In some cases, hiring a design or a development agency is a controversial step for a start-up. I’ve seen companies struggling with their first MVP just because finding technologically skilled people is so time-consuming. A recently closed investment round does not help you to make hiring any faster.
Founders are just afraid of the legal risks that using an agency might bring when an IP is created outside of the company. Instead of hiring legal help, it’s better just to have everything in-house.
The experience of running the agency for many years has shown that start-ups use us mainly for two obvious reasons — scaling up quickly, including getting their first product version out, or for implementing a side business or experiments that are further away from the core of their start-up’s current business.
But there are also other services that an agency can help you with and that are not so obvious.
Raising your first seed investment
The next best thing to close investments is a working prototype and a sexy-looking presentation.
Let’s say you have a great idea and you have an excellent business plan, but you need investment to make the first minimum viable product. Investors, on the other hand, are not so keen to invest in just an idea.
The next best thing to close investments is a working prototype and a sexy-looking presentation. A hired designer can put together a clickable prototype that looks close to the final product. Once you have the visuals of the product, these can be rendered on the device mock-ups and added to the investor’s deck. Now you’ll have an attractive presentation with product images and prototypes that you can share and get potential investors to use as well.
Sure, it is not removing the fact that you need to develop the product and get some engagement, but it does help to describe and feel what you are trying to build — and hopefully close the investment as well.
CTO for rent
Ideally, start-ups have the founding team covering different aspects of the product — sales, business development, technology, and design. But we’ve also seen good ideas coming from industries where technology is not the first driver. You might not have a co-founder helping you make decisions on the tech platform, assess the risks of technology, or even hire the right personnel.
Agencies have built a number of products and seen cases of failure and success. So, why don’t you hire an external team to set the technology choices in place, make the architecture, and prepare the requirements for your future job advertisement for the CTO hire?
Scale up with remote teams
Agencies don’t necessarily want to do things in-house. So, you can hire a team to complete certain tasks.
When meeting founders all over Europe, I hear a repeating story of failure when using remote teams. Mostly, it’s the story of hiring a team from Asia or, in some cases, Eastern Europe. In many cases, it’s a failure because the software does not meet the business goals.
I work with teams in Vietnam, India, and Ukraine while managing product development processes for our clients in Europe. It is clear that there is a “lost in translation” problem because no one can translate the business requirements into technical tasks. This means that the software is doing the bare minimum of what a high-level business requires. As a result, the product does not even come close to being viable for live release.
Agencies don’t necessarily want to do things in-house. So, you can hire a team to complete certain tasks. You will want to do the following things:
- Evaluate the team and the company you’re planning to hire.
- Do a risk assessment, and choose the development methods.
- Manage backlog grooming, and make sure that technology tasks cover everything.
- Look at the code produced; evaluate its scalability and whether it meets the definition of being done.
This probably does not make the process cost-effective, but it does make it more scalable and reduces the risks that in many cases are very obvious.
Mobi Lab is a small design and development agency for customer experience of digital products. Its HQ is based in Estonia, in one of the most digitalised societies in the world. Mobi Lab is the only Google Certified Agency in the Baltic States.
Article was originally published at: https://lab.mobi/talk/start-ups-services/