Collaboration between a client and an agency is essential for the success of a design project. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, this collaboration does not always go as planned. For example, miscommunication may occur, or one side may be overly dominant in imposing their ideas.

If you're looking to improve collaboration between a client and an agency on a design project, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll provide some steps you can follow to help ensure a smooth and seamless collaboration process.

From defining the project scope and setting expectations, to using collaboration tools and being open to feedback, these tips will help you and your team work together to create a successful design project. So let's get started!

Client and Agency Collaboration

Clearly define the project scope, timeline, and expectations

What is the project's scope? 
Does it include design research? 
Who is in charge of finding participants for the user testing?  
How is the timeline? 
How many revisions are permitted? 
What is the consequence if one party is unable to meet the deadline? 

Here are some of the questions that both the client and the agency should ask and agree on before the project begins.

There should be a written agreement from the beginning to help avoid any misunderstandings and also keep the project on track. So, if something goes wrong in the middle of the process, you can always refer back to the agreement.

Communicate regularly and openly

Next, let's establish a regular communication schedule and be open and transparent with each other. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and can address any issues or concerns quickly.

For instance, decide what communication platform will be used to communicate. Who is the person in charge of this project? What type of meeting should be conducted along the way: would it be offline or online?

Use collaboration tools

Related to the previous point, you can consider using a collaboration tool, such as project management software, to facilitate communication and collaboration. This can help both parties stay organized and track the progress of the project.

There are a number of tools available. Here are some popular ones:

Slack → A tool for teams to communicate and collaborate. You can create channels for different topics or projects, and then use those channels to share files, have conversations, and work on tasks together. 
Trello → A tool for organizing your tasks and projects. You can create boards and cards to keep track of everything you need to do, and use the collaboration features to assign tasks to team members, attach files, and leave comments.
Asana → This tool is similar to Trello in that it allows users to create boards and cards to organize their tasks and projects, equipped with other collaboration features.
Google Drive → This tool is used for storing and collaborating on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You can create and share all sorts of stuff, and use the collaboration tools to leave comments and make edits in real time.

Foster a positive working relationship

A positive working relationship can lead to better collaboration and creativity. When the agency and the client are able to trust and respect each other, they are more likely to feel comfortable sharing ideas and providing constructive feedback. This can lead to better designs and a higher quality final product.

Overall, it will make the project more enjoyable for everyone involved, don’t you agree?

Be open to feedback and willing to make changes as needed

Design is a collaborative process, and both agency and client have ideas for how to improve the project. Let's listen to each other and incorporate feedback to create the best possible outcome.

If you’re someone from the design agency, keep in mind that each client may not have the same level of design knowledge. So, when explaining something related to design ideas or design decisions, explain thoroughly how the decision will meet the needs of the client and client's users.

And, if you are a company that is partnering with an agency to improve your company's digital product, bear in mind that you are hiring a design consultant who is an expert in the field. Explain your expectations and the goals you want to achieve, but don't be too pushy. A helicopter view from someone outside of your company is sometimes required for more objective feedback and suggestions.

Client and Agency Collaboration

There is a good way to provide constructive feedback, and it is known as the "I like, I wish, What if” method.

I like → First, tell what you like about the design or an idea to provide positive feedback and encouragement. For example, you can mention specific features that you think are effective.
I wish → Then, mention things that you think could be improved. Here, the goal is to provide criticism.
What if → Lastly, suggest ideas for how the design could be expanded or taken in a new direction. This could include offering alternative approaches or encouraging one another to explore new possibilities.

All in all, successful collaboration between a client and an agency is crucial for creating a successful design project. Happy collaborating!

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