How to effectively follow the development of a website entrusted to a web agency?

development of a website

Entrusting the development of its website to a web agency or a freelancer does not mean that you will have nothing more to do. To get a website that meets your objectives, it is strongly advised to get involved in the different stages of development of the website. This involves understanding the overall organization of the project, identifying key issues and areas of shadows to anticipate any potential problems. In this article we will help you to effectively follow the development of a website entrusted to a web agency .

General organization of the web project

Before seeing concretely what should be the role of the client in the different phases of website development, it is useful to shed light on some aspects of the organization of the web project, generally defined from the commercial proposal of the Agency .

Traditional method vs agile methods

According to the methodology used by the web agency, the role of the client can be very different. Even though each web agency adopts its own organization, we can nevertheless distinguish two main families of methodology in terms of website development.

  • Traditional Methods: In this scheme, still used by the majority of web agencies, needs are defined in full in a specification very complete before the development of the website. The technical team then cuts out the specifications and develops the website without interactions with the customer until the delivery of the website and the recipe phase.
  • Agile methods: Within the framework of agile methods like Scrum , the development of the website is organized in short cycles, sprints. The functional requirements are refined sprint after sprint, and the delivery of developments after each sprint allows to reorient the project if necessary. Agile methods are mostly used for complex projects, although the use of this method by many startups suggests that this is a good method for small projects that need regular evolutions to respond perfectly To the needs of their target.

More and more web agencies are combining the two approaches. The initial specifications remain rather general, the functional needs are refined as development progresses, but there is no delivery of the modifications every two weeks. In the rest of the article, we will assume that this is a project carried out within the framework of a traditional methodology.

Zoom on some key points to validate with your web agency

Before starting the development of the site, it is important to validate a certain number of points with your web agency. These points can be specified in the agency’s proposal or initially exchanged. Be careful to keep a written record of the obligations of the service provider, particularly in terms of functional scope and timing.

  • General planning: Most web agencies provide general planning from the commercial proposal. In many cases, the specifications are specified after the order form. It is necessary to make sure to ask for an update of the general planning once the functional perimeter of the website is specified.
  • Commitment to delays: While delays, often significant, are very common in website development. It is entirely possible to require a financial penalty if the deadlines are not met. For example, a penalty of 5% can be imagined for each week of delay, possibly after 2 weeks of “normal” delay.
  • Milestones : It is strongly advised to plan regular milestones at the outset throughout the development of the site. Generally, interactions with the web agency are very numerous at the start (validation of the models, details of the functionalities, etc.), but later, the web agency tends to remain quite silent. By providing milestone points in the middle of development, this not only allows you to track progress and anticipate potential problems, but it is also a constraint that prompts your web provider to develop the site step by step, And not to wait a week before the delivery date to do a large part of the work.
  • Recipe time: The recipe phase (or debugging) is really very important. Some providers tend to propose short recipe phases, ie less than two weeks, to close the project quickly. The desired changes after the end of the recipe phase are generally subject to additional invoicing. If you are not sure that you can spend several hours a day testing the site during the recipe phase, we encourage you to insist on a fairly long recipe phase.

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