Managing digital agencies – the client perspective

Is risk sharing becoming more common for digital projects? We’re hearing more about this approach, and in fact had a great presentation from Melissa Firth, Manager of Product Development for ABC Commercial as part of the expert panel at the Advanced Digital Project Management workshop last week.

The rise of risk sharing

Melissa talked about the different models which are being explored at ABC Commercial, which include the sharing of IP or keeping IP and sharing revenue which means the developer in invested in the project – and the outcomes – for the long term.

ABC Commercial manages a number of contractors for mobile and website builds which deliver commercial returns, for example the Beached Az mobile app. Melissa gave sage commercial advice when appointing external digital agencies from the client perspective:

7 tips for managing digital services contractors

1. Appoint your own product owner or producer to the project who has decision-making authority and responsibility
2. Look closely at the development partner’s project management processes and practice. Can they articulate their process? Does it match with your  internal processes – is there a cultural fit?
3. A dedicated producer/PM is critical. Can your agency nominate a person who will be the project manager, who is not performing any other role? Unless you’re working with sole traders, and you’re managing the development team, your project manager should not be wearing any other hat.
4. Include QA practices

  • Ask for detailed test plans or a test suite as one of the deliverables
  • Do they automate testing?
  • Use an online tracking tool for bug reporting. This will ensure that you are kept up to date, and that there’s nothing missed in your email inbox.

5. Be realistic about the platform / version combinations you’ll support.
6. Agree number of rounds of changes you can have for your budget
7. Include analytics implementation as a deliverable. Melissa suggests implementing and testing analytics pre-release.

What special attribute, skill or deliverable do you look for from a digital services contractor/developer?

About Claudia Sagripanti

Involved in the evolution of mobile marketing and advertising from the early years, including co-founding Mobile Marketing and Advertising Awards, founding chair of AIMIA's Mobile Industry Group, development of mobile advertising guidelines for industry as well as commercialisation strategy.