What makes a good development agency?16 Jul 2018
We’ve all been here before. That precarious position of choosing something, anything, from the myriad of choices that surround you.
How do you zone in on what’s right for you?
How do you even know what the right set of questions are?
What are the things you should be looking for?
How do you make sure you don’t get a dud deal?
I’ve had this sense of trepidation on a consumer level, with devices like mobile phones or TVs, even high powered blenders. The more sophisticated the needs requirement, a more cautious and investigative approach required. Building a mobile or web app/ platform on a business level, those needs requirements are of utmost importance. Not only are there serious cash outlays, but there’s the added resources of time, reputation and long term forward thinking that devolve into potential risks.
It’s therefore not just about technical capability, this is a sophisticated working relationship that should be vetted properly.
Below outlines a couple of provisos to ensure that you get the right team to handle your build.
- Realise that development is more than just a linear build
The biggest misconception of offshore development is that it’s a cost saving. It isn’t.
Builds require solid working relationships with people who understand your business, market and business problem so that as a build progresses, solutions can be honed to be more effective, more cost efficient and suited to the market. Sending your build overseas for cheap builds often means there is no input as the build progresses.
What you submit at version 1.0 stays at 1.0. There is no improvement or advancement from insightful experts who understand the latest in technology because all you’ve hired are drones to build what you’ve asked them to.
- Ensure trustworthiness and a good relationship
Do you want your development team to understand your business? Do you want them to step up to the plate? Do you want them to be honest about pricing and hidden costs before proceeding?
Have upfront meetings to ensure that the way you work and what you expect from a build is laid out up front. Let them show you how they take initiative to solve problems, how they get jobs done on tight deadlines, or if there are delays. Delays do happen.
Talk to former clients of the team to understand more of the process. Problems will undoubtedly happen and you want to make sure your development team has the know how to handle them well.
- Make sure your development team is passionate about what they do
Technology is changing all the time. User experiences are constantly improving. Your initial vision may be translated into a much better iteration than first envisioned. Your development team should be on the pulse of this. Frequently bringing new and better ways to perform what you initially mapped out.
This unfold in 2 ways:
- At an overarching level, your development team is constantly learning and developing their skills. Ensure that your developers value innovation and the best end user experience as their holy grail. This means they are continuously on the lookout for new developments in their tech domain, both good and bad. It also means they won’t just know a handful of coding languages. They’ll know many and be willing to learn new ones. . They’ll also be able to tell you which one is more suited to your needs and why. They’ll also be able to tell you which ones aren’t. Make sure you ask those questions to separate the best kind of developers from the average ones.
- Your team is prepared to bring you ongoing improvements as builds progress. This is why a build is never linear. Insights and improvements are constantly discovered and presented with rationale as to why they’re better, or more on trend, or cheaper or more efficient. A good client also has to be open and agile to these suggestions, trusting that their developers are clued in on what’s best for their vision.
- Good communication
Coders and developers aren’t typically known for their social skills, but on the ladder of requirements that’s the least of your worries. What you want is a team who provides a clear view of your project. They know how to translate technical jargon into terms that make sense for everybody else who isn’t super technical. You want to feel comfortable and know you’re in good hands. This also means regular updates, issue alerts and good turnaround times to your queries.
Development teams do often include project or development managers to handle this exchange and help clients to understand the technical in layman’s terms.
In whatever form your development exists as, ensure your team can do this in a manner that you’re comfortable with.
- The legal stuff, checks and balances
Often, an overseas developer owns the IP of your build. That doesn’t make sense. If you’re paying to build it, make sure you own it.
That can come with the added problem that the coder doesn’t provide you with the source code, or makes it hard for you to make updates without huge incremental costs. Another issue may be they’ve used a language to code which makes it really hard to make updates or operate cross platform.
Look out for this, make sure you’re covered. Apps and builds must update, they have to, it’s their lifecycle. You want your build to play the long game and shift with the market. You don’t want your build to launch only to have a short lived lifespan. You must be building something that can go the distance, something your development team must also encourage.
Taking a development agency on board means looking through the smoke and mirrors, honing in on the right questions and making sure your future iterations of your development are free and clear to move with flexibility.
This short list will hopefully provide you with that guidance that gives you the confidence in choosing the right team for you.
Taking the next step
If you’d like an initial chat to better understand how your app can be a reality, get in touch with us via our contact form.