Want to know what it’s like to be part of the team at Mashbo? Frontend dev, Callum Mubery talks projects, processes and sausage rolls.
So, tell us who you are and what you do at Mashbo!
My name is Callum Mubery and I’m the frontend developer at Mashbo. That means I'm the bridge between the design and what you see on the browser - I write the code that displays the design and functionality.
I’ve been at Mashbo for two years now and despite the past year being unusual, to say the least, it’s been pretty good. Prior to joining the team, I worked at another agency that only delivered Wordpress sites. The process and atmosphere there was completely different - relentless and disorganised with little support available and there was no variety in the work. It was the opportunity to work on different things, more digital products than just standard websites, that attracted me to Mashbo, but the whole process and working environment here is different - still busy and challenging, but collaborative and supportive too.
Describe a typical day at Mashbo…
Who can describe a typical day anymore? We don’t have loads of daily meetings, just a main Monday morning catch up where we go through projects, work out what meetings need to happen and then we just get on with it.
The team works across all projects in the business, but sometimes you’ll only be brought on to work on a small part, while on others you’ll be leading part or even all of a project. We manage ourselves and our own time and we all have a degree of autonomy. We work together to agree milestones and deadlines and then it's on you to get your work done in whatever way you see fit!
That’s not to say you’re set adrift with no support. There’s just no micromanaging. You’re trusted to do the things you’ve agreed to do, but if you need anything, all it takes is a Slack message to arrange a call and one of the directors will be available to talk through any challenges.
What are you working on at the moment?
There’s a few projects I’m currently focusing on, the latest being an internal Mashbo's project, which I can’t say much about yet, but it’s a fun, consumer-facing project that’s quite different to some of the more corporate/business-focused projects we deliver.
The other key project for me is WorkPal, which is HR software that is used by organisations like the NHS to manage employee appraisals. It’s basically a way to automate and streamline WorkPal’s annual appraisal process to make it easier, faster and more seamless for its clients. It’s a bit less glamorous, but feels good to know we’re reducing the time employees and employers need to spend on what can be quite an admin-heavy process.
What's the best thing about working at Mashbo?
If I had to choose one, it would probably be directors who are receptive to our ideas and input. It used to be Gavin’s trips to Greggs but COVID stole them from us!
There is so much positive about working for Mashbo though. For one, the directors understand and respect the value of developers time. In past jobs I’ve been told a project HAS to be delivered in days, when I know the job should take weeks to do right. I’ve been given high-end briefs that have been allocated a tiny budget. None of that allows you to do your best work.
Mashbo doesn’t cut corners. When devs tell directors that a piece of work will take 10 weeks rather than 2 weeks and explain why, they are brilliant at listening. Of course they challenge you, ask questions to see if there are faster or smarter ways to do something, but ultimately they take our input on board, price the job accordingly and manage client expectations on delivery times, which means we get the time we need to do the work properly and deliver really good products.
How has the team stayed connected over the past 12 months of remote working?
It's actually been really easy. The company was more-or-less set up for remote working, so the switch over was quite quick. The likes of Slack, Zoom and Google Hangouts make communication very easy. If we have anything to discuss or just feel like a chat, we just start up a video call.
How do you make a positive difference through your work at Mashbo?
I think just doing the work to the best of my ability on the projects we have makes an impact in itself. A lot of our projects are connected to charitable causes, like the Hub of Hope, which is a service that makes getting access to mental health support easier than ever. Stuff like that, which might actually directly help someone always feels like it’s making a positive difference.
But I feel you can make a difference through the more corporate stuff too. Improving processes and systems might give an employee an hour or two of their day back, so they can get home on time to have tea with their family, or have time to work on personal development. It can help businesses grow and expand, creating more jobs. It all has an impact.
Mashbo prides itself on pushing boundaries in its work - what's the next big tech development you think clients/prospects should be thinking about?
I think clients and people we might work with need to think about what “big tech development” actually means. So many are focused on big shiny tech, when it’s the smaller changes that can be really transformational, which is something we’ve looked at in Mashbo’s latest whitepaper report, Digitalise to Thrive.
I think they should be looking at what they have now and thinking about how it can be improved or enhanced over the next five years, which is what is happening with WorkPal. We have created something, tested it and now it can be innovated upon.
Breaking boundaries isn’t about creating the next Monzo or Google, it can be more subtle than that. Finding a quicker or better way to do something using technology can sometimes give you the edge over your competitors. Process automation isn’t very rock’n’roll for example, but it can wildly improve day-to-day working. Breaking boundaries isn’t all about the big shiny things, it can be the simple things too.
If you could work on any tech project, what would it be and why?
It's hard to say. It's a pleasure to work on anything that has a cause, something that's not just about making a profit. If I had to talk from a technical perspective, I'm a believer in making whatever project you work on something you can be proud of... and not having to support Internet Explorer is always a huge plus.
Mashbo 'builds things people use' - If you could build anything - that doesn't exist currently - that would make your life easier/more fun/better - what would it be?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I find it much easier to look at other people’s challenges, problems or ideas and come up with a way to build something people can actually use. I regularly have ideas that would make my life easier but I’ll either build it (because I genuinely need it) or forget it (because it was probably a bit daft).
Could you be Callum’s newest colleague? Mashbo is hiring a Senior PHP Symfony Engineer, find out more here.