7 Key Questions to Ask Your Prospective App Development Partner

by Régine Smith
Blog Post

From the moment you decide to move forward with bringing your mobile or web application idea to reality, you’re faced with a tough question.

Should you build the product in-house, or hire an app development partner?

It’s understandable that your goal is to build your product in the easiest, most cost-efficient way possible, but It can be exhausting and costly to build an in-house team. Plus, doing so can can result in your wasting valuable resources like time and money.

If you hire the right app development partner, you’ll have a comprehensive, experienced team at your service that’s ready to create a great digital product for your business.

After careful consideration, you decide your best option is to work with a development partner to build your product. Now, it’s time to find and choose the right partner.

There are thousands of development teams out there, so you’ll have a ton of options, which can make for a confusing, at times overwhelming process.

Many people are in the dark about what it actually takes to build a successful mobile or web application. But if you ask the right questions, you can quickly narrow down your choices and find the best app development partner for your needs.

Read on to discover seven questions that you should be asking a potential app development partner.

7 Key Questions to Ask Your Prospective App Development Partner

When talking to prospective partners, use the following seven questions to narrow down your options.

1. How do you communicate with clients?

Surprisingly, this is the most important question you’ll ask your prospective development partners.

If the partner can’t update you about the status of the project, no amount of coding skills will matter.

Related: Conventional vs. Agile Projects: Which Approach is Best?

What to look for: Your potential development partner should have an established process for communicating with clients. Transparent communication is essential to execute your vision. Do they use Basecamp, InvisionApp, or Trello for project collaboration? Are they available on Skype during working hours, and will they respond to you immediately?

Your partner should be able to communicate clearly and patiently, without loads of tech jargon. Aside from their actual process of communication, also be aware of your instinctual like or dislike of the person/team. If there’s a good, basic level of interaction, you’ll be able to work through misunderstandings easier.

2. Do you have any case studies from past clients?

A great development partner won’t ask you to ‘take their word for it’. They’ll have plenty of successful case studies to back up their claims. You shouldn’t have to guess about the quality and scope of the work that they’ve done.

What to look for: Ideally, the tech agency will list their case studies or portfolio on their website so you can easily access it. That way, you can check out similar apps, test them out, and see how they perform. Or, sometimes a sales rep will be able to put together a one-pager of examples for your industry.

Consider it a bonus if they have experience in your industry—however, don’t make this the absolute deciding factor.

3. What is your estimated timeline for finishing the project?

Mobile and web applications are known to take longer to build, and often become more complicated than planned. That’s because small, incremental changes can build up into a mountain of additional work — and this additional work can cost you thousands of dollars in the end.

What to look for: These additional costs can be prevented—or at least controlled, to a point. Your development partner should keep up-to-date schedules and specifications. Make sure the team can articulate the repercussions of an additional ask. You may crave an extra feature, but when you see how much it pushes the schedule back, you just might change your tune.

Most projects can be done in 2-4 month cycles. Having a development team tell you it will take longer than a year means that they plan on taking their time, and they probably aren’t working with an agile process.

4. How long have you been in business?

There’s nothing wrong with choosing a development partner that’s in its early stages—every team has to begin somewhere. However, it can be a bit of a gamble.

There’s no substitute for experience. Older development teams have already made most of their costly mistakes, and have learned from them. They can create better applications for you because of it.

What to look for: Ideally, your development partner will have at least five years of experience. They should have been steadily building, and have a track record of success. Here at Koombea, we pride ourselves in this area. With over 11 years of experience, we’ve clocked more hours than most teams can imagine!

5. How many developers do you have?

The more developers your partner has, the more resources they can dedicate to your project.

As we mentioned earlier, development projects are often extended beyond their original timeline. With a smaller company, this could mean that new projects can’t start on time.

What to look for: Your team should have at least six developers, but the more the merrier. Having a developer working on a different project give his two sense can help give key insight for the other. A bigger firm will have more people to draw on to solve technical problems.

6. What development process do you use?

The development process refers to how an application is built.

Waterfall is the traditional development methodology. It’s a stage by stage approach for building products, and while it can help with project and deadline control, it’s a practical impossibility to change the software if a glitch surfaces. You’d have to go back to the beginning and develop new code all over again.

What to look for: Unlike Waterfall, Agile methodology cuts down the big picture into puzzle pieces. A development partner that uses the Agile Development process can adapt to change at the end of each stage, without rewriting the entire application.

At Koombea, we use Agile Development. Not only does it save costs, but it streamlines communication. We start the week with a planning meeting, and chat briefly each weekday about the status of development. At the end of the week, we review all of the work delivered, and discuss anything we couldn’t finish. This week of work is called a sprint.

7. Will you build an MVP?

When it comes to product development, many businesses make the mistake of waiting too long to take the product to market. Because of this mistake, many products never even launch. Or, if they do launch, the market is already saturated with competitors…and the product usually fails. But you can avoid this costly mistake and still launch a high-performing product in your niche.

The secret? You need to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

What to look for: Your development partner should build you a Minimum Viable Product. That way, you’ll have just enough of the core of your product so that you can get it to users and collect feedback—and start getting paid.

Koombea is Here to Help

Our team at Koombea has the experience and expertise necessary to bring your web or mobile application idea to reality.

We’re happy to help you figure out which development partner is best for you—even if it’s not us.

Contact us today to begin discussing your project!

by Régine Smith
Blog Post