In November 2019 Team Wuppertal came together as a whole – Twork and agency – and worked out what our culture, the "Pinetco culture“, is actually all about. Because in a way we all had the feeling that we know what it is. But we had a need to put this feeling into words and images everyone can understand – and learn. For new colleagues, for people outside of Pinetco and for ourselves.
One of the products of this day was this graphic. It shows a balance of values that can only work in co-existence and are also co-dependent. Trust. Freedom. Ownership. Happiness.
And we marked the sentence: Give trust, respond with ownership.
In these past few weeks, I experienced these values and especially this sentence in action, and saw how we as a team not only say but really live these things.
About six weeks ago Tim approached me with a new app project. I’m neither a developer nor did I ever supervise the development of an app. I had no idea what is necessary to do in order to put a vague idea into an operable app that can be downloaded in the App Store and the Play Store. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know (that’s the worst). But I was soon to find out.
Why? Because Tim trusted me and I felt the responsibility to live up to this trust. I took ownership.
It was a very time-critical project as a whole since the client took very long to sign the contract but had to hit an important, uncompromising deadline on June 16th. So every step of the way had to be on point.
Before we could start developing we needed a design. Since Frauke, our main designer, was on her sabbatical at that time, it was up to Naventhan to design the whole app and live up to the high standards our client was expecting. Within a couple of days, he had to deliver a flawless, modern, recognizable design the client would instantly love. And I had barely any time to review it and provide feedback.
What happened eventually? I completely trusted Naventhan and he totally lived up to my and especially to the client’s expectations. On the day of the presentation of the design to the client, Naventhan couldn’t attend, so I presented a flawless PDF to the client I had NEVER seen before. I had complete confidence that what Naventhan provided would be good and even better. Because I knew he would respond with ownership to my trust.
The result: The client loved it from the very start. We made some little tweaks and could nearly instantly start with the coding.
In the development of the app, the balance of trust and ownership continued. I blindly trusted Team Surat that they would do anything necessary to bring this app live in time. I simultaneously felt the responsibility to provide everything they might need to achieve this goal and felt the trust they had in me in doing so. And oh boy, did they deliver.
Nitin, Vishal, and Ravi ground day and night, 7 days a week to bring this baby live. Often they had a speed I could hardly keep up with myself. And they definitely helped me stay calm in this project.
Because not everything went so smoothly. Tons of problems and challenges turned up that I had never anticipated and that seemed to put our deadline in danger. At times I felt lost, hopeless, maybe even slightly desperate for mistakes or wrong decisions I made in this project – for a lack of knowledge. But I learned each and every time. And this made even failing feel good.
Sometimes trust is not enough. Sometimes you can’t own everything and taking responsibility doesn’t prevent you from making mistakes. That’s for example how we overlooked that we need a multi-language feature for this app.
I trusted Tim when he said that we only need it in German and failed to look into our offer myself to make sure. So when the client asked where the translation was, I had a little shock at first.
But you know what? It was completely arbitrary. Because we (and by „we“ I mean Team Surat even more than myself) had the „let’s make it possible“ mentality. Don’t think in problems, think in solutions.
Just a couple of hours later we had a translation feature for the whole app up and running.
Time kept being our biggest enemy in this project. The client finally wanted to see a first version of the app, but we had still some bugs to fix. Having other projects on my desk I didn’t have the time to check all the changes we made. But if the team said they fixed all the issues we discussed earlier I knew I could trust them – and send the first version to our client unseen by me.
Why? Because each and every one of us not only had the ambition to do the best job he or she could do. All of us worked together (that means together with the client, too) for the bigger picture here – for an app that would not only make our client but our client’s clients happy. Every single team member took extreme ownership of the situation and that’s what eventually made for a wonderful product that left our client, his CEOs, and his whole team more than satisfied. Our goal was not only to be successful as a developing team or as an agency – but together with our client.
The client put his trust in us to develop this app according to his needs in time. We as a team took full ownership of this expectation and delivered. This was only possible due to the amount of trust and responsibility every single one of us felt. Not a single time did I feel upset or let down in any way – and I hope I didn’t make anyone else feel that way, either.
Creating apps isn’t my personal calling and it probably isn’t what any of us were meant to do our whole lives, either. But working together with a team that has each other’s back like that feels like exactly the thing you were meant to do. If you create the right environment and share the same values then what you do is no longer all that important but how you do it and who you do it with.
I’m glad and – and this is a very rare and usually uncommon feeling for me – proud to be part of this amazing team that I am thankful for every single day. You guys make me forget that this is „just a job“. Thank you!
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