How to Choose the Right Developer or Agency for Your Website, Web Application, or Mobile App

Selecting the right developer for your website, web application, or mobile app is crucial for the success of your digital project. However, it can be challenging to find a developer who possesses the necessary skills and reliability to meet your requirements. In this article, we will guide you through the process of choosing the ideal developer for your needs and highlight the benefits of working with a boutique agency like Metapixel.

1. Assess Their Portfolio for Capabilities and Reliability

When starting your search for a developer, it’s important to acknowledge the risks involved. Not every developer may have the required competency to complete your project successfully. To mitigate this risk, it’s essential to evaluate their consistency and reliability. Look for developers who have a proven track record of delivering high-quality work.

This proof comes in the form of a detailed portfolio, reviews and references.

If the developer has a profile on a work-marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr, you will have some additional proof in terms of the amount of money they have earned, which can especially be helpful if they have performed many small projects which weren’t big enough to make it into a portfolio.

Ideally the developer’s portfolio should consist of projects similar to yours, though it may be worth your time to discuss your project with the developer even if it doesn’t seem similar at face value. There may be similarities to your project in the underlying technical details of the projects they’ve worked on, and it is those details which many times will require specialized experience or capabilities that one developer may have over another.

2.Test Their Skills Before Fully Committing

While the assessment of a portfolio is a key step in deciding which developer is right for your project, there is no way to determine the competency and reliability of a developer without actually working with them.

If your project is large, it may be a good idea to pay for the developer to build a small “proof of concept” for your application, so you can see what they are capable of without making a huge investment upfront.

Or, if you have many projects in the pipeline, giving the developer a small project to do can be a good way to establish a relationship and determine their capabilities for the long term.

The point is that only way to truly discover the capabilities of a development team is to work with them to see if they deliver high quality work that can meet your needs. Working with a very experienced consultant temporarily to review the deliverable that the developer produces can help you determine the quality of the work if it is not immediately apparent.

Once you have found a developer who can deliver, it is worth the cost to stick with them, in order to ensure the delivery of quality work on future enhancements or future projects.

You will ultimately save on costs by staying with a developer who has proven themself to you, rather than to shop around for the lowest cost developer for each new project or for each new enhancement to your existing project.

3. Avoid Allowing Too Many Hands in The Pot

Switching developers frequently to save costs can lead to a disjointed and problematic project. It results in the loss of historical knowledge, diluted coding conventions, and critical details being left out. This accumulation of technical debt can cripple the development process, leading to increased costs and the introduction of defects.

By sticking with a proven developer, you minimize risks and avoid the pitfalls associated with project fragmentation.

What we have seen is that many clients will shop around for the lowest cost developer for each individual feature that is built into their project.

Instead of switching developers to save costs in the short term, sticking with a proven developer will ultimately result in reduced long term costs, through gains in efficiency during development.

Staying with a proven developer will also guarantee that a higher quality, more performant product will be produced, that will consistently provide a positive experience for your customers and thus better market traction for your product.

So, even if the cost of development for each enhancement to your project may be quoted at higher cost than the competition, staying with a proven developer eliminates the risk that you would have to sustain by switching to new unproven developers.

4. Determine Their Process and Team Structure

The same principles described above apply to development teams within a company, as they do between different development companies.

Some developers will pass off projects between different development teams under the hood, while you work with them, so you should also inquire about the team’s structure.

It’s important to know if the company provides a process to ensure continuity within a project, as the actual people assigned to development will inevitably have to change as time goes on with development.

Its also important to know if the team members who work on the project will have the same level of experience or competence as the original team members who originally proved the skills of the company to you. With software development teams, the whole is the sum of it’s parts.

The talent and caliber of each individual team member becomes very important to the success of a project, when the team that works on the project is small.

While the original team members may not need to work directly on the project, it’s crucial that the original team leads have a role in managing the team, and that they oversee a robust quality assurance process. This ensures that an appropriate level of competence and expertise is maintained throughout the project.

Using the pictures below as an analogy to a software project

Which do you think would be more efficient to work with?

Which would be more stable in the long run?

Disparately cobbled together:

Or continuously organized:

Metapixel achieves quality team management and continuity within each project by ensuring technical project leads have the following responsibilities:

  1. Planning through direct discussion with the client at the inception of each project
  2. Performing analysis of novel business requirements as the project is in motion
  3. Dissemination of technical requirements to the developers as every new feature and task is planned, to ensure the newly introduced work fits elegantly with the rest of the project
  4. Verification that all of the above requirements are met by administering quality assurance for everything that gets built
  5. Maintaining constant availability to answer questions for developers, and to collaborate with developers on complex tasks as needed

For larger projects we will assign the most complex tasks upfront to the project leads so they can lay the groundwork and set up conventions for the rest of the development team to move forward with.

Metapixel is an Award-Winning Boise App Development agency. We help businesses create state-of-the-art user experiences through mobile applications. Schedule an appointment today at (208) 996-3458.

Contact Us Today About Your Project

We offer a broad range of web design and development services, and provide expert consultation to give you the best recommendation for how to move forward with your website, web app, or mobile application

Nate Mantell is the Lead Developer at Metapixel. Nate has extensive experience as a full stack developer, product manager, and team manager. He has worked with a wide range of technologies in the fast paced startup world and is an expert on Agile software development methodologies. With a degree in Computer Science, Nate understands the fundamentals of software development and can apply them to all the intricacies and nuances of real world situations.

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