If old delivery methodologies and supplier relationships are holding back your organisation’s ability to deliver efficient and effective digital products, perhaps it’s time to take a different approach.
Tristan White
Tristan White

If old delivery methodologies and supplier relationships are holding back your organisation’s ability to deliver efficient and effective digital products, perhaps it’s time to take a different approach.

Before we get into Delivery Design, picture the following scenario…

Your job is to work with teams to deliver products (there’s a gazillion different titles, but that’s your role). You have a product that needs building, and you have two options: use your in-house team or introduce an external partner.

Using your in-house teams is a great option, but if they’re not geared up for product development from the ground up, then it’s going to be a struggle to gain velocity and to get started.

Using an external partner is also a great option, because there’s a group of experts that can deliver your product, but this is for a substantial cost and your in-house team gains nothing in additional experience, not only that, but feels left out of the loop and unwanted.

Which team do you choose?

Whilst the answer is pretty straightforward, there are challenges that lie ahead. To help understand this, it’s important for us to address the client/supplier relationship a bit more.

The problem with traditional relationships

Broadly speaking, the traditional agency/delivery model has been evolving, out of necessity. According to The Bedford Group, the average length of a client-agency relationship has gone from 7.2 years in 1984 to less than three years today. Why? The old agency model is costly, over-head intensive, and is too focussed on the agency.

At a more granular level, the traditional model brings its own challenges, both operationally and culturally. For example, operationally, things could easily get overcomplicated with oversized project teams, too many gatekeepers, inefficiencies and ineffective solutions. And culturally, when working with two or more separate teams from different organisations, you have to contend with egos, agendas and differing priorities - sometimes resulting in a mental game of fisty cuffs.

In my, clearly, overactive imagination, I always imagine the scene from West Side Story, where the two rival teams are rhythmically walking towards each other low to the ground, clicking in unison. It symbolises a rivalry that really doesn’t need to be there.

Fundamentally, this behaviour fosters a bad culture. In the Agile world, as a team, we have one goal, and we solve it together. That’s the most exciting bit about working with great people on exciting products. We get to make some cool sh*t, fast!

Whilst some businesses want a traditional client/supplier relationship, for example to give the supplier the project, go away, solve it, and give it back to you, other organisations are looking to capture more value. But to add real rapid value, a different approach is needed. 

Introducing Delivery Design

There is a crucial distinction between a group of individuals working together and a team. Delivery Design synchronises the methodologies of Design Thinking and Agile Development and brings to life a blended team of in-house experts and specialist suppliers - either remotely, physically, or both – to deliver enhanced digital products and experiences.

But to deliver products that works for your business, your people and your customers, there’s more that lies underneath the surface to make it a success:

  1. It’s a mindset shift. Firstly, for any supplier, the word “client” should be banned. Instead, this is a partnership to create amazing stuff together. The supplier gets paid, and in return delivers great value in achieving the shared goal.
  1. Removing the “Them vs Us”. This starts from the bottom up, especially when augmenting the team together. Social Identity Theory (SIT) as coined by Henri Tajfel and John Turner helps to explain where this comes from, and how to alleviate it. People derive a sense of self from their personal identity and their association with one or more social groups; and as human beings we strive to enhance the status of the group to which we belong by granting superiority on our group, and inferiority on all others. If this isn’t managed properly, then the gap between “them” and “us” widens. Delivery Design helps to counteract this divide.
  1. To ensure that Delivery Design works, consider the mentality of an Agile team. As a Delivery Lead, really celebrating the success of the whole team, yes there’s going to be some crappy times when you haven’t fully achieved what you want because of some unforeseen issue, but that’s ok. Get back slapping, because a happy team with a great dynamic that’s empowered to have an opinion and is allowed to fail early is an incredibly efficient team.

What are the benefits of Delivery Design?

The benefits can be felt at a cultural, operational and commercial level.

Culturally, Delivery Design empowers in-house teams. It makes them feel a sense of ownership, and also allows for additional learning, learning that comes from new partners. Leveraging the best of both in-house and partners unlocks the potential to instil a cultural shift within the team, if necessary.

Operationally, no one knows the products or business like an in-house team, so why waste that knowledge? And suppliers get more exposure to different ways of working with different partners, so it really is a match made in collaboration heaven. Delivery Design complements an in-house team’s product and business knowledge by unlocking that team to deliver more effectively.

Commercially, augmenting additional help into the team means you don’t need a supplier to send in every man and their dog to work on the project, just the people needed to fill the holes, so the cost is often cheaper, with quicker results from collaborative working. The Delivery Design method allows for incredible value. A multi-faceted approach tackling training, mentality, collaboration and rapid product enhancements.

So, to sum up the benefits - it advances organisations at speed and enables business leaders to activate people, untangle process and bring opportunities to life. It helps to build a team that drives behaviour change, positive business outcomes and delivers radical impact. And notwithstanding the intangible benefits of building a happy team, it’s an incredibly fast way to deliver results and for better value.

In short:

  • Rapid turnaround
  • Cost effective
  • Indirect team training as a by-product of collaboration
  • Total product ownership internally
  • Tonnes of Progress towards the overall objectives
  • Delivery in a more “Agile” fashion

Is delivery output holding back your business? Expose weaknesses and highlight operational wins with Etch Products’ Delivery Pressure Test, or if you’d like to discuss how Delivery Design will work for your organisation, get in touch.

Discover more and stay connected with the Etch Group

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