One of the most daunting tasks that any entrepreneur or business outsourcing their tech has to go through is finding the right partner to work with.
I've heard many horror stories of developers running away with their customers' idea, taking a lifetime to build an app and sometimes the quality so poor that you wouldn't want anyone to use it, leave alone your customers.
Do you look for a partner that's within your city limits or outsource to a completely different country? Do you look for pure coding experience or ones with the understanding of how an app startup is run? These are just a few questions that most have when seeking to outsource.
While the process of identifying the right partner isn't that simple, it can surely be made smoother. One of our customers at Arkenea LLC shared their feedback with us that highlighted their meticulous process of comparing a number of developers scientifically to take an informed decision (they hired us for their app design and development).
And that feedback email inspired this article.
So here are the parameters that you should evaluate the development partners that you have identified.
The brief is the starting point that will help you in identifying the right partner. Most often, entrepreneurs end up choosing the wrong team purely because of putting a bad brief.
If you share a very high-level requirement, the developers will draw many assumptions in scoping for effort estimate and you will end up with varied quotes.
A detailed briefing document eliminates all assumptions and makes the scoping process scientific. When each feature is spelled out, you can then be rest assured that every team is looking at the same feature set, lending weight to your comparisons.
How qualified are the development teams that you are evaluating? Qualification doesn't necessarily mean that they've built a similar app, but whether they have the technical skills, as well as a business orientation to understand your product and its market.
Building an app startup is not just about coding, but about understanding the business requirements, the customer and the overall goals that the entrepreneur has and a path to achieving them.
Look for a team that has demonstrated abilities in building apps that have been successful--offering a great user experience, good visual design skills and competency in creating quality apps.
Technical capabilities set the base for a team's qualification. But, without the orientation of offering a quality service, the technical capabilities don't really hold good in this business.
One can be a brilliant writer with great literary sense, but if no one reads your content, your skills aren't of any value until you're able to reach out to your audience as well.
The challenge here is that you experience the service only once you go through it, but there are ways to assess the team's capabilities through the initial discussions and by asking for a couple of client references who can highlight the team's service benefits or challenges they faced.
Would you want to work with anyone (outsourced or in-house) that doesn't identify with your objectives or vision, understand the business, your customers and how they are currently solving the problem that this app intends to?
I'm sure you wouldn't want to. So look for a team that spends time with you in understanding much more than just the features of the application. A good developer would have to understand your business, customer insights and the product roadmap to be able to do justice to app development.
#5--Timelines, Support and Cost
While these are very straightforward parameters to compare developers on, but if you find a team that scores very highly on the above four parameters, you know you've identified the right partner.
With high scores on above parameters, the partner would have high-quality resources that are likely to complete the project within fair timeframe and also match your objectives. They are also in it for the long haul so support wouldn't be an issue either.
Don't let cost alone skew your judgment, as you don't want to attract monkeys by throwing peanuts. I'll give you a good reason for this--good developers are so much in demand in the industry that this profession today is one of the most lucrative (monetarily). A company with an excellent set of resources (who in turn will help you build a quality product) will come at a higher cost.
Stretching your budget in the beginning can go a long way if that helps you get to the right partner. Because, if you end up with the wrong one, you will also end up spending far more than what you had budgeted at the beginning.