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4 questions to ask a development firm to see if they’re right for you

Our customers often share stories with us about other developers. And of course, since they’re coming to us for support rather than sticking with those firms, many of these stories aren’t great. 

They often reveal that some developers avoid telling their clients the full truth about certain elements of the app production process. Or that they just don’t take the time to understand the business needs of their customers, which means they are not as well-equipped to build an app that helps achieve those goals. 

One simple example that happens all the time: Customers who come to us saying they were told by their previous developers that Apple iOS approvals take 30 days to complete. Which is not true, and in fact if you follow Apple’s guidelines properly, approvals typically only take about 24 hours. But not every firm has a specialist on their team who makes sure every platform-specific requirement is met. 

This is why it’s important that you work with a best-in-class development team. They should not only be straight with you about the development process, but also design your app so that it fits seamlessly into your overall business plan, helping you actualize key objectives. 

To figure out whether a development team is telling you everything you need to know, we suggest you focus your planning and assessment on four areas:

Is your timeline realistic?

We often hear from customers that they were promised a completely unrealistic development timeline just so the dev firm in question could win the work. A responsible product and app development company will not promise you the moon. 

And you can’t always make things move faster by throwing more people at it. Putting 25 developers on a project that only requires 10 won’t cut the time in half. Proper software development doesn’t happen overnight and you should be wary of people who say that it does. 

Tell me about your other projects?

Most firms (including ours) don’t list every client on a website. But if you want to determine whether a team has the experience to create a high-quality mobile app or custom software for you, they should have no problem providing you with glowing references from their top clients. 

Once they offer them up, make sure those references can be trusted. For instance, if a development team has only worked with a referring client for a short period (e.g. two to three months) that’s not a long enough timeframe for the client to have determined whether the developer has created what they need. 

How many active projects do you have?

By learning about the other current projects a developer already has on the go, you can gauge whether or not they seem equipped to take on your app development needs. 

For instance, at Vog we have 80 people in our company working together on about 22 projects concurrently. This is a decent ratio. 

But if a developer tells you, “we have five staff who are working on 20 projects,” something is not adding up. It is also very possible that the firm is outsourcing some of the actual development work (see the next question). 

Tell me about your staff, and do you outsource your work?

People are the heart and soul of any organization. So if you are looking for a way to measure the efficacy of a development team, start by learning more about their staff. 

Ask for bios, read up about the people on LinkedIn, or even ask for a discussion to meet the people who will work on your software or app. Seeing that there are enough people with the right experience will reassure you that it’s not being farmed out the second it lands the developer.

Another important element of the people conversation is outsourcing. Many development teams depend on contract or freelance talent who are usually based overseas. This then leads to security and quality risks that should not be ignored

At Vog, we don’t outsource development at all. All our work is done 100% in-house. 

Hopefully, with these questions in hand, you are now better equipped to determine whether a development team is being fully honest with you — and worth hiring to build your app. 

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