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.

What could go wrong?

Chances are you may make the mistake of hiring the wrong app development company. Among many reasons of app failure, poor execution are the common reason why apps fail.

While hiring, many companies make the mistake of not setting proper criteria to screen the companies on a multitude of aspects to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

They often get carried by:
  • 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.

To begin with, we have created a list of top 10 criteria to select a web or mobile app development company, covering almost all the critical aspects of an app development project.

1. Experience On Their Website

You can start your search by creating a list of top 10 app development companies and examine your experience on their website. Making the list is important, as it will help you to set the target initially and begin the screening process with proper planning.

Below are the details of this two-step process:

Step 1: Create a list of top 10 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 service vendors 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

An overview of their website is enough to give these details to see how efficiently they meet these parameters.

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.

Step 2: Evaluate the Experience on Their Website

At this step, determine the user’s journey on their website and check to see the following aspects:

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

Based on your experience, eliminate the companies from your list whose experience doesn’t meet your expectations and move to the next criteria.

2. Diverse Range of Work

Dig into the website of the vendor to see their app development portfolio so that you are not totally clueless during on-call or in-person discussions. You can either mail or directly call on the contact details provided on the site to discuss your app development project with the right person in the company.

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 mobile 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 an 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 need to be addressed through the app development proposal:
  • How well 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 they will 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 the best app development companies which have properly answered most of the questions and leave the rest out.

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 for 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 your app development companies on the above-mentioned aspects and select the one that shows both confidence and proofs of handling similar kinds of projects, with the same level of complexity.

6. Development Methodology—The Course of Action

By the time you have reached this level of selection criteria, you may have eliminated a minimum of 5 companies from your list. With the remaining companies, you have to be very clear with how they approach the 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 is their relation with past 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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