Professionalism, Masterchef Australia and what web designers can learn from them.
29th November 2011

I am simply blown away by the professionalism of the popular food show Masterchef Australia.

I am not particularly a foody but presentation and setup of the show really caught my attention and kept it there for an entire season. It speaks volumes about the show that a non-cooking IT techie like me was engrossed in it.

Thinking about it I began to question what makes the show so cool? The answer, in a word,Professionalism.

Naturally I wanted to draw parallels to my own industry and the learnings we can get from the show. It can apply to any industry but I am more web design specific.

Appearance matters, impeccably dressed, clean kitchens, color coded uniforms - professional attire

This is one area I personally struggle with and my wife tears her hair out on. But watching the show, one of the things that struck me was the grooming and dressing of both the judges and the contestants. A lot of trouble was probably taken to ensure both looked their best. The overall kitchen premises were spotless and surroundings well maintained. The Japanese associate cleanliness and orderliness with efficiency and performance and this show epitomizes it.

Learning for web designers - Show up for client meetings well groomed, keep office premises impeccable and try and cultivate the same in your work as well i.e. clean clutter free designs, neat and presentable communications such as emails, bills, proposals etc.

Direct communication, clear, honest and to the point - no room for misunderstandings or confusion

A common complaint with most reality shows is that they are too full of bullshit. Sometimes everything other than the topic at hand is discussed. This is seen with the other Masterchef competitions across the globe. The judges in Masterchef Australia speak clearly, directly, with no room for misunderstanding. Instructions, guidance and even criticism is given with razor sharp focus and clarity.

Learning for web designers - Our industry is notorious for bullshit. Web designers, especially in India, tend to overpormise and under deliver. Most don't inform clients clearly about problems and issues. Sometimes weeks go before clients hear from the designers. This has to change. At every stage, crisp & clear communication has to go to the clients. Problems should be discussed and transparency is paramount.

Brutally honest and fair - a deal is a deal with no wiggle room.

You have got love the Australian sense of fairplay and sporting spirit. The entire competition was followed to the letter as per guidelines decided. No judge or competitor was given an exception. Both has to make some really tough choices and nobody let them off the hook. No wiggle room. As an example one of the competitors caught using a cellphone was immediately chucked out of the competition, no warnings or wrist slaps.

Learning for web designers - Honesty and integrity in all our dealings from pricing to delivery is the need of the day. During a project communication between team members, clients and others should be clear and direct. Agreements made at the start of the project should be honoured by both the designers and the clients, no exceptions.

Professionals know their subject inside out and upside down.

What made the show such a great success was the professionalism of the judges. There was no doubt that they are masters in their field and experience and knowledge shone through. Even the participants started to get more knowledgble as the show progressed. The challenges were created to showcase the different aspects of the subject i.e. the culinary art. For a non-cook it was facinating, I never imagined the depth present in the subject of cooking.

Learning for web designers - Be the master of your respective speciality. Know it inside out. The client should not only buy your services but your knowledge and experience as well. Keep on exploring, keep on learning. When you speak, it should be clear that you know the subject inside out and upside down.

A sense of humour and good sporting spirit are invaluable.

Taken to its very core the show is quite brutal in terms of the challenges and the eliminations happening every week. But thanks to the judge's and participant's sense of humour, good spirit and comraderie, what could have been a tedious exhausting process becomes fun and interesting. The rewards were interesting and worth fighting for. The judges commentary was interesting, fun, but also to the point. The entire show was conducted in an atmosphere of good grace and sporting spirit.

Learning for web designers - Projects need not be tedious. Interactions with client can be fun. If you make an effort to ensure a positive environment it will lift the work and people up as well. No matter the pressure or the situation, maintain a sense of humour. Do not work with people who insist on bringing you down or are overly critical. Good spirit counts.

Overall I would really like to compliment the creators of Masterchef Australia on an engrossing and entertaining show. We enjoyed watching it and learned a lot from it. Thank you guys.


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