Taking on expert help outside of your business can be a tricky process. You need to be confident that any partner or supplier can get the job done – but also that they’re a good fit with your business culturally. Are they are a true extension of your brand? And can they deliver on all the points that you need them to?
Here’s our checklist of questions to ask when choosing a technical partner.
- Does my technical partner know what I’m trying to do?
Having a technical partner that understands the commercial requirements of your business is crucial. Sadly, companies will often be handed cookie-cutter solutions –that’s no longer good enough. Ask yourself the following questions: what is the main objective? How do you want people to engage with your website or app? Is there a specialist skillset that you need to tap into? Once you have this down on paper you’ll have a better idea of what it is you need from a partner.
- What’s the process going to look like?
Based on the size and nature of the project, you may just decide that you need a boost on the development side. For one-off, smaller projects this may be true but most cases will require a look at the bigger picture. Development is often only around 30% of the whole process; the rest lies with design, strategy and project management. This latter element is particularly important. At Cohaesus, our Reinventing Freelance model sees our developers work alongside our clients’ teams in-house, allowing them to become completely integrated. Whether it’s providing training, or simply getting the project off the ground, having this expertise on hand working alongside your team (and completely absorbed in the project) is hugely valuable.
Will I know what’s going on?
There’s nothing worse than chasing for an update or worse, being left in the dark completely. A technical partner should be proactive, providing weekly update reports that keep you in the loop about whether everything’s on track. We have a traffic light system that we use with clients – a quick way to highlight if something’s taking longer than expected or if there’s a stumbling block along the way. This element of transparency shouldn’t be underestimated.
- Who is my primary contact?
At Cohaesus, a client’s main point of contact is always someone with technical expertise. We avoid duplicating efforts or adding in another project manager of our own because we feel that just slows things down. Instead, our technical people are our project managers – people that are working on the project every day, that understand the logistics of how it works, and who can give you a straight, honest answer in regards to the progress.
- Will the project get done in time?
In today’s fast-paced working environment, it’s important to create a realistic timeframe with deadlines that everyone can work to. In particular, the ‘tweaking and snagging’ section of any project nearly always takes longer than expected and elsewhere in the industry isn’t always given the dedicated time it requires, resulting in a mad rush at the end.
At the beginning of each project, we establish a timeframe and then cut it in half. If we have a six month project, we’ll aim to get the website or app built three months in. This may require an ‘all hands on deck’ approach at the start, but it means that we’re afforded the same time again to make any edits, re-size images, undergo user experience testing and so on. In many ways, this process of editing, trialling and tweaking is the most important aspect in making sure we get it right – creating a functional, beautiful website or app that people want to engage with.