How To Fire a Dev Company, Safely

Has your company simply outgrown the resources or abilities of the current development company you’re working with? Have they performed in a way that is not conducive to your business and/or the way you prefer to interact professionally? If you’ve discovered it’s time to sever ties, there are important things to do while taking steps in this direction.

A company makes changes for many reasons, and this can include switching up vendors, technology, staffing, and more. This is particularly true as it relates to technology because it is ever-evolving and so is our reliance on it.

Learn How To Protect Your Company Before Firing a Dev Company

In order to keep your business running at the pace it needs to, having a smooth transition away from one dev company to another is crucial. Thoroughly investigating the control, ownership, and management of all of your digital assets is essential before moving on. This is true no matter how long you’ve been tied to a dev company.

Save Your Project By Protecting Your Digital Property

Below we will outline what we believe are the most important aspects of collecting and protecting your technology.

Have a Technical Product Owner

Having a tech-savvy Product Owner go a long way for many reasons related to product development. This gives your company a source of truth based on a foundation tied directly to your business and technology goals. Equally, a product owner who understands the technical direction is imperative to get things back on track once you’ve moved onto a new development company. This can be a contractor or your new agency.

Take Over All Service & Integration Payments

Look at every aspect of billing related to the dev team you’ve been working with. Check for integrations and/or services that are essential to keeping your technology and business running. If they’re paying for anything, you’ll need to make sure you can transition those accounts over without anything getting shut down or turned off. This can be anything from simple newsletter services to an integration that would shut down your ability to process sales. This can also include Customer Resource Management systems, paid newsletter services, shopping cart integrations, etc.

Own Your Digital & Intangible Property
This Should Include…

1.) Code Repository

The code repository is fundamental for keeping the project moving and to avoid halting any aspect of business. This is where the source code, development documentation, web pages, and more are archived throughout a product’s development and lifespan. Without this, it’s like throwing away the map <i>and the supplies in the middle of a hike. Locking down this cornerstone of your technology before moving on is essential to keeping development and maintenance in full swing.

2.) Dev Environments

Owning and having full administrative access to all development, production, and testing environments is also crucial to continued development. Ensure all login credentials are secured or changed and that any users or IP addresses are blocked or removed. This isn’t to assume the development company you’re moving away from would do anything insidious. It is just a good security practice. Equally, this is just another step that will keep development moving along and your technology running smoothly.

3.) CI/CD Pipelines

Your CI/CD pipeline, which stands for “continuous integration” and “continuous deployment”, should be in your ownership. This is essentially an instruction manual for keeping development rolling and releasing work. The CI/CD pipeline is documentation that outlines the process for when something is ready to be released for production. The code and the method for how this happens should be documented and accessible to the new development team you’ll be working with for a smooth transition.

4.) URL and Domain

This one might seem obvious, however, it can’t hurt to cross all of your t’s and dot all of your i’s. There can be protocols or aspects of the initial contract when the project was kicking off that made it so the dev company purchased and maintained the URL and domain. So be sure to check that you will have full ownership of these before you sever ties. Otherwise, this could turn into a difficult and costly turn of events should you need to purchase a new URL and/or domain. Worst-case scenario, this could even lead to issues with branding and marketing depending on how unique a URL name is or how expensive the URL was.

5.) Third Party Integrations

It’s not just the domain and URL you should ensure you own, but any and all third-party integrations being utilized, as well. This applies to anything from simple plug-ins, to API data, and really any time the website has to talk to an external service that is paid for and requires logins. It is essential to have sole proprietorship over these, including billing. There are times when a project is being launched that the development company will bake in certain third-party integrations into your payments. As previously mentioned, it will be important to ensure you’ve taken over all control and payment of those accounts so nothing suddenly stops working, or any data is lost.

Transition To A New Dev Company

By following the steps above, you should be able to transition to a new dev company and keep your technology and subsequent business moving without error.

If you are unsure if the time has come to move on to a new development team or if things are just going slightly off the rails, check out the following blogs! And if there’s anything Daggerhart Lab can do to be a partner in the success of your technology, please reach out.

  1. Warning Signs The Agency Relationship Is Off The Rails
  2. When To Cut Ties With a Dev Company
  3. How To Help Clients Who’ve Been Beat Up
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