Our Relationship-Based Approach To Engagement
At SGW, we build relationships first — before a scope document. Get acquainted with our engagement structure here.
Why It Works
We prioritize your successes over simply getting through projects
With increased knowledge, we build products that align with your goals
Allows for Adaptability
Removes pressure from you and activates our world-class product development team
Relationship First, Scope Second
What has been your experience working with product development firms? Have the projects been successful and focused on results? Or have the projects felt like ongoing disputes of scope and budget? Over the yeats, we’ve found a major reason why there are so many breakdowns and project failures in our industry. And it has everything to do with how product development firms engage with their clients.
If you’re like most companies seeking product development work from a firm like ours, you’re likely familiar with the traditional model of engagement: you contact a firm, the firm obtains preliminary project details and creates a scope of work, and then, after you agree to the terms, development work begins. But then the work deviated from the scope and project must be re-scoped – again, and again.
The Traditional Engagement Model
NEW CLIENT CONTACTS FIRM
FIRM DETERMINES SCOPE OF WORK
CLIENT AGREES TO TERMS
PROJECT WORK BEGINS
DEVELOPMENT FINDINGS MEAN PROJECT MUST BE RE-SCOPED, REPEATEDLY
In years past, we followed the steps of the traditional engagement model. But there is uncertainty involved with any project that focuses on R&D or product development. By nature the work is packed with decisions that need to be made later — as these decisions can have a significant impact on budget, timelines, and viability of the end product. More often than not, a hard quote or scope sets an unfavorable precedent for the rest of the project.
First off, the scope itself will be based on assumptions. Those assumptions are typically incorrect, so the scope itself is then incorrect. There’s no way to know what a project scope truly entails for a product development project, since findings during development will define the subsequent work. This is actually a good thing, and is at the heart of development best practices. Any successful development requires the ability to pivot based on findings through development.
That’s why we believe there’s a better way.
How We’re Different
We view our client relationships as equally important to our product development work itself. For us to do quality work and develop products that matter, there must be real trust and goodwill between us and our clients. We have to want our clients to succeed — and vice versa.
We start with a low-risk engagement with the client that focuses on quickly defining the project together. We apply our proven process — and we work through it together with you. As we progress, we provide frequent review points at which you may choose to either continue forward with the effort, stop, or change course.
The SGW Designworks Engagement Model
NEW CLIENT CONTACTS SGW
SGW BEGINS DEVELOPMENT IMMEDIATELY
CLIENT AND SGW DEVELOP PROJECT PLAN TOGETHER
FREQUENT UPDATES, PIVOT AS NEEDED
Why Our Approach Works
We focus on building deep trust with our clients rather than basing the relationship on a rigid scope document. In the early phases of our process, we typically create specification documents that guide project work, but these documents serve to build and maintain alignment. Contrast this with a rigid scope document that becomes a constraint for the developers as well as the relationship.
When you engage our development team, we strive to first gain a solid understanding of your business, your objectives, and even what your hiring plan is over the long term.
That knowledge increases over time, and helps us build better products that more closely align with your goals. Rather than sticking to a rigid quote, scope, and re-scope cycle, we adapt to the ebb and flow that occurs with every project. This removes pressure from you, and activates creative problem solving rather than constraining it. In short, we’re prioritizing our clients’ successes over simply getting through projects. This may seem like a small change, but it is a major shift from the industry norm.
It allows us to demonstrate our value very quickly, builds lasting relationships, and our clients are reaping the rewards.
“The team at SGW Designworks consists of talented, deep thinkers who have elevated the product development process by engaging with us in a new way, which has proven to be very effective. Their collaboration to bring reality to LodeStar Works’ personally authenticated firearm has been fast paced and on target — with timely communication and professionalism.”
— Ginger Chandler, Co-founder/CTO, LodeStar Works