Top 10 Criteria to Select Best App Development Vendor

App Development Company

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

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

The problem is your willingness to hire the best service providers 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 a 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

It’s easier to get overwhelmed! Most times you will be facing questions like- what should I look when hiring app development agency? How do I choose the best app development service provider for my project.

There are direct answers that should be approached in more thorough fashion.

With little planning and by setting up certain selection criteria based on your unique project requirement, you may make the whole process seamless and then close the deal with the one that meets most of those criteria.

Following is a list of factors that will help you answer your questions like how to choose or what criteria to screen the app development companies you want to review-

1. Experience On Their Website

First off, create a list of top vendors that you might find capable of handling your project and then examine the user 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 vendors
Search the internet and make a list of providers that you believe could be the right fit for your project. The main criteria could be:

  • Headcount (depending on your project requirement)
  • Global delivery capability
  • Local-language support
  • In-country location of resources
  • Hourly rates/Cost
  • Ability to address regulatory and legal requirements

It is easy to find these details in the website of most providers.

Spoiler Alert: Top-ranking service providers on Google search results may not necessarily be the best fit. They may be good at advertising or SEO but not necessarily app development. So, be a bit cautious.

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 those businesses 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 service providers, 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 may like to check out the apps they have built for various industries, use-cases, segments and in B2B or B2C space. Once you get the overall idea of their app development capabilities and the strengths, check the work they have done that matches your requirements.

Look for case studies with a detailed description of the application and then further eliminate those service providers that do not fit the needs.

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3. Proposal Structure and Detailing

Ask for the proposal from the remaining vendors 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
  • Maintenance and support
  • Future development needs
Here are a few questions that must be addressed in the app development proposal:
  • How well do they understand the business requirements?
  • What solution do they propose?
  • What technology stacks they have recommended and why?
  • 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 service providers who have answered all the questions to the best of your satisfaction.

4. Team Behind Proposal Development

Always ask the development team to provide the name and designation of the people involved in proposal development. Many times, the sales team creates a proposal based on the promises made by them, 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 as technology stacks.

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

Work jointly with the service provider 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 service providers 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 service providers may have remained on your list. With them, 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 3-4 providers on your list. Now stop the elimination process and begin comparing to finally choose the best one for your project.

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8. Ethics and Values

Although it is quite difficult to evaluate the ethics and values nurtured by the service provider 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 them on 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 service provider that lives 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 mobile app developers won’t be working at low wages.

Featured Blog: How Much Does it Cost to Hire Software Developer

Of course, another reality is a limited project budget. We would recommend you select a mid-sized vendor with a decent number of 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 shortlists, ask the right questions with the objective to:

  • verify their claims
  • identify strengths and deficiencies
  • understand their proactive, technology-focused approach
  • Lastly and most importantly, the mindset. Whether they work with a service provider mindset or a vendor mindset

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 vendor that you believe will be the best fit for your project.

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