Noded Working – a change for the way agencies work

Gone are the days of the traditional web or creative agency
With the changes in the economy over the past 2 years and the accelerated changes in technology and internet it’s time for change. Traditional creative, development and web agencies face a change in the market. With people being made redundant and others growing increasing disillusioned with their current employers there is a seas of change. In my experience (from my own network of contacts) more people have gone freelance if they have left or been made redundant.

Establishing a Noded Team
The next natural step is for the freelancers to build a network of trusted fellow, like minded individuals who complement their skills so they can deliver projects for their clients. Hence a noded team is born, not out of intent but out of evolution.

Stick to your strengths
When times are tough companies go back to basics and stick to their knitting rather than expanding on their peripheral services. However with the growth of the internet, social networking and mobile technology, this has created a plethora of niche markets and the demand for new skills.

As this book states, companies have a choice at this point, either to recruit the skills in house or to use a freelancer. Freelancers are more agile, can implement change more rapidly and effectively which means they can have many advantages over having the resource in house.

New business model for agencies
I can see agencies moving to a more of a hybrid position in the long term. There will be a core team who work for the business, maintaining their niche, brand values, beliefs and culture. Beyond this agencies will use freelancers to extend their team to deliver specific niche parts of a project.

In these situations, freelancers would need to adopt to some degree the processes and culture of the company for the project, but with the understanding that the individuals might be geographically in different locations, working different hours. With the common goal of delivering the project.

You might way ‘well what’s new – there’s agencies been doing that for ages’. It’s the degree to which the core team diminish and the noded team / extended distributed grow that’s going to be the change. Companies that can get the balance right so they can deliver innovative, cutting edge projects that are on time and on budget, will be the next generation agencies and survive the change.

With companies riding out the recession and streamlining their businesses, it’s an ideal time to start thinking strategically long term about the direction of the company and how they will evolve to reflect the changes in the industry

2 thoughts on “Noded Working – a change for the way agencies work

  1. This post has hit the nail on the head as far as my own business is concerned. We've gone down from an in-house team of 9 (deigners, developer, project manager etc) down to a core team of two part timers, myself and a developer on a retainer. The rest are trusted freelancers.

    It's a strategy that has got our cost base down, but still leaves us in a position to service existing clients whilst still providing a good level of creative services where they are needed. I've often heard this model being called the "hub and spoke" model as well.

  2. Thanks for the comment Jaimie. Great to hear that there are other agencies out there taking on the change. It will be the survival of the fittest, on how quickly agencies can adapt to the new ways of working!

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