Let’s be honest, digital agencies are poor value for money.

We Make Waves
4 min readAug 15, 2019

In the last decade we’ve witnessed the launch of technologies that have fundamentally changed our lives. You might think such times have led the digital agency to the land of plenty. But ironically, many have been left in the wake of a new wave of innovative digital businesses more adept at exploiting such rapid change.

Enter stage left, We Make Waves

We’ve always believed in offering something unique, something more genuine and outspoken than the standard fayre.

It’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a place in this Brave New World for businesses that embrace change. We’ve always believed in offering something unique, something more genuine and outspoken than the standard fayre and wanted to create something which speaks to our customers about who we are and embodies the impact we can make, to be bold, honest and different — the antithesis of treading water.

If that’s got you interested, if you’d like to know what our antidote looks like, read on.

The project model isn’t fit for purpose

Projects are a forcing function for a fixed price, fixed scope mindset, one which has a beginning, middle and end and little wriggle room in between. Unfortunately this can block our ability to understand user needs, makes us unable to respond to change and leads to a fixation on managing costs vs. quality.

WMW antidote: a product focussed approach requires a subtle but powerful shift in mindset. Put simply, we’re eschewing the baggage of the project mindset and all that’s detrimental to modern software development and embracing a world where reacting to change and continuous improvement is a much better measure of progress.


Managing a portfolio of projects is inherently inefficient as it detracts from the flow of delivery: chopping and changing between problems, constant scheduling and rescheduling contribute to increased overheads by introducing unnecessary layers of project and account management. All of which reduces flow (the ease with which work gets done).

WMW antidote: no more spinning plates, no more layers of excessive project management, no more software acting as a barrier to meaningful collaboration. Hello to dedicated teams, focussing on a small number of problems at any one time and working in tandem with all the folks that matter to deliver solutions that meet everyone’s needs. And with that, so our definition of ‘team’ must extend to include our customers, stakeholders, domain experts and anyone else whose needs will be impacted by our work.

Dearth of innovation

In an organisation where billable hours is a measure of productivity you can be sure that any spare capacity will be seen as evil. In such environments, there’s little or no slack in the day to focus on learning which in turn kills innovation.

WMW antidote: by valuing outcomes instead of utilisation we can provide the slack needed for continuous learning, in turn acquiring a knowledge advantage that can be leveraged to help our customers’ hit the ground running with their innovations.


There are a number of home truths about software development that most agencies are afraid to discuss with their clients. This leads to client dissatisfaction as the home truths painfully reveal themselves over time and contribute to ever higher failure rates.

WMW antidote: we want to be clear with our clients about the home truths of software development. If they don’t like what they’re hearing, perhaps they’re not ready for an adult discussion about software.

Poor value for money

One of the worst measurements for ‘value delivered’ is how much time someone has spent on something. The fundamental issue is that the model reduces alignment between the customer and the supplier: the supplier’s goal is to maximise time spent on billable work whilst the customer’s goal is to maximise value to the folks that matter.

WMW antidote: how about a model which nurtures alignment? If we believe in our customers’ ventures we must be prepared to align the profit we make with success of the outcomes we deliver. That’s why we have a partnership programme where we’re prepared to invest our time in return for equity, where our success is tied to our customers’ success.

Selling the fad

Every year there’s a new fad. AI, ML, blockchain, ‘digital transformation’. Overhyped and oversold as agencies get on the bandwagon, selling services such as ‘digital transformation’ programmes, despite their ~ 90% failure rate, as a way of extracting large fees by preying on businesses suffering from one of life’s modern ills, FOMO.

WMW antidote: we don’t give two-hoots about the latest fads unless we can understand the real problems people have and apply said technology to tailor a solution, as simply as we can, to solve those problems.

Reinventing the wheel

It’s common to conflate product innovation with process innovation and thus waste a lot of time on the latter to the detriment of the former. But this is hard for many organisations to unpick and so we regularly observe a lot of the same mistakes being made over and over again.

WMW antidote: product innovation must be underpinned by standardised processes which are repeatable and are continuously improved over time. This is where we fit in — we’ve done it many times before, we have a solid, well practiced, standardised approach that doesn’t involve reinventing the wheel.

If you like the sound of this new model, something which we believe offers a distinct kind of partnership, one which nurtures better collaboration, better results, and better alignment on both sides, we’d love to hear from you.

Originally published at https://wemakewaves.digital.



We Make Waves

We make digital products that deliver impact for entrepreneurs, startups and forward thinking organisations. Let’s Make Waves! wemakewaves.digital