Since early January we’ve had 7 agencies approach us asking to work on collaborative digital projects. Whilst this is quite a few more than usual it got us thinking that we’ve done a good job of partnering with other suppliers in the past. So, how do we do it?...
A frank, open and honest conversation
Working with other agencies can be great but it can also have its pitfalls. Before getting into any relationship it’s important to check that people and processes don’t clash. Clarity on who is responsible for what and when is really crucial; duplication of effort looks bad to the client and infighting between rival designers or project managers will prove expensive.
A shared vision of what all parties are trying to achieve is essential. Where we’ve been most successful we’ve done some work to identify this as part of our pre-sales activity. Ultimately it is everyone’s job to do due diligence.
Immersion, discovery, etc, etc
This does not mean ‘paying us to get our feet under the table’. Anything done at the start of the project to help us to identify the end solution must have a reason for existing. Re-inventing the wheel or challenging signed off spec’s with no justification is not our style. If we do ask questions it is to make sure that we aren’t over-egging our estimates based on assumptions and equally not missing something which could have a big impact on the end deadline.
Immersion, Discovery and anything else which is trying to ‘get to know’ a client should push the project forward rather than go over old ground. We tend to go fixed price on these sorts of exercises and think about how we can generate and maintain momentum before we start work. There are inevitably some things which require more considered decisions (such as choice of technology) but where possible we like to crack on and get into the build as soon as possible.
Integrated timelines and smart technology choices
One of the things I often hear from marketing professionals is that digital agencies have a bad reputation compared to brand and offline agencies when it comes to the client experience. This is probably partly due to the fact that digital marketing solutions are by their nature organic and evolutionary. They have the potential to break and unlike printed marketing, are things that end clients can tinker with after delivery.
There is often a perception that we are more disorganised than marketing agencies and that our adherence to timelines is a case of best endeavours rather than achievement through sheer grit and determination. We’ve tried to counteract this by redeveloping our offering. At the end of any discovery stage, we create a plan for how we will deliver our work within the overall project timeline. We also carefully examine that what is designed can be achieved through the client’s choice of technology. When it is appropriate we create system specifications to describe how the tools will deliver what we need. If the software isn’t flexible enough we will tell you.
Who tests what? and when?
Testing. Nobody likes paying for it and nobody likes doing it (except Test Analysts...an area in which we are well covered). Some projects need more of it than others but it’s important that we’re clear on what we mean by testing and who needs to do it.
One of the projects we are talking to an agency about at the moment is relatively technical compared to their regular website work. This presents a whole new level of testing requirements due to the multiple technical issues that can occur within projects with a greater and/or broader set of back end requirements and front end functionality. Again, when skill sets differ (the very reasoning behind agency collaboration) it is important for both sides to present the best path for progression throughout a project and ensure both parties are in tune.
We’re not precious about who supports our web builds but we’re mature enough to recognise that some support will be needed beyond the 30-day warranty we provide on all new releases.
If agencies want to manage technical and marketing support after we deliver a project we can facilitate this through regular product demonstrations and full training post launch. If support is provided by us we have an established service called Quba Care. This service can be made 24 hours if required.
We’ve also sold banks of hours to partner agencies for technical support in the past. This gives them a safety net in the event that they need anything.
If you have any queries or would like a deeper insight into our collaborative projects we will be happy to take your call or email.
Call: 0114 279 7779 or Email: [email protected] to get in touch.