If you’ve found the agency that’s the right fit and signed all the appropriate paperwork, it’s time to get started! There are some things you can expect right after the papers are signed, as well as during the lifetime of the engagement.
1. An onboarding process to set expectations: Outlined in a working agreement that establishes the points of contact, common meetings, etc.
2. Discovery to get aligned: This allows both teams to meet and share knowledge beyond what was shared during the sales process.
3. Transferring knowledge around the project: This could include work done thus far, research, and other pertinent details. The agency may also request that they shadow certain people involved with the product to get a deeper understanding.
4. Ongoing discussions: These conversations should be focused on sustaining the relationship, the goals of the product, and lifetime value for both teams.
Lifetime of the engagement
- Clear lines of communication between your decision maker(s) and the agency
- Daily and weekly check-ins alongside sprint meetings
- Feedback loops on both the work and the team
- A blended use of design, documentation, conversation, and live product to show progress
If you have specific expectations for your product team, lay them out during the kick-off meeting. Your postures, structures, and disciplines may differ, so figuring out which aspects from each team will be applied to the engagement is imperative from the get-go.
These might include:
- Cadence of check-ins
- Communication channels (ie: Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.)
- Having video on or off during meetings
- Retrospective formula
- Other team norms that will emerge during the engagement
Transparency and collaboration are key when it comes to client relations. Product backlog reviews and sprint planning will be an important space for you to express your expectations and goals for the product.
Shared Slack channels will help make this interaction more agile and seamless. Bi-weekly calls between yourself and members of the agency’s leadership team to speak candidly about how things are going is a great practice. These conversations help to illuminate what’s going well and what could be improved that may not come up as naturally during retrospectives and other meetings that are regularly taking place.
Realistically, a client should expect a high level of collaboration throughout the entirety of the project.
How high is high? We find that a weekly checkpoint, at the least, is necessary to ensure that priorities are in line and any blockers can be identified and mitigated. Ideally, our teams are chatting with clients asynchronously throughout the week to get answers to questions, feedback on options, and provide general updates on the project.
Building technology can be a long road, but the process of choosing a solid partner is one of the first steps. Perhaps the timing or budgets don’t line up to make an agency partnership possible right now, but that’s quite alright. You can always make a note and follow back up when the stars align!If you have any questions about hiring a digital product agency, feel free to reach out to us.