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5 Things I’ve Learned as a Remote PM

It’s been almost two years since I became the first dedicated Project Manager at The Phuse, so I figured it was time to take a moment to reflect back on my experiences and share what I’ve learned with you about being a remote PM. 1. Cut out the middle man No one likes being the…

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Lessons From Our First Team Retreat

Being a remote team, Phusers don’t often get to see each other in the physical world. At the end of June, about half our team (James, Matt, Murray, Kelley, Jonathan and myself) flew out to the Mayan Riviera in Mexico for Project Minga—a Swahili word meaning “rally for the good.” And rally we did! For…

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How to Give Good Design Feedback

Giving design feedback can be hard, especially if you’re not a designer. As a non-designer on a design and development team, this is a challenge I face every time I have to assess my colleagues’ work. (And my lack of expertise is always obvious, with comments like: “I dig it!” or “Can we do something…

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The 5 Pillars of Awesome Team Culture

On Monday, we led a core conversation at South by Southwest Interactive called “How to Create Awesome Culture in Remote Teams.” It went well—we filled the room!—so if you were there, thanks for coming! If you missed it, here’s an overview of what Matt and James talked about. Due to technical difficulties, our footage from…

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Creative Perks for Small Businesses

When Buffer released how much they pay their staff  a couple months ago, I got a little nervous. Other than the fact that I make half of what Joel (their CEO) makes every year, they hire staff for positions similar to ours and pay them $12,000 – $20,000/year more than we do. We don’t make…

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Why we have a Client Guide

I hate assumptions. We all do, yet we’re always making them. Assumptions are especially widespread in tech agencies, where too many of us assume our clients always know everything about what we do. At The Phuse, we do everything we can to avoid assumptions. So we made a Client Guide—previously known as our Client Handbook—to…

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Lessons in Transparency

The tech industry is huge. Our team and our clients have no shortage of design agencies to choose from. There’s incredible competition between companies to offer more benefits and higher salaries, but also reduce rates to a level that can’t afford the best people. To truly set yourself apart in our industry, you have to…

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What We’ve Planned for 2014

2013 was a big year for us. We invested in community and culture by—ahem—hiring me. We documented our processes and came up with ways to keep improving them. We’ve added quarterly goals and incentives, plus new bonuses for healthy living, home office, and education. We raised our rates a little so we can keep growing…

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Designer Attitudes That Ruin Client Relationships

As designers, we shouldn’t be so quick blame our clients when things don’t work. When taxi drivers take a wrong turn, they don’t blame their passengers—they defer to their own knowledge and make informed decisions, preventing wrong turns all-together. Yet too often we see designers—and even industry thought leaders—mocking client requests. For example: “Can you…

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