Whether your thinking of starting a new start up or are an existing brand looking to redesign, choosing the right development partner can a very crucial step in making your web project a success.
Selecting the right agency can be a difficult choice, the good news is there are a lot of options available. The bad news is there are a lot more ways you can go wrong. There isn’t any guaranteed formula but here are a few helpful guidelines to keep you on track and help you find the right one, while staying clear of the wrong choices.
A few Guidelines
The first and most important thing before you reach out to any agency is to check their work portfolio, the kinda of work they have done. If creative design is an important aspect to you, look at the diversity and quality of work in their existing design.
If your looking for something for more technically challenging see if you can find it in their portfolio if not be sure to ask during the upcoming meeting what their technical capability is.
Looking at their previous work not only gives a proper insight on what kinda of work they have done but also provides good idea into what they are capable of. Its not Important to look for work belonging to the same industry that you are in their portfolio. Whats important is that they should be able to handle the creativity, content creation and be technically sound.
The more experienced an agency the less hoops you’ll have to jump through, the more efficient they will be and the quicker things will get done. The difference between an experienced and an experienced agency shows in a lot of ways how they handle a problem, a situation. Someone whose been there done that will always respond faster and make the right choice.
Following up on agency experience its always important to know who will be working on your project what kind of experience do they have. A popular agency might not always have qualified people so its good to be acquainted with the team whose going to be handling your project especially if its a big budget on a long delivery time schedule.
Now here is something which most agency’s lack, what kind of process do they follow all the way from the first point when they schedule in a meeting to meet you , to gathering requirements, asking the right questions.
What kinda process do they have Agile, Waterfall?
What tools do they use to communicate internally and with you
How do they stay on top of task deadlines, schedule etc
What is their work process when developing products.
These are some of the questions that need to asked during the initial meeting to give you a good idea of how efficient they are and what to expect once you sign the proposal. Do they keep you updated on changes every now and then (Agile approach) or do they present their work to only after a certain milestone has been achieved (Waterfall approach)
If an agency uses an email system to manage everything, that’s a sure sign they are outdated, inefficient and unorganized and you are bound to run into a number of problems to say the least. Look for answer such as Basecamp, Asana, Harvest, Invision, etc there are tons of task managment applications that make manging things a whole lot easier.
Another good idea would be to drop an email to one of their previous clients to get some feedback on how the experience had been in working with them. that’s a certifiable way to get inside information. You can always ask for references from the agency as long as your not being side tracked to people who are going to just blow their horns for them.
Its important to have you and the agency on the same page on what is important to your company and what your objectives are. A good agency will spend time uncovering this through their own series of questions or their own research. Others will jump to conclusions and bring disaster.
The Right Mix
Every Agency no matter how diverse they have been in their client will have a certain pattern about they a unique aura which will set them apart from everyone else. It could be a creative design, great social campaigning, or something else. Make sure you know that you know that you are working with the right kind of people who are passionate about your product and have an interest in seeing it blossom. It will be kinda like hiring them temporarily, “Would you want to work with them” is the question you should be asking yourself?
What not to do
The Cheapest Option
When choosing a development partner there are some who will be thinking its best to go with the cheapest potion on the table, sure they might lack a bit of experience but I am sure they will deliver. For those mind sets let me tell you right here! that strategy is going to cost you dearly. The numbers may look good now but down the lane it may all come to bite your where it hurts. I have had a lot of clients coming to me after they have been burned by going with a less experienced agency, cheaper quote, or worst of all a freelancer. What eventually happens is redoing the whole project again through someone else .
Unrealistic Expectation & Comparisons
Every Project has a budget, and at times you being the client want to get everything done in your required budget. Please keep in mind comparing an agency to a freelancer is like comparing an army to a single soldier. Would you have an army running the show or will you bet everything on a single soldier, depending on your goals, budget and what is at stake make the wiser choice and know what to expect.
There you have it, if you follow the guidelines and use your better judgement it will all turn out great. When you find the right agency it will feel right and it will feel good working with them. Their experience and their work will back it up, now get going and make something great.