The time has come! You’ve decided to create a mobile application or website for your project. After defining the purpose of your project, identifying your target audience, and thinking up different ways to monetize, you’ve finally begun your search for the perfect development team.
This search can be a tough one though, especially if your technical skills and knowledge aren’t quite up to snuff. A quick search on Google will give you hundreds of companies to choose from, making the choice even more confusing.
Here are our top 8 tips on how to choose the best development company for your project!
Tip 1: Scan the market
There are a number of websites that feature development companies, helping you search through many companies at once. You can start by checking out what is available on Clutch.co, Appfutura.com, and Linkedin.com.
Tip 2: Narrow down by location
Once you’ve seen what’s available out there, narrow down your search by choosing a geographical location that suits you best. Prices, professional styles, and approaches to work will differ from region to region. It’s important to choose a team that meets your expectations and collaborative approach. Consider time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences to narrow down your search.
Tip 3: Select a development language
If you are familiar with the various programming languages and technologies available, you might already have a preference on what you’d like to use for your project. You can further narrow down your search by focusing on these particular skills. Look for companies that specialize in development using your favourite language or framework. Want your project to be built using Django? Search for developers that are Django experts (and find out more about why we believe Django is the best web framework there is!).
If you’re not quite sure which language you want your product to be built with, you can wait and consult with your top company choices once you’ve chosen your shortlist.
Tip 4: Set a budget
Compare costs for hiring various companies. Even similar companies from the same region can charge differently. You should find a company that has the skills to do a great job bringing your project to life, without breaking the bank. Keep your budget in mind when making your selection.
Tip 5: Do your homework
Once you’ve found a manageable number of companies to choose from (5-8), take a look through each company’s portfolio carefully and with a critical eye. Portfolios will give you an overall impression of what the company is capable of. Do they pay attention to details? Are they using the latest in development technology and UI/UX design? Take into account every aspect of the work featured in the company’s portfolio and think about how it would translate to your own project.
Keep in mind that your application’s success will depend on how users interact with it. Search for featured portfolio projects and check out their reviews to get a sense of how users like the end result. A company that makes beautifully designed websites that are impossible to navigate through is probably not the best choice.
Case studies are another great way to find out what a development company has to offer. Case studies should look something like these examples from our own portfolio: TipCow, Inkbulb. By looking through a case study, you should be able to better understand the purpose of the project, how it was developed, and where the company’s skills lie in terms of current market trends. A modern development company should be able to show you various projects that look and feel professional, complete, and effective.
Tip 6: Check out the reviews
One of the most important indicators of a development company’s success is customer feedback. Websites like Clutch.co and Goodfirms.co display project reviews from actual clients, giving you an idea of the company’s performance on former projects. Testimonials on the company’s website also highlight the relationship between past clients and the team.
Tip 7: Make your shortlist
After narrowing down your search to around 3 companies, you need to determine the criteria which will help you choose the perfect company for your project.
Some basic criteria should include:
Developing a minimum viable product
Companies that are interested in working with you on your project should suggest an MVP development model. This model will allow you to test your idea on the market while also saving you time and money. The company commits to a smaller initial project and can help you figure out the most basic, but critical aspects of your product. MVP development should allow for scalability and further development, giving you the freedom to continue with the project at a more transparent and affordable pace.
Establishing an efficient way of communication
A professional development company should be more than just developers. They should be managing your project and communicating with you with the aid of a tech-lead or project manager, dedicated to your idea, so that developers can focus on developing.
The most efficient way to collaborate is through a project manager, or PM. The PM should maintain sufficient contact with the client to control the development process, determine priorities, monitor quality, and coordinate the development team. A dedicated PM should keep you informed of the progress of your project and should work together with you to establish markers of success.
Ensuring the necessary resources exist
Some companies try to do it all with limited resources, putting a potential strain on your project. You should make sure that the company you select can provide you with the necessary staff to make your project a success. A complete development team includes at least one project manager, a backend and frontend developer, a tech-lead, a designer, and a quality assurance (QA) expert.
The advantage of hiring a company over a freelancer is that most development companies have complete teams available. While a team of freelancers may be more affordable, it is much more difficult to keep multiple people in multiple locations organised and on track, and the burden lies heavily on you, the client, to do so. A development company is most likely located in one office and can easily discuss and make decisions about the development process. Changes can be made quickly and collaboration is simplified; multiple freelancers cannot ensure fast or constant support, wasting your time and efforts. That’s why it is better to have a dedicated team available to you.
Agile Software Development: Iterations and divided results
Development companies often use a specific approach to project management, allowing them to stay on track of various projects at once. One such method (and our favourite) is Agile software development in which a project is broken up into multiple sprints. Clients are able to check in with the project regularly to ensure that everything is still on track. Corrections and changes can be made as needed, before it is too late or modifications become too difficult or complicated to make.
The greatest advantage of development using sprints and other Agile approaches is that inaccuracies or issues can be identified at the beginning of the development process, making it 10 times cheaper to correct than discovering them towards the end of the development cycle.
Make sure you are aware of each company’s post-launch product support. Companies vary in what kind of support they offer to clients once a project is realized. Some offer 24/7/365 support, which often comes at a premium, while others offer on demand support, and some might not even offer any support. Be aware of what the companies you’re assessing offer. Usually, on demand support should be enough to ensure you have the help you need after product launch.
Web-hosting services available
There are three main options for hosting web applications like your product.
1. A company may possess an infrastructure of its own, allowing you to host your project using their hosting services and resources.
2. You can choose to make use of hosting companies such as Amazon or DigitalOcean to rent a virtual or dedicated server that hosts your project.
3. You can use a Platform as a Service (PaaS), such as Heroky, OpenShift, etc. to host your project. PaaS is a ready-to-use ecosystem, obtained from a web-server, database, message queue, and other modules. This option has large scaling capabilities and configuration is simple, but it can turn out to be an inconvenient option if anything beyond its capabilities is needed.
Access to a project management system Professional companies usually have an interactive tool that helps them manage their various projects. You should be able to request access to this tool, allowing you to follow the development process and monitor the time spent on tasks, giving you visibility into what you are spending your money on.
Tip 8: Get a second opinion
Many of your questions about the qualifications of various companies will depend on your technical knowledge. If you know that tech isn’t exactly your area of expertise, you can hire an independent consultant to help you evaluate the tech skills of the companies you’ve chosen. An independent consultant should be able to ask the appropriate questions and translate the answers for you so that you have the information needed to make the right choice.
Still not sure? You should now be ready to make your final choice, hiring the best development company for your project. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions regarding selecting a great development company or if you’d like to see if we can help you bring your idea to life! Contact us via email at email@example.com or on Skype, username: steelkiwisales.
We hope you’ve found these tips useful and we wish you the best of luck with your next project!