Choosing a developer or development company can be one of the most important decisions for the success of your company. A good developer can create an amazing product that exceeds expectations in the marketplace. A bad one can make a buggy, ugly app that angers customers, if anything is made at all. This is why it is important to thoroughly investigate any developer you are considering working with. Here are some areas to consider for any candidate:
- Look into their previous work. Make sure you like the apps they’ve designed, based on both appearance and usability. Are the features in these similar to what you want (for example: if you want a map feature or money handling on your app, it is best if the developer has experience with these). Are they available on the same platforms and devices you want yours on?
- Ask for references and reach out to past clients. Ask them what it was like to work with the developer, how well timelines and budgets were followed, how well the final result matched what they wanted, and how the support has been since launch (if that was part of their contract).
- What would it be like to work with them? Pay attention to how quickly they respond to messages, how available and punctual they are for meetings, how well you communicate in person, and whether you could see yourself working closely with them long term.
- Do they have the resources to build your app in the timeframe you want? Can they provide the continued support after development you need (whether this is handling updates, tech support, or data management)?
- Get their estimate on the minimum viable product (the features and functionality that are necessary to be able to launch) as well as any additional features you are interested in adding during development or after launch.
- How well does their price and timeline estimates match your budget and timeline goals? Does their estimate include submitting the design to the app stores in the price? What about the cost for updates and maintenance down the line?
- Know their policy on changing to a different developer later on. What is their process for releasing the product and knowledge to another? The contract should reflect your ownership of the app, code, and any relevant data for it.
- Ongoing management and updates, decide on who will do this. Also if it can be negotiated ahead of time. So you may include it in your overall budget.
While these steps might sound excessive, they will go a long way to ensuring the development journey goes smoothly and your investment is well spent. While even the best developer can’t guarantee the success of your product, they can greatly increase the likelihood. Make sure to give finding a developer the time and due diligence it deserves as an integral foundation of your business. When it comes to making the final decision, consider all of the above points, not just the price. Make the decision as a team, as this will have a lasting impact on the business and a divided team will struggle to bring the idea into reality. Lastly, before you sign the contract, it is always best to sit down with a lawyer and insure it reflects everything you agreed upon with the developer.