In our blog about determining if you should make an internal hire or work with a team like Bixly’s, we talked about how it can be challenging to figure out if the person you’re hiring is an expert, when you yourself aren’t also expert in that domain. The comparison we made there was that it was like going to a car mechanic. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re being taken for a ride if you don’t know a lot about cars. Well, here are a few hallmarks of a trustworthy and healthy development firm to look out for.
They Aren’t Just “Yes” Men
Even though there’s a lot that technology can do — sometimes it feels like there’s almost nothing that it can’t do –, it doesn’t mean that every interesting and exciting feature should have a place in your app. Especially not in the first version. When having initial conversations with development firms, look out for companies that promise you the moon on a shoe string budget. Look out for teams that don’t dig deep into the business reasons behind your feature set. Instead, initial conversations should be about understanding your desired features, market, and business strategy. A trustworthy development firm should be able to offer respectful and reasonable suggestions for your MVP and should be seeking your company’s success, not just getting the sale.
They Aren’t Afraid to Talk Numbers
We are constantly talking about this and it’s because it’s important! The development firm should be ready and willing to talk about how long a project will take and how much it will cost. Even if you’re willing to be flexible on those numbers, deep down you will have a number in your mind of how much you’d like to spend and when you’d like to take your app to market. If you need an absolutely firm number, then we can do a fixed-bid project with you. If you have a range, we can make a ballpark estimate with less planning and project roadmapping at the beginning. Either way, the team you go with should be able and willing to talk about the timeline and the price.
They Have A Process for Dealing with Changing Requirements
At the same time that they are willing to put a timeline and a budget to your software, there should also be a process in place for when those changes inevitably happen. This process should all be above board and it should not come out of left field. When there are changes, 99 percent of the time it’s going to impact your budget and timeline. Significant changes should not be hashed out in email, but should be fully understood by all parties before you agree to the new work. In short, there should be no last minute, unexpected add-ons to your bill and timeline.
They Are Transparent
Before you get started ask how you will be able to see progress and communicate with the team. Every company handles it differently, but at Bixly, we are transparent in several ways. First of all, in the project roadmapping phase, it is highly collaborative, ensuring you have the full details of the app we have agreed together will be built. In both a staff augmentation projects and fixed-bid projects, you can see how your project is progressing live with access to our project management tool, Trello. You can also have access to your team chat on Slack. In addition, you will either be able to participate in weekly check-in and planning meetings or review bi-weekly deliverables. And finally, we provide a report with every invoice of what each and every team member was working on each and every day. Not all development firms will handle transparency this way, but it is important that you are able to see how your project is progressing as the work gets done. It should not be a black box.
They Have a Good Portfolio
A trustworthy development shop will have a variety of projects they’ve already worked on and delivered. You should be able to see evidence of that on their website and you should be able to ask to see examples of their work out in the wild. Bixly has a brochure of projects we’ve worked on available download here and additional resources on request. We have a client list and many of our projects are live on the web and app store. Go download the apps they’ve built and play around with them. It will give you a good sense of the quality of work they do.
If you have an app to build and you’d like to start the conversation to see if Bixly is the right fit for you, contact us today!