Mike Monteiro posted an article on Medium last month called “These 8 Tricks to Selecting a Design Partner Will Amaze You” that inspired us into a slow clap. Monteiro stresses the importance of understanding the relationship between the client and the designer, encouraging a partnership based on mutual respect, knowledge sharing and realistic expectations.
If we take his points further we can apply these principles to any working relationship. In order for a partnership to work, there must be mutual success between the two parties. Success is not automatic by providing a service well — that service has to add value toward a business goal.
Your partner must be immersed in who you are as an organization, understand your business goals and know how to apply their craft to help you be successful.
A good partner helps you find long-term, sustainable solutions to your business problems. They ask hard questions. They go above and beyond. They are invested in your success. A true partner isn’t afraid to rock the boat if it leads to better, more strategic solutions.
Before signing on with a strategic partner, consider these questions:
- Do they know my goals enough to relay them back to me clearly?
- Do they understand my business problem?
- Can they identify barriers to achieving my goals?
- Are they asking thoughtful questions to for a deeper understanding?
- Can they map out an initial plan of how to help me?
- Are they giving me a clear picture of next steps and what to expect?
- Are they asking challenging questions rather than taking orders?
- Are they thinking long-term about how different solutions will scale and adapt?
- Are they working within my limitations?
- Do they describe their past work as business problems that were solved?
- Do I like these people? Would I enjoy working with them?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, you’re on the right track. When choosing a partner, focus more on the working relationship, the trust, track record and mutual respect less than a flashy portfolio or fancy use of buzzwords.
Originally published at backroom.io on October 30, 2014.