Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Best ways to find out a great iPhone App Developer/ Mobile App developer for your project?

So you've a million dollar App Idea and now looking for a suitable and professional mobile apps developer company to turn your idea into an high quality mobile app, but confused which way to go about? If that is what you are stuck at right now, then keep reading on...

Let me first of all mention here that any Mobile Apps Development or the buzzword iPhone Apps development is a typical Software Development task only, the only difference can be the comparatively short duration of the project development and testing wrt an Enterprise level software development. But in either case, Quality, Time-to-market, User Experience, Usability, and Price of product are of top significance. So whether it is iPhone Apps development company or an Android Apps development one, it is a Software Development Company at the first place and hence it requires a great degree of expertise, capabilities, processes/ methodologies, and Quality standards to develop an Mobile Application!

So coming back to the best ways to find out a great iPhone/ Android Apps development company, here we go step by step:

Step 1. Do your homework, get your idea on paper and well documented, and try to have wire-frames (even pen-sketched would do) handy beforehand.

This is the most important base of any successful App development venture. Get ready with your idea done on paper, it should be well documented with all the features and functionality requirements of the app, covering details of any backend/ server side information (if, any pertinent), and MUST BE showcasing the flow of your app, either in a diagram format, or sketched by pen, or a .PSD file, or on a PPTX, or using some tools like this - Keynote kungoo template, or OmniGraffle, or just go through some posts on Quora here for more information on this - http://www.quora.com/Should-iPhone-and-Android-apps-be-wireframed-separately, http://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-methods-for-wireframing-iPhone-apps.
Again, I personally recommend having a pen-paper App flow first before anything else. And then you've liberty to either use these tools, or hiring a designer, or thinking on outsourcing design work as well along with the coding of the app.

Note: If you are targeting two or more platforms i.e Android and iPhone, then try to have separate app flow wireframes for each, despite the fact that app will be similar, but still both devices are different for applications behavior in few ways, so better to treat these different. This is just recommended, and a good Mobile Apps Development company can iterate one for another easily, with a couple of discussions and back and forth review sessions. :)

Step 2. Clear with what you want? Start hunting for development company, create a raw list of potential development companies!

Now you have all the information and stuff with you and know what you are looking for, so you should take all or any of the steps given below to create a raw list of potential software development companies:

Option 1. Spread the word in your contact circle about your requirements (if you are comfortable doing that, most are not though) and see if you get any references of professional Mobile Apps Development companies (Not part-timers or freelancers please, they have least accountability of the work they do), that have good expertise, experience, and reasonable rates for you.
Well, this doesn't work always due to one reason or another. May be developers in your location (for ex. USA) are too costly, or difficult to be found out, or are too busy to take up your project, or may be you don't have any expert in your direct/ indirect circle. So, you can't only rely on this, because time is significant and you just shouldn't wait for a developer to come up from your contacts first, and then only you kick off. Not recommended as the sole option!

Option 2. Do a google search with right keywords, or search via social networks like Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and then browse through search pages, quickly check out websites of potential development companies, and contact all that look promising and professional at first look! (This mostly works, and is a recommended step)


Once you get results as per these keywords, search through first 4-5 pages or more, and keep on clicking on websites listed there, and start contacting the ones which look more professional, stable, and corporate level websites (recommending - consider the ones which look lesser flashy, more professional, lesser jazzy and more corporate, they are anyways custom software development companies and not Product/ App publishing companies for God's sake so the ones giving you to-the-point and relevant information about their services should be good).

Generally, services companies have online contact us forms to be filled up by you, or a sales ID given, so use any option and contact them, with your name/ contact details and about a brief about what are you looking for (for example you can simply write: "Hi, John here from NY and I'm looking for skilled iPhone Apps developers for my Location based social App project and Backend, revert to my E-mail ID if you are interested, thanks"), and wait for the responses.

Option 3. Post your project on freelancing/ online markeplaces sites like vworker.com, Elance, oDesk as a commodity and wait for responses. (Least recommended option if you are an enterprise seeking for long term accountable relationship and quality development, and even if you are an individual with no or lesser experience of outsourcing work via these portals)

Well, I'm sorry to say this option as least recommended, but it is unfortunately true to much extent. Of course there are success stories of projects done via these portals, but there are equal or more number of flop stories as well.

Even I've my company's profile on these portals, but we are hardly active on any, except one vworker.com (and that too because of some emotional reasons, and successful big ventures in the past via the same) and I won't recommend you to post and auction your project as a commodity in the market full of part-timers, non genuine players, insanely low cost providers and with lowest quality who promise you the world but give you pain in reality, blind bidders and so on).

You'll ofcourse receive many bids on your project in few days, and widely ranging from USD 500 to USD 10,000 for the same piece of work. Isn't it bit funny? It will take a lot of pain out of you to weed out the non-genuine, non promising bidders from the list, and then talking to 3-4 potential ones and choosing one.

Also, these portals have least human touch, which is I believe is really required for any software outsourcing relationship. These portals facilitate work on standard protocol and processes, and although it turns out to be great sometimes, but still lacks what you can have while directly dealing with professional software development companies. It is hard to explain this in words, but if you've experienced that you'd know it (I've an experience of working with 3 freelancers in the past, and it was almost a pain for me to keep telling them what was their responsibility, duties, and that my project should've been on their priority), but since most of them are part timers and working for extra money, they don't treat you as valuable customer as a professional company would do. Think about it.

Anyways, we are done with the steps of creating a raw short list of potential developers. Now take the next step.

Step 3. Check out responses coming via any of the medium/ source mentioned above and start screening/ further shortlisting.

You are getting responses and great interests for your project, good! Now, sit with a cool head and count how many different developer companies and freelancers have responded to your web inquiry, or freelancer site's project post, or contacted you via direct reaching (where companies like us mostly reach their target customers via E-mail and introducing respective services).

If these are more than 10, then do an initial level screening at your end, weed out Freelancers right away, weed out the ones that have sent you an automated/ or template response (it should be specific and by a thoughtful individual) and consider the ones which are specific, asking you for further details, and suggesting you next steps for the sales process. Share the specific project requirements with short listed vendors after signing an NDA/ confidentiality agreement.

Step 4. Create your vendor selection criteria (keep it flexible as it gets and should get modified as along with the purchase process, because you gain some knowledge during that), and start screening.

A recommended Vendor Selection Criteria should have following major parameters:
1. Responsiveness during the process. (Just think that the ones who are having a lazy sales team are unlikely to have a robust development team, exceptions are there though) :)
2. Stability and Size of the company.
3. Expertise and skill-sets level, Previous experience & references, and Mobile domain knowledge. (most important, anyone can say they are one of the best, but it is you who'll decide if they are best-matching to your needs or not).
4. Quality of questions they ask you about your project, and their attitude towards you (are they supportive and suggestive and act as consultants, or they just treat you as a mere lead).
5. Pricing and reasoning behind the pricing they are offering, and payment terms. Companies usually take some percentage of total amount as kick-off fee (in advance) and which is a standard practice.
6. Transparency - How transparently they share the estimation with low-level task break up, the reasons of the final price, calculations, sharing of genuine CVs of resources, facilitating interview with the proposed developer and team lead and so on.
7. Quality and Project Execution processes - ask them to share some details about how they execute the project, and what quality standards they follow; and compare the answers/ information coming from each company. Just note that promising world is easy to win a customer, but consider what seems worthy in practical terms.
8. Your overall experience and comfort level with each potential company during the decision-making process: that may sound kiddish but is most important. Ultimately, you'll be working closely with them for next 2 to 6 months (depending upon the duration of the project) so it is really important for you to figure out with whom you are getting a Team-work feeling and a comfort/ transparent atmosphere.
9. Proposed Agreements, terms & conditions, accountability clauses, and post delivery support.

You can list down all these parameters in the left hand column of a matrix, give them percentage weight age out of 100 (for ex. pricing may be having 15 % weight and quality of questions may have 12 % and so on)  then create corresponding rows for each company head and its total score. Score each company against each parameter on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being least and 10 being best), then multiply the score with the weight-age of corresponding parameter, and do the total of each company's score at the bottom.

Let me try to explain it with an example table:




Score Company A
Score Company B
Score Company C
Parameter
Weight-age (out of 100)
Individual Score
Weighted Score
Individual Score
Weighted Score
Individual Score
Weighted Score
Responsiveness during the process.
20 %
5
20*5




Stability and years in business of the company.
10 %
7
10*7




Expertise and skill-sets level, and Mobile domain knowledge.
X %
2
X*2




Previous Work Experience, References
Y %
6
Y*6




Total
100 Percent

Total A

Total B

Total C


Please note that the total given in blue highlight/ white color text are the decisive scores. It seems to be a bit theoretical method, but you can try using it, it really works, because you've all the scoring on one single paper, and based on the total scores, you can further weed out the non-matching players. I don't say that go ahead with the total scoring only, but it will atleast give you some solid base for decision-making.

 Step 4. Share your intent to work with the selected vendor, finalize on development plan, payment modes and milestones, agreement, and kick off!


I'll try to explain one of the best and optimized ways to a successful project completion, and how to achieve a mutually comfortable and long term relationship with your Software development partner in my next blog.

Alternatively, for any kind of Mobile App development project, or enterprise software development services requirements of yours, you can contact me directly via Email, or fill out our Contact Us form and get a quote. We provide high quality development services at affordable rates, and act as your true technology partner by leveraging our deep Mobile domain expertise and consulting.

Will appreciate your comments!

Best Regards
SDeep




Listed on DeveloperDirectory


65 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the best ways to find out a great iPhone/ Android Apps development company in step by step method

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  2. That was really a great idea u have shared.It was really helpful and thanks a lot !!

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  3. Informative post, I believe the effective way to look for a mobile app developer is to try them first before hiring. This will help you determine the capabilities o f a person on how to do the tasks effectively. When hiring always keep in mind that it is easy to hire but it is difficult to hire the right one for the job. There are times that conducting an interview is just not enough to screen applicants.

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    Replies
    1. You are right. A small test project can be a very good and low risk method for hiring an iPhone App Development Company.

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  4. Great thoughts Sdeep, thanks for sharing this concise procedure on how to find out the best iPhone/mobile app developer for your project. This could also serve as a good guide to others. In additional to these great tips, before you hire a developer you must TEST THEM FIRST. This will help you reduce the risk of hiring a freelancer who is not capable to do the job. There are also times that we think that if a person is doing great on his/her interview and based on their resume, we assume that he/she is the right one we are looking that would fit for the job.

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  5. Thanks for the information. What can you expect to pay for a good app to be developed?

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    Replies
    1. You may read this for the cost of an iOS App development - http://iosappdevelopment.blogspot.in/2012/07/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-ios-app.html

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