How to Choose an App Development Partner without Going Crazy

by Kate Swanberg
Blog Post

Now that you’ve learned how to search for an app development partner, it’s time to focus on how to choose the right partner.

Choosing a development partner is a decision that should not be taken lightly. After all, this team will be responsible for bringing the ideas in your head to reality. Plus, if you choose the wrong partner you could risk wasting a lot of time and money due to ineffective communication, or even incompetence.

In this article, we’ll provide the steps you should follow while choosing an app development partner.

6 Steps for Choosing an App Development Partner

Step 1: Evaluate the websites and credentials of potential app development partners.

Once you have your pool of potential development partners, you should begin the selection process by taking an in depth look at each team’s website. What are your gut reactions to each site? Which one represents the look and feel that you’d want your own solution to have? These are important questions to ask yourself.

Most app development partners will have their previous work displayed on their websites as well. Take the opportunity to browse each potential partner’s portfolio, and take note of what you like, and just as importantly, what you don’t like.

While comparing the websites of each potential development partner, be sure to check for the following:

  • Does each site have a Location page that indicates reliable nearshore office locations, and a convenient communication schedule?
  • Do you know exactly what each potential development partner does, or what they can do for you? For example, do they only do web or mobile development, or perhaps only design? Finding a partner that does it all is typically the most convenient approach.
  • Is there a contact phone number? If they don’t have one, they could be outsourcing labor somewhere else, and might not be exactly who they say they are.
  • Are you able to see written, or video testimonials from past clients? What about case studies?

Walking through this checklist allows you to begin to feel out the levels of trust and communication offered by each potential development.

Step 2: Test the UX of solutions created by potential partners.

Next, you’ll want to test and understand what the solutions created by each potential app development partner feels like. Is there an emphasis on design? What about the UX/UI?

You should be looking for a development partner that prioritizes UX without sacrificing functionality. Ultimately, your technology is useless if it cannot reach your end users in a way that is meaningful and compelling to them.

Be aware that all that glitters, is not gold, however. Or as Ripul Kumar puts it: “If you think beautiful looking interfaces with fancy buttons is good UX, you are in for a rude shock. User experience (UX) is really about being useful, usable, and meaningful to users, while UI and Visual Design ensures that the product finally ‘looks’ good.”

Poor design results in poorly engaged users, or no users at all. When you’re looking at a development agency’s portfolio, you want to look at more than whether or not their solutions look nice. You need to truly test each application. Are there bugs, time lags, or elements of design in which the functionality is broken? If so, that’s huge!

Step 3: Determine whether or not your app development partner will enable you to be independent.

Many development agencies claim to train you in everything from product management, to coding, marketing, and other specialties during the development of your project.

If you’ve never developed an application before, consider whether you want a partner to step in and handle everything for you, or if you’d prefer to be coached along the way. It’s possible that training could take too much time, and could delay launch.

Don’t be fooled by the extra “training” add-ons that some development agencies offer. Instead, pick a team that serves as a true partner. This team shouldn’t charge you more just to teach you how to use your own solution. They should be able to give you the necessary skills so that you can take the management and maintenance of your app upon yourself in the future.

A good piece of advice to follow is to make sure that any potential development partners use current best practices, and modern platforms. This should eliminate your fear of receiving alien code language and not knowing what to do with it.

Step 4: Calculate the cost.

Unless funding is a complete non-issue for you, cost is something to definitely keep in mind when trying to pick between two or more app development partner.

It may come as no surprise, but in app development, you get what you pay for. If you choose a bargain firm, you may encounter problems and delays somewhere along your product roadmap.  

Here’s a great resource on app development costs and what you can expect.

Step 5: If you need product management support, confirm that you will receive it.

Many agencies and developers can’t support both the build and product management at the same time.

If you’re an early stage startup, or you’re doing something entirely innovative, then it’s important for someone on the development partner team to be able to help you with tasks like brainstorming features, setting realistic expectations, and presenting creative ideas.

Even great internal product managers appreciate some love and support every now and again. Finding a firm with the right balance of creative vision and technical execution is the most important factor when it comes to picking the right partner.

Step 6: Get a second opinion.

Lastly, before you get too hasty with choosing the right development partner, you’ll need to get a second opinion.

Chances are, you have networked around a bit and know someone, or of someone, who has used a development agency. Find out who they used, ask questions about how the communication was, and the problems that arose. Tell them about some of the agencies that you’ve researched, and ask if they sound like viable options. If you know any developers or designers, even better. You should ask them about the partner you are contemplating using.

Final Thoughts

Finding the app development partner that’s right for you can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Follow the steps above and you’ll end up finding a partner that’s capable, reliable, and can complete your project within budget.

Have you been looking into potential app development partners without any luck? Have a product or question idea that you need help sorting out? Ping Koombea today to discuss an innovative app idea, or to clarify any app development questions. We’re here to help!

by Kate Swanberg
Blog Post