With significant advances in mobile app technology, businesses are keen to join the mobility bandwagon and keep their customers engaged through enterprise-level apps. Several global corporations have already taken the step forward; and in the near future, many more companies are likely to follow suit.
Given the complexity with which businesses operate, literally thousands of companies are in the process of creating their roadmap for the adoption of mobile applications, in the near future. If you are one of those, then it is important for you to do due diligence and ask the right questions before you finalize on your next mobile app development project. A comprehensive, well-thought-out plan will save you a lot of headaches and money. However, if your company has already made the decision to go ahead and create a mobile application, then you must follow these important steps before you choose the right mobile app development partner.
The logical first step is to ask the development company about the last few projects that they have delivered. This will give you a good idea of the type and scale of their past projects as well as their competence vis a vis various technologies. For example, if the company has developed an enterprise software, then you can look at its level of customization, database query & reporting structure as well as payment modes.
You may want to go further and ask some important questions, for example:
What were the specifications given by clients?
How long did it take to complete those projects?
What were the challenges that they faced?
How did they solve those challenges?
Did they work with in-house developers of the client?
Where was the application software hosted?
Did they work on Agile Development Methodology?
When several companies are making their pitches to you, they may have different ways of approaching an app development. A company is driven by its managerial ethos and policies. Some managers prefer to wait and watch before resolving a challenging situation while others take it up immediately. The company that you are engaging should match your approach, whether it is a short-term project or a longer term one. Because ultimately, in the ultimate result, a synchronization of thought processes will be required before any tangible results are obtained. When you gather this preliminary information, be sure to make a dossier of their answers and keep that as a reference when a situation arises in the future. It will help set some good precedents for teamwork as and when your technology team starts working with their development team.
At the outset, it should be determined which platform is the best fit for your application. In case you haven’t decided, it is best to take inputs from your app developer. You may want to know whether the development company can build apps for different operating systems. Building cross-platform or hybrid apps also requires specific skills and experience, so it is wise to know whether the developer can handle those. There are deep guidelines for both Android & iOS; therefore, the development company should have a thorough knowledge and experience for both.
Technology is an ocean and there are thousands of tiny details that are critical to the success of a project. A company that has good experience in developing deep-seated apps will have loads of questions for you. Don’t be put off by those questions because they are ultimately going to help you take an informed decision about what you are going to incorporate in your apps. Take the help of their experience by speaking to their seniormost manager, in order to get some good insights and ideas. This leveraging technique is frequently used by prospective clients all over the world and should not be seen as an obligation on your part.
Another valuable input that the project manager can give you is about the market trend. They usually have a good idea of which technologies are progressing well and how best to customize them for your needs. The project manager should see your app as his own baby and bring up some innovative ideas and suggestions to make it even better. Every functionality that you intend to incorporate should have a sound practical basis, otherwise you may end up spending a lot for frivolous features.
Developing an app is not just about coding, rather it is also about developing an attractive user interface. Creating a functional, easy-to-use design will not only enhance the appeal of your app but will also help you in achieving higher success during marketing and promotions phase.
For these reasons, it is important to ask the developers on their approach to user experience and design principles. That will help you in getting a clear vision on how the app is going to be designed. You might want to set out the expectations at this stage and point them towards the right direction so that the prospective companies have a good idea of what you are looking for.
Secondly, you should not have preconceived ideas about how your digital interface should look. It is a good practice to keep a flexible outlook towards the final design, because having a narrower vision will limit the choices that the UX designer can offer you. If you have some existing design or brand guidelines, try to give a larger canvas for the designers to come up with creative ideas.
Pricing & Cash Flow:
When it comes to developing mobile apps, the oft-quoted advice is “don’t let the price drive you”. In other words, your focus should be on developing a great product rather than a cheap product. It is good to have a flexible budget in mind and then choose the prospective company basis their fit within your budgetary limitations. Just to give you a ballpark figure, some recent surveys done by rating websites have found the cost of development ranging from $45,000 to $650,000, with the median price being $130,000.
While discussing pricing, remember to ask a few questions like: How do you calculate pricing? What are your different pricing models? What are your payment milestones? What are the extra costs?
Ease of Communication and Feedback:
Effective communication between clients and developers is essential for the success of any software development project. When you interact with a company, keep a track of how often they communicate. Do they reply to your messages and phone calls actively? Are they keen to put forward their ideas and observations? You can try to judge whether they have a genuine interest in your project. If they are not keen to communicate at this stage, then it might a good indication of how they will perform during development.
You may want to chalk out communication touch points and frequency, so that the prospective companies are well aware of your expectations. You can ask them about the tools they use for project tracking as well as what kind of reports they generate. If they are adept at using project collaboration tools, it will help in reducing communication blockers and ensuring that the project timelines are met.
A more concrete way would be to give them a small paid part of your project like documentation, wire framing, designing or any anything else. This would put their claims to a good test. Moreover, you would also be sure of the quality of their work. This will help you in setting up the right expectations.
A good app development company will actively participate in these discussions and be proactive in offering valuable inputs that may help your needs. Based on their experience and knowledge about similar apps, they should be able to provide some good insights as well as creative ideas for developing your application. This will help you determine if they are reliable enough to respond to challenging situations and keep your application development work on a good trajectory.