Martin Pownall joined software development and systems integration specialist IDS Group in 2015, and took up the role of Client Services Director in January 2021.
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The Leeds-based agency has a team which operates across the UK, USA, Poland and Belarus, supporting both start-ups and established companies.
Pownall has experience working both client- and agency-side in the public and private sectors, designing a range of multi-channel experiences at firms including Delete (now UNRVLD) and Wren Kitchens, where he was Lead UX Designer.
We found out how a recent week in his working life went…
I get up around 6:30am and go out for a walk with Alfie, our Cockerpoo, returning home in time to get my youngest out of bed – which is when the fun really begins! Being a father to three daughters and making sure they are ready for school, college and childcare, means mornings can be pretty hectic.
In terms of work, I spend two to three days in the office and a couple at home. I’m super-organised so my week is already planned out – with allocated time on Mondays for client and team catch-ups.
This Monday I head into the office. The team start the day with a butty from our favourite spot, The Drivers’ Club – washed down with a much-needed cuppa – followed by a stand-up meeting.
Next, I have a client call to discuss progress with development on a customer engagement platform for an insurtech disruptor, as well as a sprint planning session.
Lunchtime is spent getting some fresh air in the beautiful grounds of Bowcliffe Hall, where our office is based. My colleague Kat tries to encourage us to get out for a walk, run, or to make use of the on-site gym. Obviously, this hasn’t been happening – but we won’t dwell on that!
More client calls follow in the afternoon to check in on progress updates.
The evening is a relaxed one, spent with my youngest daughter Daisy – playing, bathtime, reading, and finally bed.
Tuesday is a work from home day.
After a stand-up with the team, I have a client demo around a facial recognition platform that we’re developing, to finalise. The afternoon is spent mentoring junior team members and reviewing proposals for some exciting, upcoming projects for businesses in the social media and financial sectors.
Tuesday night is when ‘dad’s taxi’ is in full swing – running my eldest to and from hockey. I make the most of the time after drop-offs by listening to some great podcasts. I’m currently enjoying Tim Mercer’s ‘Between the Eyes’ series, as well as ‘Feel Better, Live More’ by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee – I’d highly recommend both!
The working day starts with a ‘Retrospective’ ceremony with the team in Minsk.
We discuss previous sprint successes and learnings for Timbo Retro, a collaboration SaaS web platform designed to enhance remote working post-pandemic. It encourages engagement and creates a dynamic experience for better productivity and improved mental wellbeing.
Wednesday afternoon includes some personal development time, which I spend focused on UX strategy and methodology. With technology and processes shifting so frequently, it’s crucial to keep up-to-date.
With Wednesday being officially ‘hump day’, I hit the fitness studio for a strength and conditioning session with Mark from Lion Strong Coaching.
Back in the office on Thursday and after a stand-up call I have a strategy session with our CEO. We cover new objectives, client relationship development, and have a look at how the business is performing. It’s a full morning meeting followed by lunch at The Drivers’ Club. If you haven’t guessed already, the food is amazing!
After lunch, I hold a catch-up with one of our tech accelerator clients who’s preparing for growth funding, then facilitate a design workshop for the remainder of the day.
Thursday evening I hit my bike and turbo trainer, competing in a Zwift challenge. I love cycling outdoors, but on wet, dark evenings it’s safer to race online.
I work from home and start the day with a walk with my daughter Daisy, and Alfie the dog.
Friday involves mentoring the UX team, which I find really rewarding. They’re a great multi-disciplined design collective and helping them understand some of the elements of user-centric design really pays dividends when it comes to their professional development.
I also plan, prep, and organise my schedule for the following week, taking into account the busy month ahead.
A series of end-of-week calls with the leadership team closes my working week – with the aim of checking in on our collective progress, and planning ahead too.
Friday night is spent chilled out in front of the TV, catching up on recordings with the family and unwinding from our day. As you’ll have gathered, Alfie and I are outnumbered – which means the choice of what we watch is definitely not mine and need not be mentioned further!