I am both a founder and a director of an app development agency. We specialize in MVP development and design, but we sometimes outsource our work to the third parties. This made me wonder – how risky it is, hiring an agency to do the job for you?
I was considering outsourcing our PPC and asked a few agencies for a quote. The offers I have received would result in spending several hundred pounds a month for absolutely unrelated keywords. There was no research or consideration of what would be helpful for us. So is it still worth it working with an agency in 2019?
The classic agency model is dead
And if it isn’t yet, it should be soon. The industrial age thinking is something that is deeply rooted in most agencies I have worked with. The agency process is optimized to the level that in the end, forces the client to compromise on his vision and the quality of the product.
There is a misalignment between the client’s goals and the goals of the agency. Most agencies optimize their process to keep the customer engaged as long as possible while delivering only the minimum amount. While the client is focused on what is going to work, the agency is focused mostly on the amount of work performed.
Nobody is agile
Contrary to the claims of most agencies, there is nothing agile about the way they work. Change is never welcome, as the process is strict and schedule tights. Every change is an unwelcome distruption, and on-time delivery is more important than working on even useful product.
With most agencies, you end up working in an environment where change is not welcome, a situation that kills innovation and imagination. Flexibility is mostly used as a buzz-word and don’t let me start about agile or scrum.
Does no one care?
It’s harsh, but it’s mostly true. Most of the people working in digital agencies will not care if your product is a success or not. If the app developers working on your project do not believe that millions will use the product, they will not do a good job. And it’s the same with every other role in the team.
The focus of the agency’s management is going to be on the internal processes. But optimizing an “assembly line” is not going to help your product at all.
But I still need help!
Yes, there are many companies and entrepreneurs (including me) that need external help. It takes time to build a functioning team and to gain experience and skillset you need for your projects. From time to time, you want to explore new opportunities without disrupting your primary course of business.
I would recommend looking for an agency that will work with you as an inhouse team. Where the team will not be changed over time, and you will have access to all team members working with you.
You need to build a relationship based on trust, learning and open communication. There is no reason to hide your budget for you, and there is no reason for the agency to offer you some pre-made package.
You need to speak only in agile terms. You have to let go of long specifications, documentation and contracts. I have seen some new development agencies and designers who embrace this approach. We are working on that too. So I don’t believe that the agency model is entirely dead – only in the way it worked until now.