A very modern web project
Over the past year, we’ve been taking a critical look at modern web production. From an initial conviction that the current agency model is not the best fit in a poor economic climate, we’ve dived into various topics (agile, lean, kanban, estimation techniques) in order to find a genuine answer to the question, “How can we deliver big budget quality at a lower cost while remaining profitable?” It might seem like delivering the impossible, but we’re convinced we’re onto something.
There has always been pressure on web agencies to compete on cost, but the economic squeeze is proving to be an irresistible force. Clients come to us with tightened belts themselves, and we at Cubeworks sympathise wholeheartedly. We could stand unyielding with our proposal held aloft and brook no compromise, but that’s not a great start to an ongoing relationship is it?
Instead, we like to spend some time getting to know a potential client. Meeting with them, sitting down and helping them see what an integrated website can do to meet their goals. Often we’ll feel the right chemistry beginning and we can help them prioritise and get the best out of a supplier through a clear brief. Helping the client write a better brief means our responding proposal can be leaner and meaner.
Our next move has been to boost the role of the Cubeworks solution team into the area of sales, where we run rapid-fire ‘solution architecture’ workshops with potential clients. Our highly-interactive format lets us demonstrate how quickly we get to understand the scope of the project. It also lets us test our initial solution ideas with the client directly so they can answer our questions and challenges. It makes the whole pre-sales process super-efficient and our proposed solution even leaner because we’re already starting off in the right direction.
Finally, we’re being bolder about managing client expectations around the activities and ‘deliverables’ on a project. This article on Smashing Mag came out late last year and rang very true with us. Deliverables cost money and represent merely a stepping stone on a costly journey to the end product. Sure, you always have to pay for the journey to the destination, but why not go economy rather than first class and pocket the difference?
It’s a question of core efficacy and quality versus a layer of appealing gloss and completeness-for-the-sake-of-it. It leads to a better relationship between client and supplier because we’re openly and transparently trying to lower costs without smuggling them elsewhere or lowering quality. We’re embracing the challenge rather than trying to fight it.
What is your experience of how web projects are being delivered in the past 12-18 months? I’d love to hear from agencies and clients alike.