How to get the most out of working with a Technical Partner
Treat it as a partnership
Whilst you probably initiated the relationship and they’re providing a service, it’s important to view your technical partner as more than just a supplier. There are a lot of moving parts — and risks — to building a tech business, and the agency you work with will have seen some of these countless times. Use their wealth of knowledge and experience in helping startups and scaleups to help guide you away from pitfalls and towards successes.
You’re all experts
You are an expert in your business, and your technical partners are experts in building that business. Understand that some decisions are yours alone to make, whilst others can benefit from the insights, guidance and technical know-how of the people you work with. Trust the opinions of those who have worked with tech businesses like yours before, and know that when they make suggestions, they have your best interests at heart.
A good technical partner will help to guide your business towards success - whatever that means for you. Being clear from the start about your goals and concerns helps to ensure that your tech team can give you personalised advice. Whether it’s working to alleviate stresses, planning a roadmap or harnessing a USP of your business, a technical partner can offer support when they understand your perspective.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
It’s hard to know what to expect when you first work with a technical partner, and there may be certain processes or technical terms that you’re not familiar with. Never hold back on asking questions - it’ll help build a shared understanding of your business and the agency process which will be hugely beneficial throughout your business journey. Often, the best solutions come out from asking the right questions.
Prepare for your catch-ups
Even in a pretty informal process, you’ll be checking in with members of the technical team on a semi-regular basis. Whilst it’s important for them to feed back to you on progress and concerns, these sessions are also an opportunity for you to articulate important news, business decisions and priority changes.
To allow for this, block out some of your own time before each catch-up to read through previous communications, make key decisions with your team, and gather together any questions or agenda points that you want to discuss. Doing this before a meeting with the technical team will maximise the productivity of your time together, and save on follow-up meetings and emails!
Maybe you’re looking to work with a marketing agency, or want to get company merch? Perhaps you’re in a position to start hiring your own developers? In any of these situations, your technical partner might be able to help. As a business themselves, they’ve likely been through a lot of this already - and probably have connections they’ve worked with before.
A tech partner will also know what to look for in new hires, so they can help cut through the technical jargon and find stand-out candidates. It’s always worth asking your partner to see how they can support your wider business needs.
Meet in person
Video calls are quick and efficient, but there’s no better way to get on the same page as your technical partner than to meet up in person. It doesn’t need to be too regular, but trying to block out a face-to-face meeting at least once every 3-6 months will give you an opportunity to communicate outside the bounds of a purely practical call.
Engage with the process
Tech teams have processes, which have often been developed through many months or years of trial and error. Whilst they may be alien to you, it’s worth doing your best to understand and integrate with these processes, as they’ve been created to allow your technical partners to do their best work. Whether it’s a sprint model for blocks of work or a tool for reporting bugs, you can keep the momentum high by working with the existing processes and being forthcoming when they don’t or can’t work for you.
All of these are small ways that you can cultivate a relationship with your technical partners that could benefit you beyond hands-on development work. Building a startup or growing a scaleup is a significant process, so it’s important to harness every opportunity and make the most of the expertise around you.
Here at Gravitywell, we work with startups and scaleups to build innovative, sustainable tech businesses. Our relationships with clients are all different and depend on their situations and needs — we’ve helped with everything from investment pitch decks to interviewing developers!
If you’re interested in working with us, drop us an email and we’ll be in touch.