Top 10 Criteria to Select the Best App Development Company

By Jagdish Bhatt
App Development Company

You have an incredible app idea. You are thoroughly aware of the app development process. You are ready to spend on one of the top app development companies in the market.

Everything seems right until this point. What could go wrong?

The problem is your willingness to hire the best app company is not directly correlated to how much money you are planning to invest, although that is a crucial factor when it comes to hiring at the later stage. Chances are you may fall victim to:

  • The eloquence of the sales team
  • Flashy websites
  • Top ranking on Google search page
  • Low cost
  • Beautifully written proposal

We would recommend rather than getting overwhelmed by the company’s track record of success or exceptional sales quotes, set up certain criteria based on your unique project requirement and then close the deal with the one which meets most of those criteria.

The criteria will help you to find the best application development company that can successfully handle your app development project. Initially, you can use this list of criteria that covers all the aspects of the app development process in order to find the right app development company for your project.

1. Experience On Their Website

First off, create a list of top app development companies that you might find capable of handling your project and then examine your experience on their website. Making the list is important, as it will help you perform the screening process with proper planning.

Below are the details of this two-step process:

Step 1: Create a list of top app development companies
Search the internet and make a list of companies that you believe could be the right fit for your project. The criteria to put an app development company in your list of top 10 app development companies could be:

  • Company size (depending on your project requirement)
  • Global delivery capability
  • Local-language support
  • In-country location of resources
  • Ability to address regulatory and legal requirements

It is easy to find these details in the website of the app making company.

Spoiler Alert: Top ranking companies on Google search results may not necessarily be the best fit. They may be good at advertising or SEO but not necessarily app development.

Therefore, we would recommend you to thoroughly observe the website from the perspective of User Experience, which leads to the next step.

Step 2: Evaluate the Experience on Their Website

At this step, review the entire website from the aspects of:

  • UI and UX
  • Content clarity in the form of font, text size and images
  • Navigation

Based on your experience, remove the app development companies from your list that deliver poor website experience and move to the next criteria.

2. Diverse Range of Work

Explore the app development portfolio on the website of the remaining companies, so that you are not totally clueless during on-call or in-person meetings while discussing the kind of app development project they have completed previously.

For a start, you can check out the type of apps created, based on technology, design, and industry served. Once you get the overall idea of their app development capabilities and strength of the app developers, check the relevant work done similar to your app development requirement.

Look for the case studies with a detailed description of the application and then further eliminate those companies that do not make the desired impact.

3. Proposal Structure and Detailing

Ask for the proposal from the remaining companies and get them evaluated by both IT and business leaders in your organization. Prepare all the questions for solicited proposals properly based on the problem, need, and goal.

Read out the proposal to see how effectively they have addressed all the “what”, “how” and “why” on the following aspects:
  • Business requirements
  • Design
  • Development
  • Execution
  • Testing
  • Deployment
Here are a few questions that must be addressed in the app development proposal:
  • How well do they understand your business requirements?
  • What solution do they propose?
  • What is the credibility of the proposed solution?
  • How well-resourced they are to provide the solution?
  • What will be their goal during the app development process?
  • How will they do the work?
  • What metrics will they set to measure the success of the solution?
  • What would be the most crucial metrics?
  • What is their proof of being qualified and competent?
  • Will there be an added value proposition?

Proceed with only those app development companies who have answered accurately and in detail to most of the questions.

4. Team Behind Proposal Development

Always ask the app development agency to provide the name and designation of the people involved in proposal development. Often the sales team creates a proposal based on the promises made by them to the company, without consulting the technology team.

But since they are not the people who are actually into “development”, it is important for you to know if the tech team can commit to the same from the perspective of features and functionality, timeline, and budget.

Ideally, a proposal should be made by Tech + Sales Team as a salesperson can better understand the customer pain areas, while the tech team can validate how efficiently they can solve those problems in a fixed timeframe.

5. Technology Stack

Technology stack is a collection of programming languages, frameworks, and tools used for developing a software product. Collectively they are called a stack.

A well-planned technology stack is essential to get an application development project seamlessly off the ground.

Work jointly with the application development company to select a technology stack, considering the following:

  • Type of application
  • Time to market
  • Application security
  • App development platform
  • Developer community strength
  • Availability of talent
  • Development cost
  • Migration
  • Scalability

Discuss the technology stack with all the remaining app development companies in your list and select the one that shows both confidence and evidence of handling similar kinds of app development technologies in the past.

6. Development Methodology—The Course of Action

By the time you have reached this level of selection criteria, only 5-6 app development companies may have remained in your list. With the remaining companies, you have to discuss how they approach an app development project.

A software development life cycle has typically 6 phases and you must know what process they follow at each phase of software application development.

Evaluate all the app development service vendors on these parameters:
  • Requirement Gathering: Understand their perspective on why you want to develop the software, why the features and functionalities you have suggested are crucial to the software, and how they will be documenting the entire process for future reference.
  • Design: Get to know how they will be wireframing the software and the team involved in creating working models of the software.
  • Development: Learn about their development team emphasizing the experience of software developers and their technical background.
  • Quality Assurance: Explore their quality assurance measures at each phase and the team that will have the responsibility of identifying bugs.
  • Maintenance: Get more information on what measures they will take to keep the app robust, secure, and competitive.

This would be a conclusive criterion. At this stage, analyze their approach to software application development and their efficiency in determining the scope, and whether the process will be iterative.

7. Operational Practices & Management Capabilities

There are two key aspects of operational practices:
  • One that the mobile app development company has in-depth knowledge of software development best practices.
  • Second that the service provider is flexible enough to customize those best practices according to your project requirement.

The role of the project manager is integral to the correct implementation of best practices for risk mitigation and performance optimization in software development. Asses the project manager and team in other departments on their capabilities and understanding of:

  • Scope and Objectives: what is in and out of scope
  • Deliverables: What will be delivered and how they document them for transparency
  • Project Planning: How the project manager decides to include people and resources and allocate budget
  • Communication: Ask questions like ‘do they have daily huddles’, ‘will they do daily communication’, and ‘will there be daily timesheets’.
  • Tracking and Reporting Project Success: What measures the service vendor takes to monitor and compare the project success on the metrics of schedule, quality, and budget.
  • Change Management: How efficiently they can handle change in features or functionality.
  • Risk Management: How soon they can identify the risk and mitigate the risk to reduce its impact

At the end of this stage, you must not have more than 3 companies on your list. Now stop the elimination process and begin comparing to finally pick the best app development company for your project.

8. Ethics and Values

Although it is quite difficult to evaluate the ethics and values nurtured by the company before actually working with them, you can give a check to understand their opinion and measures taken by them to maintain ethics and values within the organization.

The key factors on which you should assess the company are:
  • Active participation of all the team members
  • Equality between all the involved parties
  • Transparency, where information is available to every stakeholder
  • Accountability in the form of client satisfaction
  • Ability to take responsive decisions
  • Ability to achieve strategic goals
  • Optimal utilization of resources

Proceed ahead with the app development companies that live up to your expectations at this stage.

9. App Development Cost

Cost is important but we have kept it at the end of our top 10 list because it shouldn’t affect your decision-making at the very initial phase. While low cost is tempting, it comes with certain drawbacks.

Remember that talent shortage is the reality of the IT industry and talented web or mobile app developers won’t be working at low wages.

Featured Blog: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Software Developer in 2019

Of course, another reality is a limited project budget. We would recommend you to select a mid-sized app development company with a certain number of app developers having more than 3-5 and 5-8 years of experience.

Besides, ask them for a cost-breakup and try to adjust the cost initially, if there is any possibility.

10. Check References

Conducting a reference check is the final selection criteria to see how their relation is with previous clients. While calling the past clientele of the app development agency, ask the right questions with an objective to:

  • verify their claims
  • identify strengths and deficiencies
  • understand their proactive, technology-focused approach

It is possible that references do not provide clear information, so try reading nonverbal or subtle verbal cues. Remember that the bulk of your judgment should be based on facts.

Now that you have all the information in hand, select a company that you believe will be the best fit for your project.

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