How To Select The Right Development Partner For Your Startup
- By Rahul Varshneya
- February 11th, 2013
Every startup today needs a website or an app, or both, to showcase their services or product. In some cases, the website or the app is the business itself like Fab.com or Instagram.
Not every startup has the right resources though to hire a team of developers to build the website or the mobile application.
It’s not just a matter of hiring one developer, but to create a fantastic product you need a team that starts by putting together a requirements document that details your complete technical specifications, usability and graphic design, development and finally making sure that the app or the website is bug free.
At a stage when you’re starting up, you want to keep the costs at a minimum.
When you are bootstrapping to launch your venture, pool in all your funds, keep the costs low and go with an outsourced provider that understands your requirements best. The most important thing for you at this moment is to get your product in the hands of the customer.
Some of the most famous products today were outsourced in their initial days – Alibaba, Fab.com, Digg, Skype. And these are only a drop in the ocean of such examples.
So how do you select the right development partner that will not rob you off your sleep?
Look for one that will get into the skin of the entrepreneur and understand the product from their perspective. They should be able to provide business and customer insights through their knowledge of working in the market with other entrepreneurs, help mold your product to carve a niche for itself in the market; essentially helping you build a product that you can be proud of.
Here are some important factors to consider while selecting a development partner.
1. Look for a developer that is interested in your business more than the development. Those are the people (the good ones) who know what works and what doesn’t through their experience of working with many clients.
For example, most developers or development companies will start a dialogue with technical specifications. Arkenea starts with the reasons and motivation behind the app idea, differentiators and then go onto suggestions for making the app even better revenue grosser.
2. Assess their portfolio. A good developer MUST also have excellent U/UX skills. 60% of your application is about how a user interacts with it. Look for beautiful looking apps with excellent user interfaces.
3. Ask for client references. Look for developers who will readily extend client contact information for you to ask them questions and get real feedback on the company that you are going to work with.
4. Development of a mobile application is not a one-time activity. Apps have to go through many evolutions and cycles through constant user feedback. Look for a developer that will stick with you through the lifecycle of the product and not abandon ship once the initial development is done and the app is hosted.
Arkenea Technologies, a service partner that empowers entrepreneurs in launching their mobile apps and website businesses, is one such example that does this best (Disclaimer: I’m a co-founder of the company).
Now for some important don’ts while selecting the right development partner.
1. Do not, and I repeat, do not select a development partner based on a price quote. You need a great product developed, not the cheapest product developed.
2. Do not select an independent developer unless you already have access to a team who will perform the rest of the functions such as design, usability, testing, etc.
3. Do not compromise on design for development of a product. How a website or an app looks is as important as how it works. Go a step further and look at partners who can add value to the usability aspect of your website or mobile app which will define how users interact with your product.
4. Do not rush into selecting your partner. Take time to know your shortlisted partners. After all, you’d be spending most of your time talking and coordinating with them, not just till your product is out, but potentially for as long as it exists.
Focus on the right aspects of your business and you’re bound to see success. Selecting the right partner for your startup can define whether your startup heads North or South. A little bit of caution and additional time spent in the selection process will go a long way.