Peter VanRysdam / Culture Noodles & Doodles / August 14th, 2014

Looking Back on a Year of 352 Noodles & Doodles

It’s hard to believe that we’ve made a year’s worth of 352 Noodles & Doodles, the (mostly) helpful video series in which 352 experts pretend that they’re on-air talent. Since we like to celebrate our wins – and Noodles & Doodles has been a big one for us – I’d like to take a few moments to look back on a year of digital tips, best practices and Nerf warfare battle tactics. You know, the important stuff. Plus bloopers, because we really were pretending about that on-air talent thing.

If you like what you see, you can check out our Noodles & Doodles archive on the blog, or visit the 352 Inc. YouTube channel for more goodness (read: any video with me in it). Enjoy!

From Project Manager to Scrum Master

Communication Tips for (Nervous) Developers

Maximizing Inefficiency

The Creative Process in An Agile Development Environment

Transcript below.

Like-What-Youve-Read

[Peter VanRysdam]: Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. Do you realize it’s been a year since we filmed the first Noodles and Doodles episode here at 352 Inc.? I do because I was there when we filmed them. It originally started out as a way to show off some tips and tricks about web design and development, but it’s turned into so much more.
We’ve had episodes on everything from Agile Best Practices to Executing the Perfect Interoffice Nerf Attack. I wanted to take some time to look back at the year in review and see some of those memorable moments. First let’s take a look back at one of our most popular videos from the year. This is one of our Scrum Masters, Jennifer Fix, talking about that transition from becoming a Scrum Master from a Project Manager. Let’s take a look. Jennifer Fix: In traditional project management, the project manager is the one leading the team. They’re in charge of the budget, they’re in charge of the schedule, they liaise with the client, and they’re the ones who are practically barking orders at their team members for the whole time. In Agile, you move to being a servant leader, with the importance being on servant. No longer are you the one in charge in a traditional way. You’re all working together as a team to make decisions, to manage the budget, to manage the timeline, and you’re all talking to the client. The wonderful thing about this is that all the onus is no longer on you. It’s on the team as a whole and your job becomes to be the team’s number one cheerleader. Peter VanRysdam: Great tips, Jennifer. I would not have thought of that. Let’s take a look now at a video from Paul Traylor, one of our designers. He has some great tips on how to talk to clients if you’re a nervous, introverted developer. Paul Traylor: The best way to gain confidence is to be over-prepared for any client meeting and it’s very easy to do. It doesn’t take long. I know that even in our fast-paced world with our fast-paced development cycles it can be difficult to find lag time from one project to the next. Sometimes the simple act of taking 5, 10, 15 minutes just to touch base with your project manager, a sales rep, perhaps a business analyst who sat in on initial sales can get you a wealth of information very quickly and can really help build your confidence because you’ll know more about the client. Also, find out what the meeting’s about. Check out their website. Check out their competitor’s website. This doesn’t have to take long, but 15 minutes well spent doing research will dramatically help boost your confidence. Be over-prepared.

Peter VanRysdam: Well said, Paul, well said. Next up is one that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s one of the first of the light-hearted series that we did and it was one that I did on how to maximize your inefficiency at work. Take a look.

You want to look busy. There’s a lot of different ways to do that. The first way, and really my favorite from my mentor, I would say, George Costanza summed it up best in Seinfeld when he talked about how looking annoyed can really help. People just assume that you’re busy. And let’s just take a real quick look at that clip.

George: Right now I sit around pretending that I’m busy.

Jerry: How do you pull that off?

George: I always look annoyed. When you look annoyed all the time, people think that you’re busy. Think about it.

Elaine: Yeah, you do. He looks very busy.

Jerry: Yeah.

George: Yeah, I know what I’m doing. Like Mr. Wilhelm gave me one of those little stress dolls. Back to work.

Peter VanRysdam: So obviously, as you can see, George looked busy. No one’s going to mess with him and we all know George actually didn’t do anything at work. My hero. One of the next things you can do is set up some automatic email. So I’m not talking about like automatic replies, but instead you want people to think you’re busy so you can actually time emails to go out in the middle of the night, 3:00 a.m., on a Saturday, on a Sunday, holidays, and so people will assume you’re working hard. Now that is deep. Truth be told, I’m actually using several of those techniques right now. In fact, I set aside the whole day just to film this recap.

Now let’s take a look at Lincoln Anderson, one of our senior designers and resident beard-growers. And he’s going to talk to you about how the creative process fits in the Agile development process. Take a look.

Lincoln Anderson: The next lesson that we learned was that we prefer flexibility and future growth over locking down a design. So if you’re a designer, you’ve experienced designing something and you love it and get to a point where the client loves it. Everyone on the team is excited. This design looks great. And then a couple of weeks later, someone comes back and says, “Hey, we need to make a change.” And so it’s frustrating to you, as you can imagine. You thought you were done with this thing and now it’s back to the drawing board. I need to make changes. And so there’s a temptation to lock down the design and say, “My design process, after everyone’s happy with it, we’re going to lock it down. I’m going to lay down the law. You can’t make any changes after this date,” and make a big deal out of it. But the reality is that in life, things change. And you need to be prepared for that.

If you are working with a client who is inquisitive and they’re researching their users and they’re finding out more about how their industry works, they’re going to have changes. They’re going to say, “Hey, I was wrong about something I told you last week. I learned more. And the design and the products would really be better if we did it differently.” So you need to be prepared to adapt to that change.

Also, think about once you’ve launched that design and the website is alive and people are using it. If you did a good job, there’s going to be more and more people using that site and more and more features are going to need to be added to it. More content. So that thing’s going to need to grow.

Peter VanRysdam: And finally, not everything always goes well when you’re dealing with experts and not professional actors. Let’s take a look at some of the best bloopers from the past year.

Geoff Wilson: Like, oh, my gosh. I forgot my line.

Jennifer Fix: Oh, that dumb truck.

Nicholas Forneris: Damn garbage.

Geoff Wilson: And today, the, okay. Once I get rolling, I’ll be fine. Just got to get rolling here.

Brittney Sheffield: Alcohol relaxes your mind.

Geoff Wilson: You see, uh, uh-oh, maybe I’m two-take Geoff.

Jennifer Fix: You’re starting?

Nicholas Forneris: I thought you were saying . . .

Jennifer Fix: You say your name.

Nicholas Forneris: Oh, I introduce myself.

Jennifer Fix: I say my name.

Geoff Wilson: So gosh.

Leo: That’s all right, Jack.

Geoff Wilson: And I believe that our approach to managing projects . . . Now the shadowing is not as good on, well, maybe it’s that one.”

Nicholas Forneris: How do I start again?

Jennifer Fix: Your name.

Brittney: I need to look at the camera.

Geoff Wilson: I just, I feel like this side of my face is dark, so
actually that would be that one.

Brittney: That’s stupid. I don’t want . . . I’m not going to
say that. Sorry. Geoff Wilson: Let me get that. I think this one, no? Yeah. Paul Traylor: Like our teepee? Jennifer Fix: Eh.

Geoff Wilson: Who hates my idea?

Brandon: So often, more, of-, more, more often than not, you’ll have
people . . .

Geoff Wilson: Why do you want to do this?

Brandon: I had that one, too.

Paul Traylor: I’m awesome. People like me.

Leo Rodrigues: Here we can see. . . Boy.

Peter VanRysdam: Great blooper reel.”

Jennifer Fix: Stay classy, San Diego.

Peter VanRysdam: Stay classy, world.

Geoff Wilson: Thank you.

Peter VanRysdam: Hilarious. Thank you so much for joining us today and in this past year, and we hope to have you along for the ride for the next year and years to come. Please, as always, look to the comment section on our blog at 352inc.com/blog. Let us know your thoughts, what topics you want to see and really join in on that conversation. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, 352 Inc. Thanks so much and we will see you for years to come.

  • Kate Griggs

    I guffawed watching Geoff worry about his shadows.

  • Chris Manning

    So that is where you were all day! I can’t believe it has already been a year since we started them. So many great videos!

    • aaronbdixon

      Make sure you check off those items Chris.

  • Mike

    Just gonna give the people what they want: http://i.imgur.com/osrSogK.gif

    • Jennifer Fix

      #Winning

    • dwasylow

      It’s…so…beautiful.

    • Robert Berris

      How on earth did I miss this? So much win here.

  • dwasylow

    I agree with Kate – best part was Geoff’s concern over lighting.