? Only the other night I was here till 7pm….playing ping pong :)
You’ll also notice that we say ‘we’ and not ‘I’. That's because we’re part of the Zengenti family and that means something to the people that work here. Everyone works towards the same goals regardless of what team they’re in, providing our clients with the best products and services that we can.