We’re a team of 11 UX designers and developers that designs and builds digital products for changemakers.
We'll help in whatever ways our skills as designers and developers allow us to. Working with us is like hiring a SWAT design team to attack your problem:
- We work with startups to help them level up their product design and find traction, growth and market fit.
- We work with big corporates to help them battle the threat of disruptive startups and come up with new directions for their businesses. We use our startup savvy and design thinking skills to run rapid prototyping sprints and innovation workshops.
- We build our own products, like PingPong
- We run workshops and coaching to help other teams improve their skills with UX and remote work.
Why we're different
The traditional 'agency model' sucks. We're determined to do things differently:
- We work like a startup: we do agile sprints, pair programming and pair designing, lean UX and rapid prototyping. We’ve set up to make it as easy as possible to team up with us to add capacity to your team when you need it. We don’t do ‘outsourcing’.
- We’re radically transparent and have pretty much open-sourced our business model in our Playbook and public wiki. We hate pointless formality and inefficiency and have a very unconventional approach to the way we're building our company.
- We do remote work incredibly well. We’ve done it for a long time and we write about it constantly. It gives us access to the best designers, wherever they live. Our HQ is in London but we’re totally remote, with our team spread across Europe and Asia.
We’re a fully remote design team. We build digital products that grow and scale startups. Recently we’ve been using our startup expertise to help big businesses to innovate, explore new markets and work in a more purposeful way.
We operate as a social business (similar to a B-Corp). We believe that design has the power to amplify and accelerate the good that socially motivated entrepreneurs are doing. Now we’re actively looking to invest our time and use our design skills to help them solve major problems related to the environment, education and healthcare.
So what does being a social business entail?
- We are ceasing to be a profit-maximising company. We define success not in terms of profits, but in the progress we make towards solving social problems.
- But we are not a charity. We are financially self-sustainable and don’t rely on grants and donations
- We don’t deliver dividends and returns to investors or shareholders. Money is paid to our team in return for the work they do for the company. Any remaining profit is reinvested in the business itself or in the social startups we help, with the aim of increasing social impact.
In addition to being a social business ourselves, our goal is to accelerate other social businesses and startups. We aim to enable and multiply social good by others, in order to make the biggest impact possible.
How We Operate
Flat and Open
Our company is a transparent one—every core team-member has full visibility of company finances and cashflow, via periodic team-wide updates, and weekly billing updates. Salaries and pay are also visible to the whole team and each shipmate chooses his/her salary.
Joining the client’s team
We are a remote team—to be a high-performing member of this team, you need to be an excellent communicator.
We don’t see a place for the old-school ‘design agency’ in today’s world—times have changed.
We are unusually hands-on with our clients. The goal on every project is to fit together seamlessly with the client’s team, to collaborate, teach, and work towards shared goals. That includes onboarding our client on our project’s team IM conversations in Slack.
The workday for a shipmate at Hanno is 8 working hours—while in rare situations it may be a little longer, this is the goal we hold ourselves to. If any shipmate is consistently working longer than this, that indicates that there’s a problem to be resolved.
As a team, we are highly productive and invest heavily in tools to allow us to be this way. Our philosophy is always that the number of hours worked has no correlation with the quality of work produced.
When working on a project sprint, the amount of time that will be spent on client work will be up to 7 hours (lunch break not included) in a day. The remaining hour in the day goes towards off-sprint work such as internal reviews, research, planning and internal work, all of which allows us to deliver better results when we’re on a sprint.
We work on client sprints from Monday to Friday. Since the team and clients are entirely remote, we don’t stop client work on public holidays. Although it’s rare for us to work over Christmas and New Year.
Full-time shipmates make their own decisions about how much holiday they’d like to take. We try to make sure that everyone takes at least 35 days a year.
We use Slack for internal chatter, including marketing discussion, and general chat between shipmates.
We are huge fans of Asana and use it to manage the majority of on-project internal discussions, and anything that requires a task to be completed. We also keep open an internal Basecamp project called Hanno Team News, into which the team posts occasional discussions, and also financial updates and planning.
We have an internal rule: default to Asana. It’s very rare for anyone on the team to email each other.
As for the tools we use for each project—that really depends on the project. We’ll often use Asana to run projects, but if the client has a defined workflow and we need to integrate into it, we’ll switch from anything from GitHub issues, to apps such as JIRA.
We are huge fans of Google Docs. If written communication is not in Asana, it will be in a Google Doc. If we find ourselves writing a long message in Basecamp, we stop, turn it into a Google Doc, and send that link via a Basecamp message or an Asana task.
Internal calls usually happen over Skype—we feel the audio quality is better than Google Hangouts. They are always video calls.
While we understand the need of everyone in the team to be able to hit deep focus, we also believe that teams build better products together than any one person can by themselves. To accomplish this, we make sure that regular team calls are a built in part of every workday.
We have a heavy emphasis on spontaneous pairing within our team, particularly when it’s between people with different skills. This means that designers and developers will often pair to overcome a problem, and daily pairing is strongly encouraged. It helps build up skills within the team, improves code quality, and keeps communication strong on projects. We also feel that it leads to better results because team members can collaborate with each other.
We use Screenhero lots for internal pairing sessions, and also frequently pair on Google Docs.