Here’s our own Harriet Horsbrough, providing an insight into what it’s really like to be a Producer at a digital product agency.
Can you start by telling us about yourself and your role within the agency?
I joined Code straight from uni and have been here for two years now. We work in small cross disciplined teams that are responsible for a set of clients products and relationships; the team I’m a part of looks after: Hillarys, Water Plus, Transpennine Express and Hull Trains.
My role means I work really closely with our clients to understanding the problems they want to solve, so as a team we can deliver new and improving products all the time. A key part of my role is scoping ideas and improvements with our clients and then managing them through the team.
Could you describe a typical day in the office?
Every day’s different, but mornings tend to be quite routine. Three days a week, we have an agency stand up, which is a chance for one representative from each team to give a status update on the work that is inflight at the moment. We also have our team stand-up every morning; that’s a chance for the team and client to understand the status of any work that is progressing through the board or ready to go live, as well as what’s coming up next in the backlog. Then it tends to be less structured to be honest. I’ll respond to emails; if anything has come in urgently and we need to reprioritise work, then we will do that. Most of my time is spent prioritising work with clients, ensuring there is clarity around the work that is in progress, and overseeing live releases to the client websites our team are responsible for.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was pretty lucky really; I decided to drop my original plans for uni after a change of heart and got onto my PR course through clearance. Thankfully I ended up really enjoying it. We focussed a lot on the digital side and I got the chance to do a placement year. That was an amazing experience, and I found that when I went back into final year I had a lot more focus; I knew what I enjoyed and knew the sort of role I would be looking for after uni. I got my job at Code after attending a Digital Talent Day on a whim. I remember the Code stand was right at the back of the hall and I got talking to the guys there and thought they seemed really cool, so I was chuffed when I was invited to a graduate day. That seemed to go OK, and I then got a call from Emma, a Senior Project Manager here, who told me a producer role had come up and would I be interested. Two years down the line and here I am – it’s flown.
What do you find the most challenging aspect of the job?
When I first started I found the level of technical detail quite challenging; it’s not an environment I’d ever found myself in before so felt like I was asking a million questions. But every day you learn something new, and the more you immerse yourself in the websites you’re looking after the more confident you become. Fighting for what you truly believe to be right is often a challenge too. Sometimes we may be asked to add something to a client website, but we know it’s not the right thing to do, and saying ‘no’ to clients can be tough. But it’s also very rewarding knowing you have the level of trust with your clients that makes those conversations possible, especially when we can suggest a different approach to solve a problem.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently we’re nearing the end of a redesign for Water Plus. We’ve designed and built the front end of their new website in a different way to anything I’ve ever worked on before, so that’s definitely been a challenge. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done on this product; we worked really hard to get the client on-board with the approach as it was something completely new for them too, and I would absolutely say it’s paid off. We’re also looking at launching a new version of the carpets business for Hillarys. Again, we’ve approached this in quite a new way so it’s an exciting time for the whole team!
Is there a project you are particularly proud of?
When I joined Code back in 2015 my team were just beginning to focus on rebuilding the Hillarys website responsively, and in September 2016 we were fully responsive. They’ve seen great results since completion, with mobile conversion up a huge amount and them even ranking number 1 on Google for their key search terms, so to know I played a small part in that is nice.
Do you have a favourite part of your job?
That I learn something new every day. When I started this job, I had never stepped foot in an agency before; I literally knew nothing. Now –whether it’s from a technical perspective, or a new way of doing a retro, or how to do something in Google Analytics – not only is my knowledge growing every day, but my confidence is too. I think that’s what I most enjoy. Well that, and the jar of sweets Charlotte keeps on her desk...
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