Business Strategy

Hiring a Mobile App Partner: A Must-Have Checklist

April 14, 2015

  • Lextech Admin

Hiring a mobile app partner is easy. Finding the right one is one of the biggest challenges mobile-minded IT departments have.

There are any number of “How to find an app developer” blog posts out there, but most of them are missing crucial points like business value, partnership, training, and proof of value. Clearly we think that you should hire Lextech, but if you’re going to look at a couple of mobile partner candidates, bring this checklist with you.

Business-First Approach

Pass over business buzzwords in favor of straightforward business savvy. Click to Tweet Click to tweet

There are a lot of developers that throw around words like strategy and ROI, but how many of them have a service marked process for finding the best business apps for your team? Billion Dollar AppsSM sessions may seem like hyperbole, but they rest on the tried-and-true process our Business Development executives use. They create or further develop mobile strategies that, in fact, have and do save clients billions of dollars. Bottom line: does your developer candidate have a true business-first approach that helps you brainstorm, rate, and prioritize your app concepts based on concrete business value? We do.

Do your mobile partners guarantee their work? We’re the only mobile developer that guarantees 100% ROA (Return on App) within 12 months.

Engineering Skill

Not all mobile app developers are alike. Many fuel their scalability with inexpensive and less experienced labor. How long have their team members have been in mobile app development? Ask them for real-world examples of hard engineering problems they’ve come across and how their team solved it.

We specialize in solving real-world problems and connecting to back end systems. We wouldn’t be able to do this effectively if we didn’t have a proportionately experienced team. Connecting mobile to a rocket launcher and high-stakes security app are impressive (we’ve done that), we’ve also done projects like connecting multiple databases to a suite of apps for a Fortune 500 retailer. If you’re a national or global company (like our clients are), that’s a lot of information you need to flow seamlessly and quickly. We even created middleware whose speed blew the minds of the team at one of the leading tech companies in the world.

Partner-Oriented & Client Focused

The first sign of a truly collaborative partner is listening. Do they really, really listen? Do they see you as a human client or more of a get ‘er done transaction? Do they seem concerned about your workers and your clients? Do you trust them or do you feel handled or pitched to?

Many dev companies claim to be collaborative. Ask them to show evidence of collaboration. Click to Tweet Click to tweet

Many developers will pitch you their boxed solutions, a back stock of app ideas they quickly assume your company needs. They’re quick to do tech for tech’s sake (especially if it looks cool), but they’re not listening to what your real pain points are. They don’t understand your struggles.

Lextech not only is proud to see our clients as partners, but also team members. Not only do we emphasize listening and open communication, our version of Agile demands it. We even go so far as to train your team. We don’t just show your team how to use the app. We offer a joint sprints service, where we develop with your team on site, side by side. We’re willing to put ourselves out of business and show you how to do it. Can your development partner candidate say the same?

Well Defined & Efficient Processes

You’ve gotten to the point that you seem to like a developer’s ethos. They seem to know what they’re talking about. But how do they get it done and how do they involve you in the process?

Look for a transparent, Agile process. If they are asking for briefs, move on. Waterfall developers promise a lot, but work in a very high risk environment. Lextech doesn’t usually work with briefs up front, and you shouldn’t, either. Pick a partner that asks questions and listens and creates a conversation around your pain points and the apps you need.

Ask your prospective partners about their process and how they involve you. Ask how they will communicate on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis about the project. At Lextech, we work in two week iterations called sprints, and each day and week in a sprint have communications checks and balances to keep the conversation in the team and with the client going. (For more on Agile at Lextech, see this post on Agile and this one on product ownership.)

Ask your candidates what process tools they use to support collaboration. We use primarily Sococo, WebEx, Skype, and JIRA.

Proof

Don’t just look at a mobile developer’s portfolio or presentation. Ask for case studies that tell the whole app’s story. Ask for demos or download the apps from app stores. Take a real look at those apps. What’s the user experience? Is the work flow logical?

Case studies are important, but are still written by the mobile developer. Testimonials speak volumes and can confirm what you already sense about your development partner candidate. Going one step further, will they connect you to their clients to see what they say? We will.

The Bottom Line

Imagine going with the lowest bid with out checking off the above boxes, and launching a broken app or one nobody uses. As the German proverb goes, “Cheap is expensive.” Don’t judge a developer by their higher proposal, and be wary of the developer which consistently offers the lowest bid.

Going around full circle to business value, how much does your mobile partner candidate emphasis your app’s business value? Finally, do they put their money where their mouth is? We do.

You’ll be hard pressed to find mobile app developers that can check all of these things off your list, and nobody offers the last one—guaranteed ROA.

Have you hired a mobile development partner before? What advice would you give to someone going through the process for the first time?