The key to successful app development is not having a huge team, but having a productive team that is confident in meeting deadlines. Welcome back to our mobile app development process series. I, Sanjay Kidecha, would like to continue with our next blog on how to choose a development partner for your project?
Is Google searching the list of developers the answer? Where should you look out for? Should you opt for freelancers or collaborate with a development company? The process can become taxing at times, but don’t you worry. In this blog, I will be guiding you on how you can get away from a programmer stereotype and hire the best technical chops for the project.
Before we move forward with the blog, let’s have a quick recap on our previous topics. And if you have missed any of these, don’t forget to click the link & read.
6. A handbook to select development company for startups;
11. How Feedback and product iteration makes a difference in product development?
12. What is the variation in the cost? What factors affect the variation?
13. Why is a Good design the ultimate thing in the project?
Globally speaking, startups and midsize companies are in a constant dilemma when it comes to mobile app development partner selection. This task comes with a lot of responsibility because a wrong choice can easily get you doomed in the market. You really need to believe in your development partner and trust their processes. But wait, how will you know that you have found the right company to collaborate with? This leads to the question, where do you start your search from?
Your hunt is to find a company that can handle any complexity level when it comes to app development. Not only this but, they should also have the potential to finish an on-going task started by somebody else. Hence, to begin your search with, go for word of mouth.
Word of mouth:
You are entering into an industry that is huge, vast and has a lot of scopes. You will have your fraternity where you can easily ask questions or say options for a mobile app development company. Who knows a good referral will click in a moment?
Hence make a collection of references you have received, do some research on your part, and try to find a reliable source. Word of mouth references are somewhere more reliable to work with.
Look for it online:
A well-articulated website speaks volumes about the company’s work. Therefore start looking out online, check their page and work profile. The website should look convincing so that you can make a choice easily.
Be it the global pandemic times or before that, you would always have abundant options to participate in a conference. Look for available events near you or online and grab a chance to discuss your field with the professionals.
Software developers are always up to attend a conference and keep themselves updated. Do not worry if you have missed an important conference in the nearest past; you can always initiate an informal discussion to know more about them.
Now that you know the hunting process, you always have three options to go for. First, you can hire freelance mobile app developers, or second, employ a mobile app development company or third, build up an in-house team.
But wait, do you know how many team members will you need for your project? Have you analyzed various aspects of an agile app development process?
The decision of team structure & size matters the most to have a complete command over the product and to achieve functional goals. To your knowledge, great developers contribute only 20% of app success, rest 80% is due to a good product dev team.
Technically, a team of 4 to 10 specialists will be enough to handle the project. This team shall comprise of a project manager, sales manager, Scrum masters, iOS & Android developers, Designers, and QA engineers. We will see the role of each one of them in brief here. For knowing more details about the responsibilities, you can reach us out.
A project manager is the one who knows every nitty-gritty requirements of the application. PM sets the team’s vision capturing all the primary functions and is responsible for the timely delivery of it.
Sales manager position you may choose to handle it by yourself. Sales managers job is to ensure that the product outreaches the audience and is sold at the discussed price.
A person who handles the Agile Scrum framework and drives the roadmap of the app is a Scrum Master. The Scrum master trains the team in handling the problems productively and strategically.
iOS and Android developers:
iOS and Android developers know the coding chops and are expert in building native, hybrid, or cross-platform applications. Based on their area of expertise, iOS developers know Objective-C/Swift language, Android developers know Java/Kotlin programming languages.
Designers have to do maximum brainstorming in crafting a UserInterface that is unique and classy. They define the look and feel that reflects user navigation through the app. A designer needs to work in collaboration with developers, & content writers to provide you with a visual element.
QA specialists ensure that every tab and flow designed in the app is working as documented. The practical testing lets them identify the loopholes and thereby contribute in delivering a bug-free application.
It’s equally important how you select candidates for each of the above-mentioned roles. The entire team you select should willingly participate in the process and concentrate on the app’s progress.
There is a set of practices to implement for opting for any of the above options. We will discuss each of them in detail here.
Freelance app developers:
Selecting freelancers is a go-to option for most of the startups and emerging businesses. The reason being, you have a pool of freelancers to choose from and crack a good deal. You can find freelancers on platforms like Upwork, Toptal, Freelancer.com, and Craigslist. You can trust these platforms to find a suitable freelancer for your project.
Here are the steps that you can take to select freelancers.
Define your budget and country of selection. The development rates may vary depending on the country you choose. Say, for instance, developers from countries like India, China or Japan may charge between $15-82 per hour. On the other hand, hiring freelance developers from the US can cost you a tad bit high. Their charges start from $60 and can go up to $250. European developers can charge around $30 to $180.
The above exercise will lead you to shortlist a few of them who fit into your budget.
Based on the shortlisted freelancers’ list, do research their background, portfolio, and expected app development prices.
Reliable mobile app development company:
A mobile app development company is a powerhouse of talent. They provide you with a full-cycle administration, which may not have been possible if you go for freelancers. They are well-versed with the process and guide you to choose the mobile app development method.
Their team has profound knowledge of coding for iOS and Android applications. An app development company dedicates its valuable assets and profitable experience to your app development. The extensive efforts put by them into your project assures you a successful delivery of a unique application.
To cut it short, you have expert administrators, business counselors, and business investigators readily available.
Here are the steps that you can take to select a mobile app development company.
Ask friends and family for a good reference for a mobile app development company.
Contact them through emails or phone calls;
Check out their portfolio and ensure that they have good ratings and reviews;
Discuss the project details;
Discuss the price and decide the project deadline
If the company satisfies your demands, you can go ahead with it.
There are many app development companies that allow you to hire a dedicated team of developers. The steps for the selection of a dedicated team of developers include.
You shortlist the candidates based on the skillset;
You interview them and test their knowledge;
Ask them to provide a demo task and showcase their talent;
If they succeed in proving themselves, you can finalize them.
We will elaborate on the selection process in general so that you can make informed decisions. Here we go…
Evaluate Experience and check the skillset:
Be it a freelancer or an app development company, their experience in the field matters the most. An experienced developer is capable of handling complexities and yet delivering the project on time. Hence, it is preferred that you go for a company or a mobile app developer having a minimum of two years of relevant experience.
Another important aspect of skill set evaluation is to ask them for the portfolio and check out their product quality. You can request the prospect to provide you with their previous works and list of satisfied customers. Feel free to connect with their past customers and receive genuine feedback. By doing this, you will get to know if the company or the freelancer is competent enough to deliver high-quality projects.
The development partner, be it a freelancer or a development company, should value the retrospective meetings. Since you would be working remotely with them, discuss how they will connect with you virtually. Decide upon the milestones and how frequently they should update you with the progress. The prospective development company should be able to communicate every detail to the team member involved in the project.
Ask them for a customized solution:
There are chances that you want to amend some features and functionalities in an application as you move forward in the process. And hence, you need to discuss the same with your development partner priorly before you initiate the task with them. They should be flexible enough to incorporate the changes and meet your project expectations.
Thus, please communicate with the partner and ensure that they provide customization as per the requirement.
Talk about the cost beforehand:
As part of the whole app development process, you would have already decided how much you wish to invest in app development. Deliver the same to your prospect and check if they are willing to collaborate with you at your decided price.
Do not hesitate to ask them for a breakdown of prices; after all, you should know how much they are charging for an individual service. Lower rates may tempt you but, the whole intention is to select a company that meets the expected product quality, delivery time, and offers after support.
Look out for transparency:
Ensure that the development partner updates you with every single detail of the project. Throughout the journey, they should brief you about the progress and discuss the strategy. The development partner should be confident in handling the whole process and keep up the communication open with you.
Document the contract:
Well, signing a contract is probably the last stage of finalizing an app development partner. The agreement should be clear, understandable, and agreeable by both parties. A contract should include the terms for the confidentiality of the project.
Discuss the terms and decide mutually upon the aspects that should be strictly confidential in a project. Pay attention to each and every detail, and draft this in the contract.
The contract should also cover the payment terms and how you will move ahead with payment in the entire process. Master Services Agreement, which is a part of the contract, ensures that the product the company develops to you is not copied or sold to any of your competitors in the market.
Define the Statement of Work, which means decide the Fixed Bid and Time and Materials. Fixed Bid means a milestone delivery without any change in the pre decided cost. Time and Materials refer to the charges that will be made based on time spent on the project and not for the entire project.
Answering the next question, Why do you need to employ a mobile application development company/freelancers? What are the benefits of working with them?
Suppose the above steps have led you to select the right development partner. In that case, I assure you that you can reap maximum benefits. I have described notable contributions you would have after associating with the development partner.
Fits within your financial limit:
Since you have already conveyed your budget and the constraints to the team & they have agreed upon it, there are fewer chances that you would have to pay the after debts. You have shared the consent over the payment model, and hence you will rest assured about the fruitful results.
Seamless work process:
A mobile app development partner has processes defined. The entire team moves in a decided flow and provides services in a non-stoppable manner. The developers are experts in their discipline and deliver as promised.
The teams follow best practices to deliver the project on time. They ensure to maintain the productivity of the developers remains high throughout the process.
Maintenance and Support:
You will always have the back of the development partner. If you encounter a bug or need help at any point in time, you can always turn to them and seek guidance. Also, they are responsible for assisting you as and when required.
Your prospective development partner has years of experience in handling app development projects. They would quickly anticipate problems and provide you an effective solution at the earliest. You do not have to long haul for the project to be completed.
The team dedicates their time to your project and thereby meets the deadlines. Hence, while the things and timelines are being taken care of, you can easily focus on other important aspects of app development.
Access to broader skill set:
You now have a development partner at disposal who would handle all the burden of app development. If you think of changing functionality or iterate a process at any point in time, then you have access to a variety of skills.
Now let us discuss another option available on the list, in-house team development.
Building an in-house team of developers is a valuable investment that comes with a hefty upfront cost. The total cost includes the resource buying cost, health insurance cost, developer’s salary, property management, and much more. This is all worth the amount when the desired results are achieved on time. The in-house team solely works upon the company’s goals and deliverables to ensure success.
Like the above two, for selecting an in-house team of developers, the following steps need to be followed.
Decide the team size first. Based on your project needs, discuss whether you need to have a larger team or smaller ones. If you need larger teams, then you need to make sure that you have effective communication channels.
Figure out whether you want to go for hiring specialists or generalists. This decision will majorly depend on the budget you have. Because hiring specialists again will cost you more than a generalist.
Before you begin the hiring, you need to decide the role of each individual you hire in the team. A typical development team includes a product manager, team lead, software developer, designers, testers, and scrum master.
Once you have decided on the team’s role, you can start looking out for individuals on local and international platforms. This selection process depends entirely on the project needs you have.
The major benefit of hiring an in-house team of developers is they are aligned with the project interests. They will proactively work on building the business and generate revenue out of it.
The underlying of hiring developers, be it any of the above (freelancers, mobile app development company, or dedicated development team), is to develop a high-end application that will long run in the industry. An effective development partner will consider your expectations and deliver products on time.
They will give a personal touch to every work they do and adapt to your way of working. A reliable development partner will provide you complete control over the project and comply with all the clauses mentioned in the contract. If you are skeptical about a company, it's always good to have a second opinion for the same.
Still, have doubts? Well, feel free to get in touch with me. I will help you in coping up with this ambiguity and assist you in selecting our team of experts. In the next article, we will discuss various aspects of quality testing in an app development process.