Obsession with impression, Part 1: The mode for the code

For people who are accustomed to “typical” remote work environments, joining Clevertech can be a bit of a shock. We are obsessed with client services and we do pay attention to every detail. Onboarding involves extensive training.

Recently we hired “Jack”
Jack had been working as a software developer for a while, and he was overjoyed at Clevertech, where he could focus on programming instead of spending so much of his time finding clients and doing the project management parts. At Clevertech, we were overjoyed to hire someone who had great interpersonal skills and a knack for asking the right questions before starting work. Client services is a priority, so we’re always looking for people who will listen well and make a great impression on our clients.
Into details
Within a few days, though, Jack was confused. Clevertech seemed more focused on appearances than he expected. He had expected the meetings with customers for the product launch and the “soft skills” training, but the team seemed obsessed with details. Was he wearing a pressed shirt? How was his camera quality and lighting? Was he not just listening intently, but looking like he was listening? Jack enjoyed being judged by his coding skills, not by how he looked on camera. Was he in the wrong place?
What we expect from you
Programmers are expected to get involved in the project planning stages, and even in the customer relations. Everyone is expected to show up on time and have a professional look and attitude at all times. Some people relish this type of involvement and others—well let’s just say this mindset doesn’t fit everyone.
What Jack quickly learned is that the push for excellence pervades every aspect of the company. Making a great impression on the client starts with looking good in meetings and continues through impeccable coding, rigorous testing and working with the best tooling available for programmers. He also found that the management had thought deeply about the culture, and understood well the division of labor between managers and makers.
Flowing between manager and maker
Many coders relish the time that they are in “flow”, that enviable state of complete focus on their creative work. To get into flow, most creative workers require big chunks of time set aside with no disruptions. As outlined by Paul Graham in his article about makers versus managers, the optimal “maker” schedule is completely different than the optimal “manager” schedule. Makers need hours of uninterrupted time to get into flow and keep their train of thought focused on complex or creative tasks. This flow state is one of the most enjoyable states for people in a creative process, such as programmers, writers and artists.

The opposite is true of managers. Managers have short slots of time in which they focus on reducing blockers and bottlenecks, checking for updates, and providing feedback, as we’ll be discussing in an upcoming blog. Sometimes makers and managers clash, because when a maker is in a state of flow, the last thing they want is a meeting, text, email or other disruption to their focus and flow. For these people, client services can seem like an unnecessary burden. As long as the product is delivered, the logic goes, what does it matter whether I gave an update along the way? That’s someone else’s job. Unfortunately, the client doesn’t see it that way, and neither do we at Clevertech.
What hat are you wearing?
Everyone has different roles at different moments in their day. We act differently in the role of parent or child, customer or supplier, friend or colleague. The trick is getting the balance right. Whether you are a programmer, product manager, or finance coordinator, you will have some interactions with clients. In those interactions, you are always wearing the “client services” hat. Whether it’s about delivering a product or delivering an invoice makes no difference.
Everyone has different roles at different moments in their day. The trick is getting the balance right.
Maintaining high standards
The team had clarity about the work needed and the time frame, and the client trusted them to deliver. The obvious result was that getting into flow was even easier, because all of the details were handled up front. Also, the project manager was responsive and quickly provided resources and handled any issues that came up internally.

The commitment to high standards, fast response, and impeccable service aren’t just for the clients, he discovered. The Clevertech staff treated one another with the same courtesy, deep listening, and care.   

The care, integrity and trust that Jack experienced are all part of the Clevertech paradigm of the perfect host, which we cover in our next blog, Part 2 of the Obsession with Impression.

Reach out to find out more about why the top global corporations prefer Clevertech as their outsourced development team.

If you’d like to find out more about our culture and current job openings, check out our YouTube channel and visit clevertech.careers.


Want to peak into our daily work? Our coaches recount real world situations shared as learning opportunities to build soft skills. We share frameworks, podcasts and thinking tools for sr software developers.

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