June 30th, 2014

Teams @ P'unk

Matt Coppola

At P’unk Ave we have teams.  The teams are designed to handle client projects from start to finish, and each member contributes their expertise at every stage.  This means designers get to work with the developers in the design stage and vise versa.  Beyond the walls of P’unk, it also means that the whole team makes an effort to know the client for the entire duration of the project.  With projects lasting anywhere from months to years, these relationships ultimately foster a kind of project family between the team and the client, helping us gain consensus and do purpose driven work.

My team right now, the, is a pretty cool team of four cool guys.  The other Matt does design, Joel does user experience and development, Kyle is a developer, and so am I.  Occasionally, we’ll also bring another P’unk into the mix for additional support on research, user experience, or whatever we need at the time.  With or without another pinch-hitting P’unk, a lot of our work depends on the team’s ability to communicate efficiently and align ourselves together.  

But communication is a tricky thing, and apparently its worse if you’re a nerd.  Unfortunately for P’unk, we’ve got a lot of nerds here and our teams need to communicate.  Full disclosure, I don’t know that these are intentionally related, but its not hard to notice that we give ourselves plenty of occasions to interact with each other.  Every week as a company we do monday breakfasts, friday lunches, birthdays, “P’unkiversaries”, world cup soccer, and we pretty much take any occasion to enjoy a moment together.  Rachel has already observed this culture a lot better than I can, but what I’ve noticed in my own team is how these social habits can give a nerd better ideas.

"This argument fixes its attention on the forms of human conversation, and postulates that how we are obliged to conduct such conversation will have the strongest possible influence on what ideas we can conveniently express. And what ideas are convenient to express inevitably become the important content of a culture." - Neil Postman: Amusing Ourselves to Death

The P’unk prerogative to share experiences creates a better team of problem solvers.  To get through the toughest problems of any project, we share the problem and solve it as a team.  But as my own team member said before “As obvious as it sounds, working in a team environment requires the ability to work as a team.”  This is especially hard when working with people of different backgrounds and areas of expertise.

With all the frequent interaction at P’unk, I think the social exercise has raised our ability to communicate often difficult and abstract technical concepts to each other.  But perhaps most importantly, where it is convenient to express a difficult idea, one is conditioned to further generate other difficult ideas.  For myself, I am not sure that there is a workspace quality more valuable than this.