All app developers are equal ; but some are more equal than the others!

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It can be overwhelming to pick out the perfect fit: whether it is an outfit, a new restaurant or a new dish at an old restaurant, or an app developer. Given that anyone who is looking for an app developer goes through the stages of having to scout for one, the pool of choices is abundant. For those that approach consultants, there could be a shortlist.

At ContractIQ, we give you the best of three app developers for a given requirement, based on their fit to the context of what you are trying to achieve, their past performance, references and about 20 other parameters that serve as leading indicators of whether you’d have a good time working with an app developer.

In spite of this, there are times when all the shortlisted app developers turn up with identical solutions, pricing and time estimates. This begs a logical question: how do you differentiate between them to know which one you should pick?

When hard numbers and facts are not enough to differentiate between app developers, turn to soft signals.

To start with, identify the general aesthetics of their proposal.

The proposal that is offered in the first stage of scouting a developer is a bit of a window into the organisation’s functioning: it offers a complete insight into what the organization does, and what they are willing to offer vis-à-vis your needs.

Most developers send out these proposals are typically artifacts that are constructed on a template. Given that these proposals are the organisation’s reflection of what it stands for, it is, in effect, the first impression you are given to have. A developer may offer you a poorly formatted excel sheet. Another might walk the extra mile to give you a beautiful presentation with images and well crafted typography. A third developer might give you a document with a mix of the run off the mill fluff along with close details for how the app will be built, and then offer a massive degree of granularity in the estimates that correspond with the effort. In such situations, the comparison is easy: and the choice is pretty much written on the wall.

The second way to go is to rely on references. Every developer who has been in the business for considerable amount of time will have a body of work, which will have feedback and references available for all to see, about. It is not just necessary to go by the good references and feedback, but also equally important to see if they have had negative feedback, and how they have chosen to engage with those who offered negative feedback: were they willing to admit to mistakes? Did they make a conscious attempt to offer a compensatory service to make good the issue that came forth in a given situation? The point is not to nitpick and look for the perfectionist: because you will find none. The point is, to approach this with a sense of pragmatism, and understand that mistakes may happen – and in such a scenario, you should be with an organization that has the wherewithal to address the issue rather than not.

A third factor you should keep in mind is transparency. Mobile app development is rocket science, and you need to go to a developer who not only knows his stuff, but tells you upfront what is and what is not within his capacity, the feasibility and the affordability considering your requirements.

It does not help you or your cause if you are being promised heaven and earth, but are delivered only a fleeting glimpse of it. It does not help if you are being fleeced under this promise, but there is no delivery to compensate for what you sought. The dynamism in a field of this kind is but the sole constant: and at every turn, you have a right to know where you stand, what you are getting into, and what you will be given. A developer that is reputed for transparency walks the extra mile in being the ideal choice to go with.

Finally, the responsiveness of a developer plays a key role in your decision making process. During the presales stage, are they responsive and eager enough to return your calls, answer all questions with the patience of your language teacher and proactive enough to touch upon points that you did not know you’ve to discuss?

In any ideal case scenario, judging responsiveness in the initial days can be quite tricky. It is all very easy and possible for one to put his best foot forward and attempt to bag a new customer: before he slips into an intellectual coma once things take off, taking for granted that the customer has arrived, and shall be here to stay. The key is to stay engaged and be open in asking all the questions you want to ask, and see if you are being given the information you asked for, or if you are being forced to deal with information that is obscure or incomplete. Identify if the enthusiasm is genuine or a sheer exercise in pursuit of another customer.

At the end of the day, logical thinking and a spoonful of intuition should be your perfect collaborative partner in picking out the ideal developer: so be proactive and involve yourself in the process of evaluating the options you have. Ask the right questions, scratch deeper, and explore.

All hard numbers being identical, you’d go with an app developer you tend to ‘like’. Deconstruct what ‘like’ means and you’d see that it’s a combination of personality, transparency, responsiveness and earnestness.

Oops, we just gave away a few more of the secret ingredients in our developer evaluation process!

 

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