Blog Friday Q&A

Friday Q&A: Considering hiring an agency to build your product? Read this first.

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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

This week’s question comes from Maher, who asks:

As many who follow the blog know, we hired an agency to build the prototype of our product.

At the time, it was the best solution we had. And there were a lot of benefits to it, especially when it came to speed.

Maher’s concern, however, is a very valid one.

There isn’t a single developer on our team who was there for our first line of code. That’s a huge challenge. Not only does it sometimes take longer to find bugs and fix problems, but it’s a morale issue, too. I would have loved for our team to feel the “ownership” of the product that comes with having built it from day one.

Still, our story proves that, in answer to Maher’s question, yes, it can be done.

I’d make sure that you take an important precaution, though:

In the sales process, make it very clear that being able to take over the codebase and build on it will be very important to you. Find out how the agency plans to address that need and manage the handover.

Have a very technical person on your team (or, hire a consultant if you don’t have one) act as the “inspector” to make sure that the agency’s plans are sound. And have that person talk to the agency’s past clients (who also had their products handed over for internal takeover) about how smoothly the process went. Try to talk to clients both from the very recent past (about the handover process) and the more distant past (about the enduring quality of the code).

I’m not a technical founder, and this is how I would approach it.

I know that we have far more technically advanced people in our community, and I’d love to hear what you think: what should Maher do?

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From “aha” to “oh shit”, we’re sharing everything on our journey to $10M in annual revenue. We’re learning a lot and so will you.

About the Author

Alex Turnbull is the CEO & Founder of Groove (simple helpdesk software for small businesses) who loves to build startups and surf.

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