Surprising….even shocking in some cases. That is how I describe the results of the inaugural State of Client Collaboration in Development & Design survey.
For some time, we have been hearing about some interesting client collaboration trends from Assembla users. For example:
- The Garrigan Lyman Group, a digital marketing agency in New York & Seattle, explained their methods of giving clients visibility into their process
- Global Pueblo Solutions, with office in Chicago and India, shared the pains (and solutions) of bridging distances and time differences for remote teams
- eWay Corp, a development company in NY and Iowa, explained the shifts that enabled them to capture more billable hours while ensuring client satisfaction
- Aware Web Solutions, a completely remote company, explained how they bring clients into the technical process in what they coined (and, honestly, we love the term!) “client-directed agile projects”
All of this got us wondering, what is truly happening out there with development and design companies that serve clients?
To that end, we co-sponsored a survey, of nearly 1,000 such companies, and the findings are fascinating.
Using the Results
On our end, we are using these results in redefining our product roadmap to create features that will serve your needs.
On your end, you can use these results to see how you measure up, understand where you may have a competitive edge, and prepare for the comings shifts in client collaboration tools and methodologies.
Key Findings from the Survey
I was challenged to select the top five most interesting findings and it was no easy feat! The survey findings are filled with facts and stats, trends and insights. Here are my top five. I wonder if you agree or if you found other information that is more eye-opening:
- Collaborations are morphing into long-term client relationships. I was surprised to learn that 44% of the companies surveyed already focus on long-term partnerships as opposed to "build us a website"-type projects.
- Companies and clients are making location-agnostic choices. Assembla is a remote company: I am in the San Francisco bay area, but the people I work with every day live and work in Boston, Mexico, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Turns out - we are not alone - innovations in tools and technology are enabling companies to hire and be hired from anywhere.
- Scope creep and client communication are the biggest pains. I was expecting to hear about technical problems, too much work (or worse - too little!). Surprisingly, scope creep tops your frustrations list at 56.6% and is followed closely by unclear client communications at 52.3%. To me, this is good news. It means that once the industry gives you the tools that can simplify and clarify your client collaboration workflows, we may all need less coffee and Advil.
- Waterfall has gone by the wayside. As a non-developer myself, I am learning more every day about Agile methodologies and the significant paradigm shift their acceptance requires. Though their benefits (and results!) are convincing, I imagined that clients would be hesitant to accept the change. Survey says, "not so!" Only 22.6% of respondents still use traditional waterfall models (compared to 66.4% using Agile!).
- Love-Hate Relationship with email. Personally, I have an immense sense of accomplishment when I get my inbox close to zero...and an immense sense of frustration after a day off (or a day too busy for email) when my inbox balloons (bring on the coffee and Advil!). Turns out that though you love real-time communication, you are itching for a way to ditch email - but haven't been given the proper toolset yet. Rest assured, we hear you and we are working on it!
Take a look at the full results and let me know which ones are most interesting to you.