As I sit down with Luc Houselander, the Head of Project Management at IE Agency, his passion for creating great digital work is palpable.
He’s wearing a collared shirt, jeans and sitting comfortably, but none of that shows his real quiet confidence in bringing digital project’s to life. One Team is the new way in which the Delivery teams will be operating within IE, and Luc has been integral to crafting the shift.
Originally from the UK, Luc has been in a vast variety of digital producer roles: from the gaming and television industries, to retail and e-commerce. A bit of a digital native, he’s been working within digital production roles for as long as it’s been possible to do so. In the bustling city of London, Luc started his journey.
“I began my career in ‘97 as a digital intern at a fledgling digital company. I was designer and developer for a while and as the projects got bigger I moved more into producer roles,” he says.
“I worked for a number of years at SEGA, the games company, where I developed an international portal for their games console at the time (Dreamcast).”
“Then I moved on to a start up, and worked a lot with big Content Management Systems (CMS) and designing CMS systems as well – all those CMS systems have since gone.”
Luc then took his digital skills, as broad as they had grown to be, and began working for a TV production company called Endemol. He created websites and games for his clients, BBC and Channel 4 predominately, based on some of the TV shows that Endemol produced.
“I was an executive producer, which involved developing digital formats based on the TV shows that we made. I had to find different ways to create online revenue from different TV brands that we owned,” he says.
“I did a lot of work with game shows; Deal or No Deal and Big Brother were a couple of them, but also developed formats for BBC cbeebies and Channel 4’s comedy team too.”
After all this experience he moved to Melbourne and found his way to IE Agency. Where the rest, they say, is history.
Since beginning at IE two years ago he’s worked across some of the agency’s biggest clients, and grown the focus on Agile methodologies through his work with Movember. Working Agile means delivering solutions in iterative ‘sprints’, where each sprint represents a new opportunity to assess the solution and collaborate with the client on how it can be improved.
This allows for the production of designs and solutions that are impossible to arrive at any other way, in Luc’s opinion.
“Getting the Movember team onto working in an agile way has been really interesting and really exciting. When I joined in 2012, the building blocks were in place with that team to go Agile, but we had not fully taken the plunge at that point. I think Movember and the team were quite keen, but the two hadn’t really matched up,” he says.
“We made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of challenges in that first year, but you could already see the way things were headed, that they were headed in a good direction. Having the client fully engaged in the Agile process really set the project and team up for success. This year we’ve ironed out a number of the kinks, helped and driven by Movember themselves fully embracing across their business too. ”
Luc has recently been an integral part of the Delivery team’s shift to a dedicated team model, entitled One Team.
“I think the thing that the One Team model gives you is the focus on delivering better quality work. If you can get that right, many other things fall into place. Many traditional agency problems start to disappear a little bit. It’s all about making teams work efficiently, reducing the kind of distractions they have and just allowing them to do good quality work,” he says.
“If your end product is something that people want to use, and something that people enjoy using, then you’ll find that clients are happy to work closely with us to make that happen.”
When asked about the benefits of working in an Agile and iterative way for Movember, Luc concluded that it’s really the only way for Movember to get the best solution.
“Working Agile just allows them to spend a bit longer formulating their ideas, and testing their ideas; reviewing things and making changes. This would be really hard to do if we were doing everything Waterfall,” he says.
“If we were doing everything in the old way, it would force Movember to make all of their key decisions very early on in the year. They would not be able to change and adapt as they move forward. It would be harder for them to get the breadth of input from across their organisation and achieve the kind of quality product that they need each year.”
By assisting in the introduction of One Team to the delivery business at IE, Luc has efficiently enabled the teams to start working Agile as well. One Team is breaking away from the traditional waterfall agency model, in the hopes of producing even better quality outcomes for our clients.
After his broad experience in many different workplaces, when asked what he likes most about working for IE, Luc had a simple answer to give.
“It’s a really fantastic group of people. There isn’t a single person here I wouldn’t happily have on my team. It’s been really good and fun times.”