Over the years’, as companies have continued to develop UX maturity, we noticed a significant shift in the work we were undertaking for our clients. More and more we were being asked to help support in-house teams; whether working alongside incumbent researchers and designers or being a UX team of one for a new “innovation” initiative.
As product teams work in an agile fashion there is a growing need to be present. Being true to the agile manifesto; we continue to experience the increasing importance of individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
Frustratingly, for both agency and client, creating a project plan in agile’s fluctuating environment can be incredibly difficult; hard deadlines and a clearly defined set of deliverables are nonexistent. An agency that lives and dies by a clearly laid out scope of work requires a brief and a schedule. Equally, the client requires a plan of action, a specification and unfailingly, a firm grasp of the cost.
Sadly, this level of flexibility is simply not possible with a traditional client-agency relationship.
For starters, the UX team primarily stays within the confines of the agency; ably creating finely tuned research plans, crafting wireframes, and nudging pixels. Teams are able to seek reassurance and guidance from senior team members with domain expertise. Patterns of working are well-established. Methods and tools are tried and tested.
Our next step
Stepping out of the familiar and controllable agency environment can be quite daunting. However, when we looked more closely at our previous client relationships and unpicked what had worked best, we quickly understood that success was born out of super-tight collaboration.
For many businesses, UX is a foreign land. They understand its importance and are committed to building a relationship with an agency but the idea of remote collaboration is often off-putting. To truly embed a culture of user centricity, you have to be at its centre and become a living and breathing part of that culture; instigating change from the inside, out.
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation plays a key part of our shifting approach to working with clients. By working in an embedded fashion we’re able to respond to change over following a plan. We - along with our clients - continually learn about the audience we’re designing for and the business's goals. The shape of the end product becomes more clearly defined over time; the fuzzy vision may pivot and contort several times before being honed into the final product.
Our collaborative approach
A collaborative partnership, closely coupled to a much broader external agency offering, gives you unbiased external viewpoints that adapt to your organisation and become embedded in your teams. We quickly evaluate your existing team structures and identify potential skills gaps, we can then embed proven and relevant UX team members into your organisation.