Nik Froehlich is the CEO and Founder of Saritasa (has worked with Sony, Disney, BJs, Burger Boss and Yamaha)
There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing a development partner. Implementing new technology, whether it is a mobile app, complex AR/VR application, backend system, or anything else, is challenging. Software development can be a bumpy road, especially if you are not technical yourself. Finding the right technology partner can make or break your project.
The discovery and selection process can be extremely overwhelming. There are many factors—technical, financial, legal, and even cultural, to evaluate when deciding on your development partner. Having the information you need will help you describe your project to prospective partners, compare quotes, secure approvals and ensure your project’s ongoing health and ultimate success. But what should you be looking for in your evaluations?
We’ve put together the top 5 things to look for when you are shopping for the right development partner:
Most projects require a team with a diverse set of skills and expertise. If a development firm has experience working on similar projects, it will be able to more accurately identify and avoid potential risks. It’s important that your partner has the competence and depth of experience to understand both the technical and business considerations of your project. Ask for case studies on similar projects and client testimonials. Established companies with long-term employees typically have more defined processes and risk mitigation strategies.
Defining Your Scope
You (hopefully) have a good idea of what you want to build. However, individual discussions with each company you speak to are bound to influence your ideas. The right questions will help refine your project description. Any written project description you can provide will ensure that every developer provides a scope based on identical requirements. Once the scope is defined, make sure that it includes all possible options and alternatives discussed, and is clearly documented as it goes through revisions. A well-defined scope will also help avoid scope creep. You want a partner who can not only deliver an MVP but is also aligned with your long-term goals and vision.
Understanding the Technical Nuances of Your Scope
If you are not technical, or if you are building a new product, it can be hard to understand the more complex components. You will need your development partner to walk you through the technological choices that will be made on your behalf and the process behind bringing your project to life. It’s also important that your partner demonstrates both technical and business acumen and a keen understanding of your industry. This will be evident from the company’s client and project portfolio.
When you are comparing project scopes presented by different partners, make sure you are comparing the same thing. Sounds intuitive, but you’d be surprised how drastically scopes can differ. If all companies have been given the same requirements, the hour estimates should be comparable. If there is a large variance in the hour’s estimate presented by different companies, you need to go back to see if there are differences in the scope. There will always be ambiguities, not everything can be clearly defined. However, the scope needs to identify and allow for them. Identify the partner that covers all the requirements and offers the richest solution.
Cost Vs Quality
Regardless of how comparable the project scope and estimates of hours/effort are, prices quoted can vary wildly between companies. Project cost can depend on a variety of factors, including the size and location of the company, where the development team is based, whether you will be billed at a flat or hourly rate, a blended or role-specific rate, the number of resources assigned to your project, inclusions and exceptions made in the scope, and many other factors. While it can be tempting to go with the company that offers the lowest price, it’s a good idea to weigh costs with other aspects that determine the ultimate quality of your product.
The goal of choosing the right development partner goes beyond the project alone. An ideal partner understands the larger mission of your company, is aligned with your future goals, and collaborates with you as a ‘partner in crime’ to achieve these goals and realize your vision. As in any relationship, a strong developer relationship is characterized by transparency and trust related to all aspects of project development, efficient ongoing communication, and clarity around expectations at every stage.
Nik Froehlich is the CEO and Founder of Saritasa. His passion for technology and the incredible enhancements it brings to our everyday lives is what inspired him to start Saritasa back in 2005. He recognized that many businesses are often afraid to adopt new technologies and sought a way to bridge the gap between innovation and business.