Traditional IT Companies Are Slow and Expensive — Why Are Companies Still Using Them?

Lauren Macpherson
Apr 30, 2019 · 3 min read
Image by Lorenzo Herrera

The Agile Manifesto for software development is now 18 years old. It has revolutionised the way we produce digital products and connect complex IT infrastructures. Companies that have embraced organisational agility and digital innovation are improving their quality, scalability and longevity.

Except some have not. As a company, we are often joined in client meetings by IT providers who repeatedly make the same mistakes:

  1. They often send a project manager, who won’t have the answers to questions.
  2. They still use a Waterfall Method for working.
  3. Their projects will have significantly longer trajectories than our proposal and therefore cost much more.
  4. Their proposals are unsubstantial and lack detail about the timings, methodology and reasoning behind the project.

Project Managers Make Projects Slow

In an agile project team like ours, you would have a project lead, with a product development background. They would understand the entire process and be used to working collaboratively with teams no bigger than 3 people strong. This already saves a lot of time, potential confusion and mistakes that arise from dealing with a project manager who is inexperienced in development, with a large team back at the office split across various, unconnected disciplines.

Waterfall Development is Inefficient

Waterfall development restricts your ability to learn and iterate during a project and leaves you with a lot of technical debt to untangle. This method is neither neat, scalable, or accessible.

Agile is about building functionality in stages, or Sprints, that enable you to test and improve fast. You create a pattern for a situation, duplicating it for different inputs and outputs. That way the system works the same and connects every time, and you don’t build an entirely new logic for each part as IT companies would traditionally do.

Imagine your IT system is a tanker ship. You need to have this infrastructure to begin with. But to make changes is a huge task and has its risks. Manoeuvring is slow. And if you need a new one, it will take a huge amount of time and money.

Lean and Agile digital software development is like having a speedboat. Adapting and improving it is easy. Manoeuvring is quick. They are cheaper and faster to build. They integrate with your existing infrastructure and provide connections between it and the world of other products, tools and information around it.

Most Projects Do Not Need to Take More Than 6 Months

On average, the quotes we see from IT companies cost 4 times more than ours and will usually take 4 times longer. Typically, we can build an MVP in less than 3 months that would take another 2–3 months to incrementally improve into a fully functioning product that is secure, scalable and accessible.

Clients Deserve Transparency

With a vast wealth of information online about how almost everything works, it makes sense to be upfront about your plan and methodology when working on a project. Agile processes encourage stakeholder involvement in every phase and rely on the feedback of real end-users to make the best product possible. We know to hand over a plan with just an end goal, deadline and cost is not enough to make a client feel comfortable anymore.

In Conclusion

We are not saying that you don’t need IT companies, but there are often cases when Agile software development companies can do it better, especially when it comes to building digital solutions.

In the past when computing relied on mainframes and servers, we needed these big complex IT infrastructures. But now we are in the Cloud era; API’s, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning mean we now have capabilities beyond this rigid and limited way of working. And IT companies need to adapt to this change or risk losing out as more and more customers seek out Agile developers for their digital transformation projects.


Lauren Macpherson

Written by

Growth and business strategy consultant specialising in digital innovation // @ &



Be humble. Build products. — Building user centered digital products with forward thinking companies, from Fortune 500 to promising startups.

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