The perfect mobile agency is like a unicorn – it’s so rare as to be almost non-existent.
As an insider’s life hack – here are 8 must-ask questions for you when choosing the right mobile product agency/software development company.
Keep in mind that there can be legitimate reasons for why some of your questions cannot be answered by software agencies. However, make sure there are actual reasons you’re not getting an answer from your future mobile partner.
Here are some questions to ask them:
Are you affiliated with certain technologies or vendors?
It’s unfortunate, but some software development and mobile product agencies favor certain technologies, vendors, or solutions, even when they may not be right for your project. Make sure such affiliations are boosting your potential, not eliminating it. Usually, mobile agencies have no problems in disclosing such info.
Have you done something like this before?
If they have, great – but make sure it really was similar and was done well. Do not hesitate to ask for references, call prior customers, and do the usual due diligence you would with any new vendor. Carefully go through portfolios, ask questions.
Remember: some of the works may be non-public, as mobile development agencies sign NDAs with their clients. Sometimes though they can give you a general identifying info about previous projects, without disclosing any sensitive details. Make sure you have a general understanding of the work your potential partner had done in the past.
Who will do the work? Can I meet them?
If you’re going to have to interact with the project team significantly, it’s important to know who they are and how well you get along. Communication is key, and the longer the project, the more these relationships will matter. By the way, there was a hilarious article in Bloomberg regarding how Silicon Valley goes Holywood – imagine contacting a software developer… through an agent.
A good answer will be a range and have absolutely no hidden costs involved. Since this question is worth a separate post (or even two!) on its own, I’ll leave the details out of the article at hand. Upd: check the recommended link below for questions related with app development costs.
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How Long will it take?
This one is definitely vital. Ask the software agency about how long will the project take, in calendar time. How often will they report progress and what intermediate results will you be able to see/approve?
Make sure you get a breakdown for each phase: UI/UX design, development, testing.
Do you review security at each phase of the app development lifecycle?
Every reputable software development agency acknowledges security is a non-negotiable business requirement.
Make sure, though, you have a full vision of how your security will be ensured by your mobile agency. Generally, 5% to 10% of the development and testing team is focused on security.
Learn who from your mobile agency will have access to your data and systems, and why.
What steps will be taken to protect proprietary, personal, secret, and/or vital data and systems, and what are the repercussions for violations. A good partner has a way of reporting and responding to bugs, and security defects are integrated into this system. Make sure you know how exactly are the security issues treated by the shortlisted software agencies: are they seen as a bug, or are they elevated to a top-priority fix?
Does your mobile agency do UI/UX design?
Design is so much more than just making your app good-looking. Design is an asset, an unalienable part of the user experience. Ask how is the design charged for and whether it’s included with the services provided. That’s a huge topic on its own – check out our previous post on app design to know more about the process and costs.
What Happens Afterwards?
Will they train your users? What will they charge for bug fixes (past the guarantee period) or minor enhancements? Quality support and maintenance makes the difference between crushing the competition and biting the dust.