We believe you shouldn't hire an agency partner before you disentangle business requirements, write technical specifications, and align the internal stakeholders for your project.

Kicking Off a Business-Led Technology Project

March 14, 2023

Are you looking for partners for a new digital project?

How do you plan on doing it exactly?

Let me guess, you’ll ask for recommendations from colleagues and make some phone calls? Maybe you’ll use Google. Perhaps you’ll read curated reviews on Clutch or look for examples of their work.

Some agencies think that you should read their 20-page “thought leadership” book teaching business leaders how to hire an agency. We think that type of stuff is corny because (spoiler alert) their advice always ends with the recommendation to hire them.

How many hours have you spent vetting people before taking a meeting?

And for what?

So they can pitch you some absurdly high number (that they might exceed anyway) filled with all sorts of assumptions and blind spots? All hidden behind a fancy pitch deck or highly variable pricing model?

This is bad for everyone involved.

The dirty secret of our industry is that no advertising or marketing agency is going to commit significantly to having a business analyst, developer, or director of technology review any idea you have until you’ve already signed with them.

Every number you see is a hurried estimate and should be viewed with heavy suspicion.

If they can give you a semi-accurate time-and-materials bid, it’s usually because they’re (a) selling you something they’ve already sold before or (b) they have determined that you are a big enough fish that they’re willing to sacrifice a few un-billed internal hours to provide a semi-honest guesstimate.

When are you actually going to describe the project you want them to do for you?

How far into signing the contract with them will you get before you actually have a candid conversation about the technical requirements of what they’re building?

That’s why USEAGILITY specializes in the boring stuff that determines whether your new digital initiative will succeed or fail— project documentation, scoping, and planning.

Our primary service is a USEAGILITY Solution Manifesto, a document that includes the rudimentary, simple-feeling tasks many projects rush through or skip entirely:

  • a realistic schedule;
  • clear articulation of the business case for the project;
  • stakeholder alignment activities;
  • analysis of existing technical documentation;
  • system requirements;
  • use case diagrams;
  • plain language success/acceptance criteria for all technical components;
  • functional specifications;
  • a design language system or style tiles;
  • recommendations for decision gates to require further research and evaluation;
  • and an assessment of your organization’s readiness to complete and support the project.

Insisting on organizational alignment upfront (when it’s only words on a screen or sticky note) saves our clients from enormous heartbreak.

Our turnaround time is less than 30 days.

That’s it.

Our goal is to get you out the door with a strong foundation and clear path to solving with the perfect partner. It’s never going to be us, and that’s the point.

If your project can be built on Flutter, we’re going to send you to Code Koalas.

If you need a Craft CMS build, we’re going to send you to Mostly Serious.

If you need an iOS App yesterday, we’re going to recommend you talk to MountainDEV.

If you need Kansas City’s best visual storytellers (illustration and animation), we’re going to tell you to hire Whiskey Design.

If you need a full-funnel marketing partner (organic search optimization, paid ads, and/or influencer marketing), we’ll recommend you start with MBB.

If you want to hire devs to scale up your team, we’ll know some of those folks too.

And so on…

The point is, there isn’t one answer.

Our Solution Manifesto process is designed to connect your organization or project with full-service web/product agencies and development shops in a way that’s completely pain-free. And we don’t have financial relationships with anyone we recommend— we take our role as third-party arbitrators seriously.

We’re not developers, visual designers, marketers, advertisers, or SEO specialists—yet our core service offering is born out of our respect for all of these professions.

We’re teachers, researchers, and advisors that help you create, execute, and manage impeccable project plans.