Doing Your “Homework” for Your Agency Dev Team

Business man sitting at his desk reviewing tasks on a piece of paper

Confession: we know some people who used to work in agencies who became the clients who had to be nagged to “do their homework.” After all the effort that goes into finding the right help, signing the agreement and letting the agency get to work feels like a great time to get back to everything else on your plate. 

Not so fast. 

Hiring outside help still requires onboarding the agency team, orienting them, and staying involved in the project. Even a straightforward sign off requires time to review the work closely to ensure that you know what you’re approving. Remember that back of napkin math we talked about when evaluating an agency versus an individual developer? It was based on the idea that a team can get X work done in 5 days, for example, instead of 15. 

The fine print is, if you’re not “doing your homework,” that 5 days with an agency can turn into more, and the back of napkin math starts to look a little ugly. When you hire an outside team to help, make sure your internal point person (maybe it’s you) has bandwidth for three key homework assignments. 


Before a project kicks off, and possibly while you’re still choosing an agency, please document your business’ processes. We know this is not the most fun, but this helps the agency team work out a better way to help you faster, and there are also general revenue and business continuity benefits from digital documentation. (Hint: AI can be your friend here.) 

During Development 

Once the project is underway, there are one and a half key homework activities: reviewing designs and also the acceptance criteria for each developed piece. 

Reviewing the designs often looks like a client opening a file and then sending back feedback along the lines of good/not good. Instead, put yourself in your end user’s shoes. 

  • Ask yourself: “Does this design help me do what it’s meant to do?” 
  • Ask other employees to reflect on the same thing 
  • Genuinely try to use the product during this stage and find where it needs improvement

In-progress code is much cheaper to change than finalized code ready to launch. 

A related homework assignment is to think like a process auditor while reading through the acceptance criteria (the criteria that support what “done” means and help keep the project scoped and in budget). This is the time to raise your hand to add or change any part of the planned build. 

Plans for code are even cheaper to adjust than in-progress code. 

As Development Finishes 

Once development is done, it will be tested in a quality assurance (QA) process. At The SilverLogic, your team will make videos for you – we bet you can guess the homework assignment! (Watch them, please.) 

You’ll also be given login credentials to the project, so repeat the assignment above for reviewing the designs, and do a thorough walkthrough. 

Bring your expertise in and consider edge cases (scenarios of how a customer might interact that are unlikely but still possible and could break the interface). The agency you work with should strive to get to know your domain, but will still benefit from your expert input making sure as many bugs and quirks are found and addressed as possible. 

We know you’re hiring outside help because you need, well, help! It’s difficult to make time to meaningfully run point on a project while juggling everything else on your plate. Being mindful of these key homework activities will help you help the agency stay on time and on budget. 

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