AQ Presents: Good question! Should I stay or should I grow?

It's been a little while, but Good Questions is back!

There comes a time for every design firm when an opportunity comes along so exciting you can actually see the stars in your teammates’ eyes — but then someone suggests, “To do this right, maybe we need to build this ourselves.”

The next conversation that happens is crucial: do you alter the delivery to fit your team’s existing capabilities? Do you work with another team to deliver? Or do you permanently hire so you can deliver this project and others like it?

We recently had lunch with Andy Budd of Clearleft, in town for UX Days Tokyo, and the subject of in-house development came up. Working on the web since 1998, Budd stressed that building strong engineering relationships is crucial to building great products — but as external collaborators. He believes that this separation removes the temptation to force a brief into the firm’s technology stack, and allows designers to fight for the best UX to the end. Leaving decision-making to both design and development experts allows both parties to avoid putting their own firms at risk of unprofitability and, most importantly, deliver exactly what the client needs.

AQ has taken a different approach by internalizing engineering in order to bring design and engineer decisions into the same room; to shorten the feedback loop between disciplines and work through design/development trade-offs shoulder-to-shoulder.

Which approach has your team tried, and how has it worked out?

Posted on Jun 12, 2015

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