Product Design

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June 28, 2022

Digital Product: In-house or external team?

There are times when every company must decide if they need a little help from "outside" or if it's time to incorporate someone into the team, to make this decision we must see the advantages and disadvantages.

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This question always arises at the beginning of any great digital project, and the internal conversations around the decision contemplate doubts about the advantages and disadvantages of both options. Let’s see a summary of the comparison that companies make in this situation:

Experiencie

😊 External Agency

They learn from each other's experiences and share new knowledge, adding more value to products, and adopting the experience of other projects and areas.

😕 In-house Specialist

Internal staff work with only one type of project, as a result, they may lack innovative ideas and ultimately lose interest in the work.

Management

😊 External Agency

The control of activities and the definition of methodologies are carried out by the agency.

😕 In-house Specialist

Complete control over all internal activities (and therefore the strategy and costs of the design tasks).

Team

😊 External Agency

Wide range of experts for a project: UX designers, UI designers, researchers, graphic designers, consultants, and other specialists.

😕 In-house Specialist

It takes time and money to find the right candidates to build a self-sufficient team.

Deadlines

😊 External Agency

Steady work on the project, regardless of vacations, sick leave, or team rotation.

😕 In-house Specialist

The employee's days off must be taken into account within the project schedule.

Implication

😊 External Agency

Stable work on the project, regardless of vacations or leave. The agency team sets the scope of the project and delivers the results on time, but they don't have a deep buy-in to the company's long-term goals, values, or product vision.

😕 In-house Specialist

Internal employees are more involved in all processes and have a better understanding of the product, values, company culture, and brand philosophy.

Ultimately, the work of the people behind each product has a great impact on both the quality and the success of the project. It is for this reason that, when it comes to hiring an external agency, companies raise their concern regarding the possible loss of control, the deviation of goals, and the lack of involvement that the team may feel.

When having to decide on an internal specialist, we noticed that there is concern regarding the retention of talent, the failure to meet deadlines, and the lack of experience to solve possible unforeseen problems.ç

The conclusions obtained led us to seek a solution to mitigate these concerns and be able to provide a positive experience in the process of any digital product project. For this reason, and after analyzing the situation, at **elmeunebot,** we marked the **like-in-house-team** experience as one of our most outstanding values so that our clients can enjoy a third option in which they have all the benefits of an in-house specialist with extensive experience and working remotely.

What exactly does this mean? We have taken the best characteristics of in-house specialists and external agencies to mix them and offer an excellent product design team that does not have to be apart from the team sharing business goals as if we were in-house.

Being a like-in-house team has allowed us to have a balance, giving greater value to complying with business ideals and the participation of all our clients, while the experience of our transversal team allows the advice and commitment necessary for the success of the projects.

Despite everything, we understand that implementing this way of working is not suitable for everyone and that it is necessary to understand the advantages and disadvantages that this way of working provides:

Advantages as like-in-house-team

  • Stable project within deadlines and budget, since you do not have to worry about sick leave, vacations, or taxes for each employee.
  • Team with transversal experience in a design that allows advice and social skills that allow working proactively with clients.
  • Direct contact with designers without intermediaries. Communication becomes more effective when the client (who makes the decisions) communicates directly with the designer (who performs the scope of work).
  • An entire team to help. Faced with a difficult task, the team looks for solutions together and seeks the best solution.
  • When a larger team is needed to cover new design features, the team is always ready to expand the number of designers.

Disadvantages as like-in-house-team

  • It is not suitable for very small projects, for example, we cannot design only a few icons.
  • We cannot help if the deadlines are too tight, as we prefer to create well-thought-out solutions.
  • We cannot do everything without counting on the person in charge of the project. We look for clients who have time for daily communication and the exchange of opinions, we do not want to be designers who make decisions independently.

elmeunebot as Like-in-house-team

Being a like-in-house-team has given us the opportunity to apply methodologies with which **the entire team is able to get to know the client's organization, live the experience of being in direct contact with those responsible for the project and commit from start to finish as if it were our own project.

To achieve this, we start from the basis that each client has different needs and the perfect collaboration formula for one may not be perfect for the rest, which is why we encourage flexibility and understanding of the particular characteristics of each project to provide the best possible care at the times that are most needed according to each service provided. In this order, at elmeunebot we propose an **hourly pricing model,** which means that our clients pay an amount of money to receive design, branding or research profiles that are adjusted in dedication (full or part time) and quantity (how many people for each type of profile) according to the needs of the projects.

Another fundamental factor is the people and teams we work with, since we know they have a high impact on the success of the work we do. For us, working like-in-house-team is not about simply presenting the result to a client after having done the work with our internal team, it is about creating a collaborative environment between the people who make up both companies.

At elmeunebot we usually work hand in hand with managers, product managers, sales representatives, developers, marketing or operations. Depending on the magnitude of the project, the regularity of the meetings changes, but the content of them consists of maintaining the alignment of the work carried out and to be carried out with the objectives of the project.

Finally, as an agency we seek to establish important long-term relationships with our clients based on trust and integrity, which is why the transparency that everyone in the team provides is essential to define the expectations and the conditions of the agreements throughout all the process of work from the very beginning.

Whatever the scenario, choosing the type of team that best suits your digital product requires taking into account the type of project, the budget, the deadlines and the people involved for decision-making throughout the process. When choosing a model of cooperation or looking for a specialist, it is worth starting with your current situation and considering all the pros and cons that we have mentioned in this article.

If you are still not sure which is the best option for you and you want us to give you free advice, write to us at hola@elmeunebot.es to schedule a call.