You’ve finally made the decision – you need a mobile app. After doing some digging, it becomes clear that hiring a mobile development studio to build the app is what will work for you.
But, how do you choose between the hundreds of agencies out there?
Know what you know, and what you don’t
Ask yourself a couple questions.
What is my business and how does mobile relate to it? If you’re an eCommerce company, then your app will often be the main touch point with your customers. If you build wearables, the app plays a peripheral role that should compliment the hardware. Understanding what you need from your app will help you narrow down the list of potential mobile development studios as most specialize in certain types of apps even if they don’t say so outright.
What level of knowledge do I and my team have about mobile and software development generally? The answer to this question sets the dynamic between you and the development team, and will provide you with some clear criteria for evaluating the studios competing for your project. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the major trends and ideas in the field – agile vs. waterfall, native vs. hybrid and a general expectation of what your investment of both time and money will be.
Answering these two questions is the key to identifying exactly what you need out of your partnership with a mobile development studio. With some studios stronger in design than others, some also handling backend development and others not, it’s knowing what you need going in that will save you from wasting time moving forward to the next step of the evaluation with a developer that doesn’t fit your project.
Comparing mobile development studios
When it comes to comparing mobile firms, there are two sets of qualities to keep in mind.
The first set includes the obvious, concrete comparisons you can make using a spreadsheet or whatever other method you choose. Here we are talking about price, relevant expertise, development process, provision of necessary services (i.e. assistance releasing your app on the App Store or Google Play), location as well as the quality and organization of the team who will be working on your app. These are the questions that you should not fail to ask each of the agencies you are vetting, and for which you should have an idea in advance what is acceptable and what is a deal breaker.
Intangible qualities should not be overlooked when choosing a development partner. Building a successful app must be a collaborative process. If you have the perfect mobile development studio on paper but your communication style and company culture are not compatible with theirs, the results will not be good enough – especially not in the current, saturated app market.
Do you trust the developer? Do more than just have a couple meetings. Are they asking insightful questions about the project and demonstrating interest in your business and needs? Ask to speak with a former client and check independent review sites like Clutch to build a full picture of what you can expect.
Choosing a mobile development studio is not rocket science, but it does take some work. Do your initial research, ask the right questions and take the time to compare multiple agencies and you can be confident that your decision will turn into a valuable partnership.