Monday, August 24, 2009

Fantastical Elements

Q: Introduce us to yourself and your company.
Hi my name is Jonas Eliasson and I work as a Sr Technical Manager for Fi NYC ( which is an digital advertising firm. Fi is also the owner of the social media platform, which I have been working with for the last two years.

Q: Interactive Producers come from all walks of life, they are a hybrid of talents, tell us about your background and how you got interested in digital production?
My school background is a Bachelor of Computer Science where I used my spare time to develop Flash applications. At the time (2004) very few people realized you could actually do "real" applications with Flash. This naturally lead me to want to work for an Interactive Agency instead of a traditional Software Company.

Q: How do you stay on top of emerging technologies and keep your team informed and motivated?
The source of inspiration usually changes depending the project I am working on. for the last 2 years I have worked a on Kontain, a social media platform ( I am working mainly on the server side and its written in Java so I listen to Java Posse’s pod cast ( There you will get the latest Java trends and news. Other things we do in Fi is to have monthly presentations/walk-through of Fi and personal projects. These are often technical and are a great way to get new ideas and inspiration.

Q: What does your ideal client/project look like?
Full ownership, from back-end technology and implementation to front-end concept and design. And I like long projects. 6 months or longer is ideal. Sometimes we have clients sit in-house with our team during the mission critical parts of the project. I think those are the most fruitful projects.

Q: How do you educate your clients and set realistic expectations for a project?
At Fi we use Agile software methodology for larger projects which means we break down a project in smaller estimated tasks which you then fill into iterations. An iteration is usually two weeks and ideally the developers only have to think about the current iteration.

If the two week iterations are being delivered on time, you can expect to meet the projected delivery date. However, if you do find the team is not able to finish the iterations on time, the iterative process allows you to catch and fix potential problems early. This method also give the client more control by allowing them to change projected tasks without affecting the overall project time-line. If anyone is interested in reading more about Agile methodology you can check out this link which goes through our process in more detail

Q: What was the best project you have ever worked on?
I must say is the most inspiring project I have worked on. It has all the parts of a project I like. It’s an Internal project which means full control, it’s been ongoing for two years and finally, it is technology challenging. It’s really great to see people use the platform daily and it generates a completely different commitment level for the whole team than any other project I have been part of.

Q: How many projects are you comfortable producing at one given time?
Depends on size. Currently I work on one big project. But a few smaller at the same this is no problem.

Q: What tools do you use to help you better organize your projects?
As I am a tech lead and usually have a producer on the same project I focus mainly on two tools. The most important one is Rally ( which is a web based application for project, requirement and QA/defect management for agile software development. And of course we use BaseCamp for general team communication and knowledge transfer.

Q: What does your dream production team look like?
- Core team

* Producer
* Creative Director
* Interaction Designer
* Interactive Developer
* Application Engineer

If you have that base you know you will get a really stable and creative project both from concept, prototyping to technical architecture and system design.

Q: How do you ensure that your client's best interests are met?
Its really important to define a clear Statement Of Work (SOW) document. If that document is solid the expectations should be the same from both ends.

Q: What is your vision of what the next phase of our industry is going to look like?
I think Web applications will keep progressing to all hand held phones and other units such as game consoles. It will create a whole new type of demand on web agencies. More standards, browsers, operation systems that your application, site has to work on.

Q: Please share a snippet of wisdom that you would like to impart on our readers.
A great way to build client relation in my experience is to have a few key players on the client’s team sit in your office working together with you and your team. It can get tricky with privacy but you can build a really strong bond in the production team that might help you to land that retainer contract.