Coming to Manchester
on the 9th of September 2016 is the first Manchester
Code event which is being run and
organised by the award winning, Digital Project
Craig A. Taylor. What is The
Manchester Code? And how will it benefit us all? We sat down with
Craig, to find out what it is and how this may be an industry
What made you create
The Manchester Code and what industry issues need
First of all, The Manchester Code is a new, unique,
structured and documented 'Code of Practice' to allow agencies and
clients in general business to achieve greatness in digital
creative work, and for those working in the sector to be able to
continue to develop and invest profitably....
We have a problem. The digital creative sector can't
really invest in people, processes and products until business in
general truly values what we do and is prepared to pay for digital
work at a level that allows the sector to drive profitability. This
isn't going to happen until we reduce the number of failed
projects. The single biggest cause of failure is communication;
digital creative suppliers often aren't communicating and operating
in a way that general business understands. As such, many projects
fail to deliver what general business expects
and businesses just don't trust and value digital
This reduces the fees for digital, which further drives
down investment, training and salaries and guess what? The quality
suffers, business in general gets an even poorer experience and
then, we go around again.
We need to sell ourselves as a professional services
industry. We need to work in a way that business in general
understands and values and communicate this.
The Manchester Code will communicate this and act as an
independent yardstick for quality and efficiency in all digital
projects by providing frameworks, training and guidelines for
industry professionals and importantly for general businesses
engaged in digital projects.
Tell us about your
Originally, I am from an engineering background, however,
I retrained in London, completing a Postgraduate Diploma in
Printing and Publishing in 1997, however I quickly realised digital
was the way forward so learned to code my first website, in HTML3
on Notepad on IE3 on Windows NT, in 1998. Great times. I continued
to work as a trainer in HTML, CSS and Dreamweaver before deciding
to start my own successful digital agency in 2000, later selling it
on in 2010.
Since the sale of my business, I have kept myself busy
working as a freelance Digital Project Manager, which allowed me to
work with a variety of enterprise CMS and Ecommerce solutions
including SDL Tridion, Sitecore, Umbraco, Magento and SAP employing
a mixture of Agile, PRINCEII and Waterfall methodologies.
Throughout my career, I've gone on to win a number of awards, most
notably the 'How-Do Award' for Best Media Website in 2011.
Currently, I am now working with various agencies and businesses in
order to deliver hands-on training with regards to project
management, workflow, strategy and planning as well as the
technical skills such as HTML, CSS, video production and social
media through a network of experienced trainers.
I have always approached work from a business objectives
and UX, rather than technology perspective and this is very much
the driver for The Manchester Code.
Being in the industry
and by creating The Manchester Code, what skills do you find most
candidates are lacking in and what areas should they focus
I would have to say that the biggest issue we are facing
with regards to skill gaps in the industry is experience! Nowadays
there is an abundant amount of talented coders graduating, ready to
start their careers within major agencies. However, businesses
value a mixture of experience and general business awareness…
unfortunately, we can't teach that experience.
Many Project and Account Managers have little or no
industrial experience and as such they struggle to deal with
businesses in a way in which they understand. My advice to any
students would be to gain as much commercial and general business
experience as possible, undertake internship and placements as this
will stand well for your future and you'll prove to be a valuable
asset to any company!
How can The Manchester
Code assist growing businesses in the North and has the skill gap
had any impact on the current digital growth?
I definitely think that this issue would have had an
impact on every area of the UK, not just the North. Although, the
salaries in London are arguably higher so they do attract
candidates to working in the South.
In my opinion, I see The Manchester Code as an opportunity
for businesses in the North to wrestle some of the momentum from
London in an attempt to drive the profitability of agencies up
What audience is The
Manchester Code aiming to target?
The Manchester Code event is targeting agencies which are
engaged in digital creative work and general businesses working
with agencies whilst also supporting organisations who are involved
in providing digital services. It also presents an opportunity for
those employed in the digital sector to voice their concerns and
frustrations in the hope of these issues being resolved.
How can The Manchester
Code be a solution to the industry issue you're
For me, The Manchester Code is about communicating to the
wider business community how the digital creative sector works,
allowing businesses to engage with us in a more mutually beneficial
way. Hopefully, The Manchester Code should help reduce the number
of projects that fail by increasing the understanding on both sides
of the spectrum along with raising the value of what work we
What impact would you
like The Manchester Code to have on the sector in the long
The long term goal is to establish The Manchester Code as a
source of information on the best practices that a business or
agency can adopt. It will become a 'safe haven'; a place where
businesses and agencies can turn to for advice when projects become
challenging! We will be known as the body which promotes digital to
the business community as well as provides training and support to
those within the sector.
Do you want to find out more about The Manchester Code?
Get your ticket from
Eventbrite and head down
to Rise in
Manchester City Centre, which is famous for bringing together the
industry's brightest professionals,on Friday
9th September. Follow the process
of The Manchester Code through their Twitter page here!