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5 Common Mistakes Made by Digital Agency Businesses which Drain Profits (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of a two part blog post, discussing the common mistakes made by digital agencies which  drain profits. 

👉 Find Part 1 here! 👈

Common mistake 4: Over promising deliverables to clients

Ambitious agencies commonly fall into overpromising what they can deliver to clients, in order to secure a project they are excited to work on, or a project they know will help them get access to more business.

This over-promising can come in different forms such as:

  • too tight deadlines
  • pitching too small a budget 
  • promise of deliverables e.g.: using tech stacks their team isn’t competent in. 

Similarly to overstretching teams, over-promising deliverables to clients, may seem like an effective way to secure new projects in the short term, but can have grave consequences over time. 

“Finding a middle ground between pitching your project strategy convincingly and overpromising deliverables can be tricky for agencies.” shares Giorgia. “However it is an understandable mistake, especially when it comes to securing projects for big, influential brands.” 

“While over promising in some areas of delivery, can be managed internally by moving around resources - promising deliverables using a certain technology (which an agency’s in-house team lacks experience in) can quickly become a problem.”

Again, this mistake is understandable. Today’s ever changing tech stack trends are difficult to keep up with, therefore keeping in-house teams up to date with the latest technologies is close to impossible. In order to meet these demands, agencies often turn to freelance developers who can meet client tech demands. 

Working with freelancers can seem like a good short term solution for agencies looking to deliver a single project in a tech stack which their in-house team lacks knowledge in. However, hiring freelancers increases project risk.

Agencies looking to hire freelancers need to consider a few key risk mitigating factors, including:

  • Creating a process for effectively vetting and onboarding freelance developers, which can quickly test their technical skills and competence.
  • Establishing a protocol for quickly replacing developers if they are unable to deliver a project on time or fail to deliver completely.
  • Understanding how their in-house team can test, debug, and maintain code, which they may not necessarily have expertise in.

All of these risks often lead to agencies looking for third-party developers outside of the freelancer market, through new resourcing models.

(You can learn about these in the ‘So what is the solution’ section below.)


Common mistake 5: Working with too many development teams

One of the ways that agency businesses may aim to rapidly increase their growth and capacity, is through creating long term partnerships with developers or development teams. This allows them to outsource parts of or complete projects without having to increase their inhouse team size. 

“Working with third-party development teams is a great way for digital agencies to outsource parts of project delivery.” Shares Lucy, discussing outsourcing strategies for agencies. “However, development houses are often built around specialisation in a certain tech stack, project type or platform."

"This means, agencies who want to build up a big portfolio of developers, will likely need to collaborate with a number of different development teams.”

Similarly to outsourcing to freelance developers - working with multiple development houses increases project risk. What’s more, vetting, onboarding and maintaining good relationships with development teams is a big drain of resources and time. Mitigating this risk can also be further exacerbated by an agency’s rapid growth plans. 

Lucy continues: “For us at Deazy, we have an entire in-house team focused just on the process of vetting and onboarding development teams. I think this is a clear indicator of just how labour intensive hiring and maintaining a pool of ambitious and talented developers can be.”

So what is the solution?

While the tech talent crunch has been ongoing for the past 10 years and the options for outsourcing have evolved, it's only been in the past few years that new players in the tech talent market have emerged.

New players (such as us, Deazy) are blending previous outsourcing models with delivery expertise to create adaptive solutions built for change. 

They are creating development talent pools, combining three key elements

  1. The on demand nature of the temp market or freelance marketplace with
  2. The quality and expertise from companies of experienced software dev teams and finally,
  3. The added layer of operational excellence of a managed service with a delivery guarantee.

Businesses like ours work on approaching tech talent from a new angle which allows agencies to be more ambitious about the clients and projects they take on. Unlike freelancing marketplaces, these new development talent pools allow agencies to build a collaborative partnership with a single partner - rather than working with many development houses. 

The flexibility offered by working with delivery and resource experts allows agencies to avoid the common mistakes highlighted by our delivery experts. Below we share a little bit about how different areas of our offering allow agencies to avoid the common pitfalls of working with developers.

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Flexibility and a diverse skill set

Working with a large pool of developers sourced from different teams and development houses allows digital agency businesses to step away from the concept of ‘specialising’ in one specific tech stack. While they can choose to specialise in a wider offering such as focusing on mobile specific delivery - having no limitations when it comes to available technologies can widen the scope of potential clients. 

In the long term, this helps with being able to say yes to more opportunities regardless of tech stack - without having a large, often partially unutilized dev bench. 

“Our development teams are used to moving fast and onboarding onto a project in just a few weeks” shared Lucy, talking about Deazy’s development solutions. “This means our agency clients are able to pitch to potential clients with more ambition, knowing our developers can take on a new project or plug into an existing in-house team with ease.”

By taking advantage of this flexibility and diverse skill set, agencies are able to win more and grow their businesses with ease - knowing that Deazy’s trusted and vetted developers can  be switched on-and-off as needed.

Access to a pool of experts 

Working with a curated talent pool of developers, such as the one offered by us, allows digital agencies to get access to highly skilled and sought after developers. These are experts they would not be able to find through a freelance marketplace. 

“I think what agencies often forget when working with expert third-party devs, is that these people are really smart individuals with a real breadth of experience.” Shares Giorgia Spencer. “These developers often have a huge amount of expertise and are able to guide projects in a certain direction, through discovery, scoping and advising if needed.”

Finding developers through the traditional routes of freelance marketplaces makes it almost impossible to get access to the best developers. This is because these devs are unlikely to be actively looking for new jobs and opportunities. 

By leveraging a curated and flexible pool of experts, digital agencies can browse through dev profiles, finding team members who have experience in the skills they believe to be the most important.

For a digital agency’s in-house development team, collaborating with a third-party expert can be a great way to gain new skills. What’s more, having a highly skilled developer on your team will help with training junior developers.


Collaborative partnerships

Working with a long-term resourcing partner can allow agencies to build a good relationship, with mutual trust and a sense of responsibility. Unlike last-minute developers, sourced from freelancer marketplaces - a long-term collaboration means both parties are equally invested in the success of a project. 

“For each of our agency partnerships, we have worked hard to create a relationship built on trust.” shares Lucy Judd. “Our partners know they can rely on Deazy to get projects back on track. We take on agency responsibility, caring from each project as much as our clients.”

Lucy continues: “There really is that emotional attachment. You’re not giving your project to a nameless international team, it’s about collaboration and shared success.” 

This emotional attachment and collaborative mindset differentiate these partnerships from simply outsourcing to anonymous international teams.

Creating a long-term partnership with a resourcing partner is about working together, fostering shared success, and achieving desired outcomes through joint effort. This allows agencies to find a ‘strategic ally’ in a development partner, who can help drive project success and maximise profitability.

Shared Risk Mitigation

By collaborating with a development partner that offers access to a large pool of developers, agencies can share project risks and enhance project delivery. A long term, collaborative relationship means both parties feel a sense of personal responsibility when it comes to project completion.

A development partner can also provide the flexibility for adding extra resources to address workload concerns, mitigating the risk of project overruns. 

Additionally, if a development partner offers project oversight, including QA, product management, and design resources, a digital agency can be certain that their projects will have comprehensive support and risk management through it’s entire lifecycle.

This collaborative partnership enables agencies to tap into expertise, optimise project outcomes, and minimise risks, ultimately driving successful project delivery and maximising profitability.


One-to-many model

The one-to-many model of working with a single partner who provides access to multiple development teams offers significant benefits for agency businesses.

By consolidating their partnerships, agencies can save valuable time on administrative tasks, onboarding processes, and relationship management. With these resource-draining activities outsourced, agencies can allocate their time and energy more productively.

“Our in-house delivery partner team purely focuses on making sure our development teams are happy, motivated and engaged.” shared Giorgia Spencer. “This allows our agency clients to focus on other things, knowing that developers will be available for their next project kick-off."

"This is something that we’ve found really helps agency businesses grow more rapidly, as they are able to use their extra headspace to plan, and execute ambitious goals.” 

The streamlined one-to-many model empowers agency businesses to optimise their operations and leverage the expertise and resources of a reliable delivery partner, driving efficiency and success.

Start making development easy!

Digital agency businesses often make simple, but easy-to-make mistakes, which drain profits and hinder project delivery.

To address these challenges and optimise operations, agency directors need to turn to modern resourcing solutions, which allow them to deliver projects more smoothly, offer a wider range of tech capabilities and maximise profitability. 

At Deazy, we offer one of these modern solutions. 

By leveraging Deazy's services, agencies can avoid the financial burden of idle developers, and access a pool of experienced, skilled developers.

Working with flexible development talent helps prevent the overstretching of in-house teams and mitigates the risks of overpromising deliverables. What’s more, with Deazy's in-house team taking care of team management, agency directors can focus on big picture plans and growth strategy. 

Deazy provides flexibility, diverse skill sets, and access to expert developers, allowing agencies to say yes to more opportunities and win more clients. Collaborative partnerships foster trust, shared responsibility, and joint success, while mitigating risks associated with project delivery.

Learn more about how our teams can help supercharge your digital delivery by booking a call with a member of our team today!

About Deazy

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