When an Agency Loses its ‘Quality’ Mojo
As an agency owner or leader, you play several critical roles in ensuring your firm’s success. You are the rudder that provides your agency direction and the engine that propels it. You are also the visionary that unifies your team and inspires creativity. Finally, you are the seasoned practitioner that generates loyalty from your team and clients alike.
Given all that you juggle on a daily basis, it’s understandable if something temporarily goes askew. And, the fact is, sometime during your agency’s evolution, the emphasis on delivering the highest possible client work will take a ‘back seat’.
So, in this blog post, I tackle the issue of what to do when your agency loses its ‘quality mojo’.
But, before we dive into this issue, I invite you to leverage a practical Tip Sheet entitled, “Top 10 Things Interactive Agency Owners and Leaders Need to Know About QA”.
Why an Agency Lose its ‘Quality’ Mojo
Given all the reasons why it’s critical for your agency to create quality output , the question that has to be asked is, ‘Under what conditions does an agency actually lose its lust for quality?’. Practically speaking, agencies develop digital assets/campaigns that fall short of client’s requirements for quality when any, or all, of the following happen:
- An agency loses a piece of highly desirable work – and the reason for that loss is attributed to providing a project cost where quality assurance/testing is higher than expected;
- An agency’s overall profitability on a project is lower than required because the cost of conducting quality assurance/testing (within in-house or outsourced staff) is higher than targeted;
- An agency champion, who had the reputation for creating exceptional work while maintaining exceptional quality standards, leaves the firm;
- Project leaders who are under pressure to deliver on time and on budget, are ill-equipped to assess where quality in a digital asset/campaign matters most;
- The (evolving) metrics that clients use to measure quality for one or more projects go undefined and undiscussed during project meetings;
- The topic of the quality of work is omitted in client de-briefing sessions after a project is concluded.
How to Get Your ‘Quality’ Mojo Back
Fortunately, there are several actions that you can take to re-invigorate your agency’s passion for developing digital assets/campaigns that exceed clients’ requirements for quality. Here are four essential steps:
Step 1 – Emphasize ‘why’ producing exceptional digital assets/campaigns is essential to short- and long-term success. For example, in firm-wide meetings and project meetings, regularly share real-life examples of how team members benefitted from ensuring that client work met expectations of quality. Make sure to use positive anecdotes and humor rather than fear-based stories.
Step 2 – Identify the processes currently in place that are being used to establish and sustain quality throughout the different steps of a client’s digital project. In so doing, be sure to document the roles of the people involved, timelines, and types of deliverables. This is particularly important during the phases of the software development cycle because quality is ‘coded’ into the output. Identify gaps in skills that are lacking in-house.
Step 3 – Appoint a ‘quality champion’ who will serve as the agency’s go-to quality expert. This person should be able to draw upon internal and external resources to increase their dexterity with defining, monitoring, and measuring the quality of digital assets/campaigns.
Step 4 – Further socialize the emphasis/value that you place on quality by running quarterly ‘Quality Challenge’ contests (or hack sessions) in-house that recognize and reward the team members who demonstrably increases the quality of client work. Roll out steps designed to achieve a ‘balance of quality’.
In my next blog, I will tackle what to do when clients are prepared to sacrifice quality.
To help seasoned agency professionals be more successful, I invite you to use the QA Consultants authored tip sheet: ‘Top 10 Things Interactive Agency Owners and Leaders Need to Know About QA’.
The interactive agency landscape is always evolving. So, I welcome your insights about how the dynamic issue of quality is shaping your agency, your priorities, and your projects. By all means, reach out to me directly (via email BTurner at QAConsultants.com) or via LinkedIn.