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August 4, 2014

Growing an Agency: 4 Ways to Make Your Clients Successful

growing_an_agencyAgencies today frequently find their clients expecting help with web-based and digital requirements. Many of these agencies grapple with how to meet those client needs, especially when in a growth mode.

Few agencies find it practical to maintain in-house resources to deliver needed development projects.

As a result, outsourcing is often the most viable alternative, even if chosen reluctantly.

Making the Most of an Excellent Resource

The simple fact is that the outsourcing of development projects is a rapidly growing market segment for a number of reasons. These include affordability, response times, and scalability. In short, when done correctly, outsourcing works.

Carefully executed outsourcing enhances value delivered to clients and provides access to the latest technologies and capabilities, including such Content Management Systems and platforms as Drupal, Joomla, PHP, Ruby and Python. However, many agencies appreciate that newer is not necessarily better for many client applications.

Growing an agency today involves helping clients with everything from branding to rich media to social media. Outsourcing development projects for web needs allows a needed focus on the right areas to facilitate growth.

4 Ways to Make Your Clients Successful

If your goal is to help your clients be successful in their digital projects while profitably growing an agency, here are four basic steps to incorporate when considering outsourcing:

1. Work only with development teams who are properly researched and vetted.

The outsourcing market has reached a level of maturity that allows you to work with proven, experienced resources. Always check references and carefully discuss the process followed with other North American clients. This includes seeking out clients who have engaged the team for projects of similar scope.

2. Ensure the use of available development tools.

There are a number of useful software tools that facilitate everything from the development cycle to collaboration during the project. These include Microsoft Project, Jira, Basecamp and many others. The team you select should be competent with the tools that best fit their development environment. The collaboration effort will involve the client at predefined steps in the process, using tools from video conferencing to IM to electronic whiteboards.

3. Clearly specify in writing what is to be done.

While the traditional development of functional specifications is a solid starting ground, some projects today are too dynamic and short-term to allow for such detail. However, clearly state what functions you are seeking and provide a detailed description of how the software will be used. Specify the hardware platform and get the milestones and budget defined in writing. The agency plays the key role in this process by evaluating, documenting and communicating the requirements.

4. Ensure you follow a solid approach to quality assurance.

Any project requires clearly defined release criteria, provided and agreed to in writing. Test the product as it is developed and ensure there is adequate time for alpha and beta testing before release. If the Agility development management is utilized, plans will accommodate multiple releases and sign-offs. Clients should note the difference in testing for defects and failures as opposed for the product meeting expectations and functional criteria.

These are the primary steps you should use when taking advantage of successfully outsourcing software development projects while growing your agency.


Mike McAuliffe

In his role as Managing Director, Mike advises technology and technology-enabled companies on effective strategies when building high-performing, global software engineering teams. He is a highly accomplished executive, with proven ability in innovating and implementing business-building strategies for recognized...

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