How to work with your product agency

Finding the right digital product agency is hard. Finding one that understands both technology and business is even harder. Yet when you make your choice, some of the burden of ensuring the best results lies on you, the client and business owner. Here, we’re going to look at what it’s like to work with a digital product agency and offer some tips on how to better work with them.

Finding the right agency

It all begins by ensuring you’ve chosen the best team to meet your needs. Many clients find theirs by going through their network, mining it for references and introductions. Otherwise, you may look online. Either way, it’s essential that they have experience in developing the kind of product you want. While remote teams may offer lower operating costs, the benefits of having a local team you can meet face-to-face with for meetings and the accountability that their proximity offers is worth putting the effort into finding.

The first meeting

When you come to an agency with your idea, you need to have a clear notion of what your need is, what your budget is, and what you want the timeline to be. You may find certain agencies will decline a project, citing a lack of expertise or not enough budget, but keep looking and you will find them. During that first meeting, ensuring they understand those three points is crucial, but you need to learn about them, too. Ask if they have any digital projects not covered by an NDA so you can test it out yourself.

Planning a project

Once you deliver your budget, needs, and timeline and the agency accepts, they will work with you to create a product development plan. Your involvement in all steps of this stage is crucial. It’s not enough to just prioritise your wants and needs, you should be involved in project management and quality assurance to ensure their methodology meets your needs.

Stay active during development

A good agency will encourage you to be active during the development process and you should accept the offer. When it comes to branding materials, think about logo ideas, colour palettes, and design elements you want. If they’re having meetings, make sure you come after giving the subject matter some thought. The more you think about and communicate what you want your project to look like, the easier it is for them to deliver on it. Staying up-to-date allows you to ask for re-estimated timelines, too. The first timeline is rarely the last one, projects often get pushed back or extended, it’s all part of the work, but you can at least keep your expectations realistic by keeping in touch.

Steering the project

The bulk of the work is going to be in the product development agency’s hands now. However, they’re likely to offer you the opportunity to join in on design and development sprints. Keep up to date on the product, carry out user tests, find issues and make sure their priorities stay aligned with yours.

With the tips above, you should find it easier to ensure you get a digital product development agency that meets your needs, and to ensure the end product fits your expectations. Don’t worry if you miss a sprint meeting now and then, so long as you commit time to the project now and then, you should be able to steer them in the right direction.

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