Benefits of Large vs. Small Digital Development Firms

When it comes time to examine your next project, choosing a digital design and development firm can be a tricky thing to navigate. You've gotten the hard part out of the way - deciding to outsource - but the decision making doesn't stop there.

Given the structure of an external firm, many eyes and experts will touch your project and offer their expertise. But how many eyes? And how big and established should the company be? We’re here to dig into those questions and address the underlying assumption: whether or not size even matters when choosing a firm to collaborate with.

True Partnerships

While bigger development firms can leverage some specialized tools and have larger departments spread around multiple geographies and disciplines, it’s worth noting that smaller teams offer people with multiple specialties who are digging in deep on your project. Buy-in — which helps so much in working collaboratively — is far more likely to occur if the person or people at your small firm partner are so involved.

Partnering with a software design and development company should: • Help your team fill in their skill gaps (and at the same time, “up their game”) • Create a partnership on a project from need to output • Ultimately solve your problems

Because team members at smaller firms have likely worked together before, their synergy is strong and their processes closely knit — which means they can deliver high-quality products, quickly. Every client is also highly important at a smaller firm, and has the full attention of the partnered team. Having access to the talent who is actually creating your digital assets and literally developing your tools is another great bonus for working with a small firm. For true development partnerships, small firms are the way to go.

Getting Your Point Across

The choice to bring on a large partner firm means you will probably have to adapt the way you communicate and use their tech stack and project management tools. You’ll coordinate with a team of qualified individuals who can offer insights and meetings, but all of this might require a little bit of a learning curve for your staff, which can create friction.  
Squads from smaller digital firms can make the choice to integrate into your culture, using your communication tools and learning the ways you choose to operate. They become extensions of your business, rather than steamrolling it or othering themselves as a separate group working on your projects. Although they have tools they might prefer or recommend, they are able to tailor the partnership to your needs and meet you where you are.

Big firms often insist on their own tools, but small firms can adapt to your operational style.

Innovation versus Established Methods

Are you looking for someone to carry out prescribed plans, or for a group that will come in and shake things up? Employees at a large firm might be overwhelmed with clients and have a method or routine they are used to using, no matter what. Rigidity can become more common since they need to balance and juggle many, many clients. 

At smaller companies, your partners are less worried about red tape and being caught in a bureaucratic loophole than taking risks and proposing innovative, value-adding ideas and solutions. Smaller shops tend to tailor their approach by really sitting with you to ask questions and make adjustments to their strategy so you’re both happy with the end product.

And do those developers have much control over their day-to-day either? It's worth considering that their higher-ups may be restricting them from being too innovative, or just not be accessible at all. That rigidity carries through to everyday developers. Even approval processes may take a bit longer. You might have hired a firm for their certifications or awards, but it's possible that those were won by one team (or even one individual) — and there’s no guarantee that their company superstar will be working on your project.

Smaller shops work more laterally, and tend to be faster because all the decision makers can be in one room. Because smaller firms offer high-touch engagements from people who are passionate and motivated, the partnership becomes more involved and committed. These individuals are specializing, exploring, pushing and innovating because they are excited about the work, which reflects in what they present to the client.

When you're going through the process of choosing a digital development firm, make sure to ask which are your potential development firm partner’s big strengths and weaknesses! They’ll know the places they shine and will be able to tell you about those things in excited detail.

Want to know what Zemoga’s white-glove services and dedicated digital specialists can do for your business? Contact us today!

About the author

Carlos Ferro joined Zemoga close to 13 years ago and is currently COO and Partner. His passion has always been to help team members reach their potential by empowering them to contribute quality work to the clients we service. Keeping a perfect balance between culture and quality delivery is what he strives for.