If you want to improve your business efficiency, there are lots of areas to start with. Working with an agency is one of the options. You can hire a web design agency to help you with a website or a dedicated team with expertise in product development who can build a product from scratch.
Agency is like extra horsepower for your business. It speeds you up and gives a new perspective but only when the project management is done well. So let’s get to know how to hire the right agency, ensure the project’s success, and manage all agency projects like a pro.
How to Hire Right Agency
Before starting the collaboration with any agency, make sure that it complies with your requirements one hundred percent.
Having the perfect company to work with is about making a list of requirements for the agency and putting your goals and needs down. The clearer you understand your own wishes, the better the collaboration with the agency will be. Here are several things to pay attention to while choosing the agency:
- It must perform tasks of the complexity that you need;
- It must guarantee that the budget won’t exceed a set rate or a maximum;
- It must be reachable and maintain constant communication;
5 Pro Steps of Management Agency Projects
Managing agency projects is taking responsibility for project success and clear communication with internal and external teams to make sure everyone stays on the same page. In the following steps, we focused on both aspects: project efficiency and communication within the teams.
Step 1 – Set Goals
We already mentioned that you must first understand your needs to find a perfect match. At this stage, it’s important to shape all your expectations and move them from a simple sketch on paper to aboard.
Together with the in-house team, you should imagine the whole project as clear as you can and define how the result of collaboration should look like. Discuss all the details and agree on the main project milestones. Creating a spreadsheet of your must-haves would be just perfect. It takes time but simplifies and speeds up the work of the agency.
Step 2 – Define Communication
Clear communication is half the battle. One of the first meetings should be devoted to setting communication rules. For example, you prefer to communicate on Slack, set up calls in Google Meets, keep all the documentation is on Notion, and you’d like to hear from the agency 2 times per week.
At this stage, the client and the agency agree on how and where they communicate.
Step 3 – Build Trust
Working with third-party companies often associated with delegating tasks. But more and more companies try to pick a dedicated partner rather than just a ‘doer.’ Building a freedom-based team is crucial at this point. You can ask for advice from your partner, discuss possible solutions, give them a place for creativity, encourage them to dig deeper into your company processes.
When you give the agency more freedom to run projects and making critical decisions on their own, you definitely build a more trusting environment.
Step 4 – Track Productivity
The outcome of building a trusting relationship with your partner is higher engagement in the process, and it follows the higher productivity. It’s essential to draw a hard distinction between productivity and results.
In one case, a person may be logged into a computer 10 hours/day with no results. In another, someone meets all deadlines and delivers excellent work with only 6 working hours.
So instead of micromanaging tasks and setting strict working hours, devote your time helping your partners manage their time well. Help them estimate the task correctly, find their most time-consuming tasks and develop a supportive culture.
Step 5 – Ask Feedback
We used to ask for feedback while working with in-house teams, but it also a good practice in working with agencies. The benefits from feedback collection are significant – it helps you save time on reworks, align your plans and expectations, drastically increases the chances of doing the task right from the first time.
In addition, it gives you flexibility and ensures that the final result will be just right.
Project Management Tools
With so many moving pieces, how is it possible not to lose control over everything? There’s a golden rule you should remember – everything that can be automatized must be automatized. So, here are some project management tools to help you keep the ear to the ground.
- Slack: It’s a messenger for teams where you can sort and organize conversations into different channels. You can also share files or make calls without leaving the platform.
- Notion: It’s a documentation&collaboration tool with a super intuitive interface. You can create rich format documents or work on a spreadsheet within this powerful platform. It works well for small and large teams.
- Trello: It’s a tool that allows you to manage projects with boards and cards. You can use a combination of text, images, emojis, or file attachments on the boards. Although Trello is based on the freemium model, you can start collaborating with teams using the free basic plan.
- TeamViewer: It is leading remote support software for years. Its main function is taking control of your PC, but it also allows transfer file between devices, which aid in fixing bad installations of apps.
- Toggl: It’s a free-to-use time tracking tool that keeps you informed of the time used in executing tasks. While the time-tracking is free, upgrading to paid plans allows you access to advanced reporting and project management tools.
To Sum Up
Managing agency projects isn’t the same as managing projects in your company. It demands more time to set the right tone of communication, get used to each other, build trust and deliver constant feedback.
Though there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for managing agency projects, the benefits from the collaboration are huge. So if you need support with any part of creating your product or speed up your development process, collaboration with agencies is the way to go.