How DECODE supports and collaborates with design agencies

January 18, 2023

Best software products have 1 thing in common:
Design & development synergy.

Founders around the world expect a turnkey solution for their digital product.
They want the UI/UX team and the tech team to work simultaneously.

Minimizing the risks of misunderstanding.

If the two parties don’t collaborate, it can lead to many obstacles and cause budget overruns for the client.

In this article we’ll explain how independent software and design agencies can collaborate in order to meet the modern client’s requirements.

Where designers and engineers overlap in software development

Even though the areas of expertise for designers and engineers are different, their collaboration in each development phase can enrich the entire project.

Development naturally comes after the UX/UI is finished. But that doesn’t mean that developers or software architects should not collaborate with designers and other stakeholders before that. Just the opposite.

Overlaps of designers and engineers in software development

The image shows three main phases of software development as well as their different functions and their main responsibilities.

For example, designers, software architects, and developers are all involved in product discovery, but at varying degrees. 

A project manager, however, oversees every phase of the development process in a more of a supervisory role.

Areas of software development
Main responsibility
Supporting roles

Product discovery

Product discovery

PM
Software architect
Developers

UX/UI

UX/UI designer

PM
Software architect
Developers

Development & QA

Developers

PM
UX/UI designer

Additionally to the image the table shows whose main responsibility is each phase and who only acts as a supporter.

As said before, not every supporting role is involved equally. Let’s take a look at the next image to analyse the degree of involvement.

Degree of involvement between designers and developers in software development.

You can see for example that our developers and software architect would play a supporting role in both product discovery and UX/UI design, offering technical guidance. 

Product discovery and UX/UI involves software architects and developer about 5% to 25% of their time. On the other hand, these phases would take a project manager from 20% to 60% of his time.

It’s in Development & QA where we would truly take over the work and provide the most value by creating the solution and implementing your design vision seamlessly. 

It’s also important not to neglect the role of developers in the UX/UI design phase. Getting feasibility feedback about your early design can save both you and your client a lot of time and money.

Also, the design tends to be more accurate when a tech team is standing by while designers create wireframes, flows and prototypes. 

The same goes for product discovery where the collaboration between a project manager, designers, a software architect, and engineers gives the best results.

What can happen if this is not the case? 
Business & design ideas don’t match tech possibilities. This leads to deadline extension and overrunning the budget.



In order to not let that happen a collaboration between a software and design agency would be ideal. 

Let’s check out all of the areas where we support design agencies.

Areas where we support design agencies

Senior engineers are able to help in every stage of software development. Starting from creating offers and project estimations to design feedbacks and user testing. 

roles and resposibilities of designers and developers in software development

As you can see from the above image, our software architect will work closely with your designers in creating the offer and doing product discovery. Their involvement in other phases will be smaller, yet equally important.

The software architect’s technical expertise and years of experience in the field will allow you to offer and create balanced solutions for your clients.

They aren’t the only role DECODE can help you with. Have a look.

Different roles in software development in different stages of the project.

The above graph shows where and to which extent DECODE’s other roles help you in various phases of development. 

At certain stages, our developers will be in a more supportive, although important role, but when it comes to software development all you’ll have to do is sit back and watch from afar as we make your design a reality.

When it comes to project managers, you can decide whether you want yours or ours. Either way our PM will be on standby ready to take over if needed.

Now, let’s go into more detail about every stage of development we can help you with and all of the benefits of our involvement.

1. Helping in crafting powerful offers 

Creating a good offer is crucial to reaching success with potential clients. Design agencies are no different.

DECODE can play a pivotal role in making that perfect offer.

Here’s how we do that:

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Our involvement

  • Technical consultancy for your designers and your client
  • Creating a demo if needed, to determine the complexity of the project
  • Identifying the tech stack and 3rd party integrations needed for the project
  • Offering technical solutions to your client’s needs
  • Defining the scope, timeline and budget for the project

Roles involved

Here’s an overview of who’ll be involved and to what extent.

High involvement

UX/UI Designers– While you’re going to have the main word here, you’ll always be able to consult and brainstorm with all of our stakeholders.

Project manager – They’ll oversee the offer and provide a timeline and a budget based on the proposed solution. This will greatly help with structuring the project and making it manageable.

Software architect – They are crucial in creating and making sure the proposed solution is feasible. In collaboration with your designers, they’ll create a balanced proposal both implementable and usable.

Low involvement

Development team – on standby and jump in when specific expertise is needed for the offer.

Your benefits

Here’s why you’ll benefit from having us work on your offer with you.

  • Being able to offer development along with design will increase the value of your offer
  • Even if you take us on only in a consulting capacity you’ll still be able to provide “technically approved” design
  • Offering perfectly synced solutions between both design and development
  • Your client won’t have to look elsewhere for development making the offer all the more appealing

A good offer is half the battle won. Now let’s move on to the other half.

2. Assisting with product discovery

Product discovery is the second point in the software development process where we can provide you with value.

It details the proposal given in the offer and tries to cover different angles of the product.

There are 3 angles product discovery must cover:

  • Value
  • Usability
  • Feasibility

Our business analysts and designers can help you with value and usability respectively, but you probably have that covered.

Where we’ll stand out is the feasibility part, answering questions such as: 

  • Can the solution be made?
  • How can it be made? (tools and technologies)
  • What are the technical risks and limitations of the solution and how can they be mitigated?

Without having answers to these questions, this might happen:

Risks of a lack of communication between designers and developers.

Source: Eleken

Your designers might think something can be implemented, but without early collaboration with a technical expert, it will most likely be a wrong assessment.

In order to prevent that from happening, our subject matter experts can get involved in following ways.

Our involvement

Here’s what we can do in product discovery for you:

  • Offer insight into the feasibility aspect of product discovery
  • Provide ways to solve technical problems
  • Collaborate with you and your client during product discovery workshops
  • Provide the security expertise needed for modern digital products
  • Create app flows 

Let’s take a look at the roles involved.

Roles

High involvement

UX/UI designers – obviously UX/UI designers spearhead product discovery, creating early wireframes and doing user research.

Project manager – Overseeing and participating in product discovery workshops. Also, planning agile development based on the information coming from product discovery.

Software architect – Covers the feasibility side of product discovery.

Low involvement

Development team – Still on standby, but the team lead is more involved here in order to gain information for future development.

Your benefits

All of our involvement in handling product discovery for your clients yields the following benefits:

  • Adding a technical dimension to your product discovery process
  • You’ll have a technically approved product idea for your client
  • You’ll have a ready complete solution for your client (tech stack, integrations, etc.)
  • You’ll offer a more precise estimation of timeline and budget, increasing your credibility

Product discovery is only one of the ways we can support your design agency when dealing with your clients. Let’s take a look at how we can help with your design, too.

3. Complementing your design 

As a design agency, you’re more than likely competent designers. But is that enough?

Often, misunderstandings can happen between developers and designers due to different processes.

When they don’t work together early on, this is what happens:

misunderstandings between designers and software developers.

Source: Eleken

Need I say more?

All that being said, take a look at how you can involve us in your design process in order to maximize results.

Our involvement

Here’s how we support your design process:

  • We’ll have an initial meeting with your designers making sure we’re in the loop immediately 
  • We’re ready to always provide feedback on your design from a technical perspective.
  • Early on, we’re familiarized with the specific aspects of your design i.e. components, colors, typography, etc.
  • From our experience working in different industries, we can advise you on best practices within them when it comes to design.
  • Prepared for design handoff so we can start development ASAP

Roles involved

High engagement

UX/UI designers – You’re still the main actors and we can still assist you with our own designers. As you design, you can bounce any technical uncertainties off our software architect or team lead.

Project manager – Oversees the design schedule if needed. Can also keep your team aligned with the client’s requirements.

Low engagement

Software architect – always available to provide technical support, keep your client updated if needed, and prepare smooth handoff for the development team.

Development team: Ready and waiting for their time to shine!

Your benefits

Here are the benefits of our support for your design process:

  • Collaboration with developers early on
  • Technical advice for your design every step of the way
  • Easy handoff due to regular communication

While our expertise is valuable to your designers, it will be much more valuable in the development phase.

4. Providing software development & testing 

This is where it gets interesting.

Our specialty is providing custom software solutions to our clients. Mobile or web, it doesn’t matter to us.

Chances are, your clients need to go elsewhere for software development. It’s also very likely that creates problems such as:

  • Late communication between your designers and development
  • Their developers can’t implement your design which leads to needing to make fundamental changes,
  • As your deadlines get stretched, the relationship with your client can suffer

And that’s the last thing anybody wants. So let’s take a look at what we do for you in this phase.

52159902511 b65e17bb7f o 1 1

Our involvement

  • Crafting the custom software solution for your client
  • Ensuring your design is implemented completely
  • Syncing with your designers regularly so they can check the code
  • Agile project management to ensure constant biweekly output
  • Providing regular updates to you or your client if needed
  • Rigorous testing to ensure constant high-quality code

Roles involved

High engagement

Software developers – Under the guidance of an experienced software team lead, they become the stars of the show. Through agile development methods, our software team implements your design 100%. In tandem with the QA team, they deliver top-grade heavily tested software.

Project manager – Their main job here is at the beginning of development. They’ll plan and schedule sprints for the development team and oversee their completion later.

Software architect – Becomes a bridge between You/your client and the development team, regularly updating you on the progress of development and ensuring your client’s business needs are met.

Low engagement

UX/UI Designers – The engagement required from you is minimal, other than reviewing our progress as regularly as you’d like. 

With roles out of the way let’s look at the benefits of having us develop your client’s custom software solution.

Your benefits

  • You transform into a full-service agency without actually having to be one
  • You can have 100% oversight of our development process, making sure all of your design vision is met
  • Working with developers knowledgeable on all material guidelines whether they’re for Android or iOS HiG
  • Ability to make quick changes to either design or code if necessary

Development isn’t where our support for your design agency stops. So let’s take at what we do at launch.

5. Helping your client launch

As version 1.0 comes close here’s how we enrich your client’s processes:

Our involvement

  • We do final testing making sure the product is stable, secure, and bugfree
  • We do app store optimization
  • We use user feedback tools to collect valuable data in order to start planning iterations
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Roles involved

High engagement

Development team – Makes sure everything is stable and ready for release.
Software architect – Communicates final preparations to you/your client.

Low engagement

Project manager – Oversees smooth project completion.
UX/UI designers – Minor design tweaks if necessary.

Your benefits

  • Smooth launch of the client’s product
  • Less workload for your team
  • Ensuring your client gets a stable product at the initial release

There’s only one, but important way left of how we support your design agency.

6. Helping your client grow

After launch we use our feedback tools and start creating a feedback loop. Here’s what we do here:

Our involvement

  • Analyze user data
  • Brainstorm new features and improvements with you
  • Prepare the new offer for your client
51503290554 67554ecd4b o 2 1

Roles involved

Here, the loop begins and the roles and their duties are essentially the same as they were in the first offer.

High involvement

UX/UI designers
Project manager
Software architect

Low involvement

Development team

Your benefits

This part of the software development cycle actually turns an okay product into a great product.

  • By listening to users, you can make meaningful iterations for your client, making each version better than the last
  • New features offered to your client are technically approved and based on user and market research
  • Prolonging and improving your relationship with your client

With all of the ways we can support your design agency out of the way, now’s the time to summarize!

Conclusion

Everything being said, let’s recap what you get from our collaboration.

The new services you’ll be able to offer:

  • Software development
  • Quality assurance
  • Technical consultancy
  • Product launch
  • Product growth

How we’ll boost your existing services:

  • Your offer will be more complete and valuable to your client
  • Your product discovery will get an important development angle
  • Your design will be made with functionality in mind from the start

What are the results of all of this?

Time? Saved.

Money? Saved.

Client pool? Bigger.

End-product? Better. 

Revenue? Increased.

Hiring headaches? Non-existent.

Interested? Let’s talk.

Categories
Written by

Ivan Marinac

Tech Advisor
Written by

Ivor Cindric

Business Development Manager

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