Three years of Good Work

garrett’s headshot By Garrett, 3 Mar 2017

Happy birthday Good Work, you’re 3.

You survived your terrible twos, you can walk, talk, and more food is ending up in your mouth than on the floor. You’re not quite running yet, but that’ll be here before you know it.

I spent the last few days thinking about where we came from, where we’re at, and where we’re going.

Year one was all about validating the idea that people will pay us enough money to keep the lights on and finding our broad focus. Making it to year two confirmed that idea, so we started to transition from project-to-project contractors to taking on a few full time employees. We tightened our focus a little more. This past year was all about getting things organized, delegated and really narrowing our focus. Year 1. Validate, 2. Commit, 3. Narrow. 4. Not sure yet.

Jaime took over scheduling and “air traffic control” in March. When a project comes in, she onboards it into Accounting, Trello, Harvest, Forecast, etc. We wrote more about our project onboarding process back in March 2016 in our first attempt to automate it.

In April our dear Covington went out and bought himself a coffee shop, so we spent a few months as a team of three again. We took 3 long months to find his replacement, but instead, we found two that were well worth the wait.

In May we started our “monthly” Hackdays.

Steve joined the team at the beginning of August and Gavin started at the end. And then we were a team of five. We were now a full team encompassing design (Gavin), front-end development (everyone, especially Boots!) and back-end development (Steve) — yeehaw.

Shortly after Steve and Gavin joined, Chris took on the role of Development Director. This was inevitable, and behind the scenes already true, but we made it official.

We launched our first Craft CMS plugin, Donkeytail — a product of Chris’s brain. This was a huge feat. Launching internal projects as a client services agency is hard, and we did it. Big pats on the back ensued.

Over the last few years, our work with design agencies has steadily grown to the point that it’s now the majority of our business. We work with about a dozen design agencies here in Dallas, and a handful more across the US and UK. So, in the Fall we put our foot in the sand and said that’s all we’re going to do. We’re a development partner for agencies. It’s funny, once we said that out loud, what needed to be done became a lot more clear.

If you’ve ever read The Win Without Pitching Manifesto, Blair Enns speaks about this exactly. Narrow your focus and it all becomes more clear. Easier said than done, especially in the beginning, but as soon as we decided that what we do is simply “help design agencies build things for web and mobile”, it finally made sense. Narrowing in year one would have felt like a giant cut in opportunity. Now it feels like a giant leap in opportunity.

Once this was all said and done, I couldn’t get an updated Good Work website launched fast enough. Team Good Work was head down in client work for months, so I brought (best) friends Phil Swan and Christoph Rauscher in. I wrote the copy and attempted to communicate a vision, and voila: a new The new us.

Year three ended with a trip over the pond to England. We spent a week with the UK team (Chris, Gavin and Steve), and got to re-remember where this whole thing started, the Lace Market in Nottingham, UK. I love that town and everything about it. We’re headquartered in Dallas, but I’m 95% certain the idea of Good Work happened at The Kean’s Head over a pint of Harvest Pale with Phil.

This year I’m looking forward to where our newfound focus takes us. To serving our current partners better, bringing on new ones, and continuing to make Good Work a better place than it was the year before.

Further reading