In short, don’t do it.
Confused? Let me briefly explain why you shouldn’t hire a contractor for product development but should, instead, choose a partner who becomes a part of your team, aligning with your technology strategy and goals.
Every company that’s ever identified a software need or dreamed of a new app has had to ask the question, “do we have the resources to make this happen?”
Sometimes you do, and your in-house product teams have the capacity. Other times, companies are forced to train, hire or source the talent and resources to execute on their ideas. This is true more often than not today as companies look to scale back costs for hiring full-time specialized workers while also needing to stay up to date with their existing offerings and ongoing projects.
As the digital landscape continues to rapidly evolve—new areas of expertise, principles of UI/UX design, needs for users and expectations for products and services also shift and evolve.
There are a plethora of considerations and questions to ask as you identify which option best suits your company but when you do land on the need to source from outside your team, how do you find the best fit?
You look for someone to partner with you in your goals—the why. Not someone to merely execute on your decision—the how and what.
My husband and I recently moved across the country and purchased a new home. We’re both pretty research-driven and “tech-savvy.” We felt confident that we could navigate the home buying process (like many of our friends) with research, neighborhood recon and Zillow.
Four months into the process and no closer to actually buying a home, we put a pause on our research and called a realtor who had been recommended by several people. We had to admit that the market was wildly different than that of the city we had recently moved from, and we needed more than tools or services to get what we wanted. We needed a professional who knew the market, could help us assess our needs and then work with us to find what we really wanted—and who could ultimately align with our hopes and goals.
We met our realtor, shopped around the housing market and, shortly after, signed the papers on a home we loved. Fast forward several months and as we’ve settled into our home, our realtor has been a trusted and invaluable resource on everything from the best local eats in our new city to which local plumber we should call.
We had access to reliable connections, homes that weren’t online and ultimately moved at a much faster pace than we would have on our own. Essentially, we would never dream of buying another home without Kristen, our realtor, at our side.
And this—is the feeling of having someone on your team.
The same concept is true for your company when needing outside help with product design and development.
When you work with a partner, you’re investing your time and money into someone who:
Is invested in your company’s success beyond the project and tasks at hand. If someone has partnered with you, they’re interested in more than simply executing a task. They’re thinking strategically and will provide honest feedback and valuable input.
Can pivot—they’ve taken the time to understand your goals, your team, your budget, your big-picture vision and can make adjustments with all of those pieces in mind. They’re focused on partnering to build your vision, not delivering a static product.
Will share their resources and connections to help you win. They’re on your team and will go out of their way to help you succeed because “client success” is synonymous with their success.
Choosing to work with an agency that views itself as a partner rather than simply a contractor you’ve hired is beneficial not only for your product but also for your brand and bottom dollar.
As a full-service digital product agency, we often have clients reach out to us with an idea or question about a feature that we’re able to help them evaluate and strategize around before one of our product designers or engineers ever lifts a finger. Taking the partner approach, we’re invested in the best digital solution for the client, instead of simply building xyz and calling it done without that step of strategic evaluation and buy-in.
As you weigh your options and consider which approach works best for your company, to keep the project in-house, or to partner with an outside agency, we encourage you to consider the prospective team’s knowledge base and ability to troubleshoot as you begin the project and dig into the problem you’re on a mission to solve. Combine that expertise with a passion for your success as a company and you have a team that’s flexible and able to pivot quickly when problems arise to build the best solution.
Returning to my analogy from above, we saved time and money by partnering with an expert and gained a trusted partner who continues to be a great connection and resource in our community.
Looking for a trusted partner to make your tech dreams come true? We’d love to chat.