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How to Vet Your Potential Development Partners

A development partner plays an integral role in getting your app from a business idea to a finished product. With so many app developers out there, it’s important to do your research before making a decision. Asking the following questions can help you cut through the online marketing message and objectively evaluate your options :

1. Who will be working on my project?

Some developers assign a team of individuals to work on each aspect of the project-design, security, marketing, etc.- others may assign just one person per category. With the latter, you run the risk of single point of failure if the employee decides to leave the project. Knowing employee retention rates, and if the company has a backup plan should such a situation arise, gives you a better idea of how your project will be managed.

 

2. Where do your resources come from?

To cut costs, some developers hire independent contractors to provide certain services on the project. This can lead to inconsistent design or a decrease in overall quality. Outsourcing may also complicate project coordination if communication between contractors, employees, and clients isn’t streamlined. In most cases, it’s better to find a developer that provides all services through an in-house team that can deliver the level of quality, communication, and commitment that your company needs.

 

3. How will you keep me updated on your progress?

During the development process, communication is key. Find out which channel of communication your developer will use and how often they plan on contacting you. Some developers use traditional methods such as phone and email, others use project management tools such as Basecamp to keep you in touch with the development team. You may even find some developers opting for both methods.

Also be sure to ask about the frequency of status updates. Will there be daily or weekly progress calls or emails? How will you be informed after each step of the development timeline is completed? How will they collect and document your feedback? A good product is made when all expectations have been met. For this to happen, you must be aware of where your app is in the development process.

 

4. Do you have security expertise?

You’ve surely heard of recent hacks at Verizon, Starbucks, and WhatsApp and so have your customers. Whether you’re a large corporation or a small business, your company needs to seek out a developer that can provide you with a line of defense to protect against payment fraud, identity theft, and the exposure of sensitive information. Look for a developer that can integrate secure features into your app, test for vulnerabilities, and has a plan in place if a security breach ever occurs. Security is something that users will expect when they download your app–don’t let them down.

 

Don’t forget that the purpose of your app is to enhance customer experience and customer loyalty. These two factors are built through positive interactions with your company and a sense of trust. The developer that you’ll choose to work with will directly impact how your business is perceived by your customers. Taking the time to ask critical questions before partnering with a developer will help you reach tangible results and leverage the most out of your investment.

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