With so much at stake and so much to consider, how do you filter out the good from the bad? Here are five things to consider, before making the big decision.
1. Read between the lines when you’re looking at portfolios
It’s easy to be impressed by vibrant and diverse portfolios that present the kind of outcomes you wish to see for your own app. Your instinct would be to hire a developer in such circumstances immediately, but chances are that they may have played a minimal role in the items portrayed over their portfolio.
It therefore makes sense to ask specific, strategic questions in order to confirm the level of participation over the collateral they have presented. If you see something you particularly like, ask questions such as:
– What exactly did you work on, for this project?
– Were there other team members involved too? If so, what did they do?
– Was the concept/architecture your idea, or did you simply help execute it?
These simple questions can go a long way to help you determine what an app developer contributed towards a project over his/her portfolio, and to what extent.
2. Let’s talk money
It may be tempting to hire an app developer who charges less by the hour, but it may end up costing you more money in the long run. For one, great quality comes with a reasonably heavy price tag – as clichéd as it sounds.
Secondly, it’s important to understand that app development, or any other form of software development for that matter, isn’t a linear process. It’s seldom predictable, and changes in coding, design, strategy etc. are highly prevalent throughout this process. As these changes are being incorporated into your app, you will end up spending much more than you expected, and possibly stray beyond your budget.
Instead of paying solely based on how many hours your developer has clocked in on your entire project, segregate payments based on milestones. As each milestone is completed, pay your developer accordingly. This way, you will be able to stay aware of how much you’re spending periodically, which in turn helps you keep track of your budget.
Speaking of which…
3. Your app developer needs to be versatile enough to constantly embrace change
As iterated previously, app development is a process that is susceptible to many unexpected changes along the way. While a competent developer is definitely going to be aware of this, it is wise to remind them of this well before they are hired and the project is initiated – so they know what to expect.
Letting them know that changes are inevitable and timelines may be extended should give you an insight on how welcoming they are towards this aspect. After all, you need someone who is receptive towards what you want to achieve through your app – even if it takes several extra steps to get there. A developer who is willing to patiently support you from beginning to end will make all the difference between a good outcome, and an amazing one.
In pursuit of the perfect app developer…
4. Find someone who can understand your business goals
What makes skilled and reliable developers stand out from the rest of the crowd, is their passion and willingness to perceive the project not just from a programming perspective – but from a business perspective too. Software engineers are regarded to be introverted and less charismatic (in lieu of robust technical skills!) but someone who is capable of exchanging business lingo with you and your team is bound to be a great fit for your project.
As they stay on par with your business objectives, it will be smoother for both parties to execute tasks, undergo changes and alternate plans if necessary – all for the sake of an app that meets your goals and delights your customers.
Last but never the least…
5. Meet and greet them in person
Portfolios of developers are ubiquitous over the web; whether it’s over freelancer websites or social media. While it’s acceptable to reach out to app developers online, it’s also a good practice to network at conferences, workshops and tech-related events. After all, the best developers are bound to already be occupied with projects, so their profiles may not always be available online.
You can also ask colleagues for recommendations; word of mouth is definitely an effective method to finding somebody who has been trusted before for a project – and can very well be trusted again.
To wrap it all up…
Choosing a developer to build your app requires some careful thought from your part, as not all of them are the same. Each software engineer has his/her strengths and weaknesses, and you need to gauge which competencies you require to make your app a success.
– It’s important to thoroughly scrutinise portfolios by ensuring how a developer has contributed to projects before.
– In order to stay within your budget, choose to pay your developer based on the milestones they reach, as opposed to paying them one-off or by the hour, as the development process is generally agile.
– What’s more, you’re also better off hiring someone who is flexible enough to work on changes as often as needed due to the agile nature of the project, along with someone who additionally understands not just programming, but also your business goals.