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Professional Development

From Advertising to Tech, or How I Ended Up at Tandem

Dan Sandler Director of Client Partnerships

Recently, people have been asking me; Why did you choose Tandem over other software development company? There are so many large organizations to compete with. My answer is, yes, there are several large organizations but in my opinion, they’re not any good. Most of these organizations are placing entry level consultants at your organization with no real business acumen. They’re also providing their clients with what I call a “soft solution” and no direction on future impact or ability to execute with your best interest in mind. It’s a “do this and we’ll see you later,” type of engagement.

As a business, when you’re thinking about using a consulting firm or a consultant you’ve identified something about your business or business model that is off and needs a change. Whether it be different offerings, increased sales, new strategy, streamlined operations, or better technology, somewhere in your organization you’re lacking the ability to overcome an issue on your own. Once you’ve identified that issue you’re at a point where you have two options. One, hire someone from outside that helps you to compensate your shortcomings or, two, hire a consultant or firm who has the appropriate experience based on your challenges. Simple, right? Not so much. Finding the right person or firm to help is not as easy as it seems. You want someone who understands business, your business, your clients, and your unique challenge using empathy. They need to have a strategic direction on how they get to where they got.

That said, I was in a meeting the other day with a client who said, “we want to build a piece of software that does X, Y, Z and it needs to be completed by X date. This will solve a problem we feel exists in our industry”. Hmm. Internally I’m thinking. Your industry is as old as mankind and there has never been a problem with the standard process or an identification of a need for what was proposed. As consultants, it’s our job to question to viability of said idea. It’s our job to help clients by directing them to take a step back, help them to identify the problem before they’ve identified the solution.

This in of itself is the reason I’ve chosen to be a part of Tandem. I’ve been using this analogy as of late to explain my decision. An antsy surgeon can’t wait to cut you open, but a seasoned surgeon will identify the issues and assess their options. The same goes for engineers, an inexperienced engineer just want wants to start coding while a seasoned engineer wants to learn your business, what makes it tick and what issues it may have. Therefore, unlike most dev shops, we take the time to understand our customers’ “WHY” through our Shift framework. Now, I truly believe our approach is the correct strategic play for most organizations and I hope it can help guide you.

What is our Shift Workshop?

Shift is our problem-solving framework. Whether it be a new product, process automation, or internal line of business application; it’s how we look at your business case and arrive at a desirable, viable, and feasible solution. The workshop follows three simple guiding principles: Question, Solve, & Build. Under each of those principles, we’ll dive deep into your organization to develop an appropriate outcome.

What does Shift look like?

  • Question:
    • Recon & Explore – This is where we take a foundational look at your business. From economics, the market & trends, and your values/mission. We start by exploring the surface area and landscape of your proposed problem through conducting user research, field visits, interviews, and competitive analysis.
  • Solve:
    • Understand & Focus – Our next phase is where we synthesize the research and exploration. The idea here is to create a common understanding of the problem, personas involved, success criteria, and constraints. It’s all about narrowing our focus from brainstorming to crystallized ideas. Here, we’re mapping out the user journeys, feasibility, and begin to build and discuss a product roadmap.
  • Build:
    • Validate & Plan – The final principle allows us to verify we’re on the right track. Through wireframes, storyboards, paper prototyping, and user testing; this ensures the viability of the idea. It’s all about working out logistics, selecting technologies, estimation, and budgeting, identifying ideal staff, and organizing the project process.

Shift was designed to help guide our clients to what’s right for their business. It allows us to not simply CUT first like the inexperienced surgeon but to understand what’s best for your business. And remember, it’s not always building that new and shiny piece of technology. Sometimes it’s a shift in your direction.

Let’s do something great together

We do our best work in close collaboration with our clients. Let’s find some time for you to chat with a member of our team.

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