How to Know your Development Team has the Right Skills and Mindset
Securing a reliable team is the first step to realizing your business goals
Creating an app, website or any kind of sophisticated software requires a great amount of research and consideration.
Many startups make the mistake of hiring the lowest bidder to do the job without much consideration – and then find themselves in a difficult position.
Before seriously investing your time and money you need to be sure you have the right team to support you.
Here are some important points to consider:
Make sure your project has a clear purpose and identity
Having a vision of the ideal app may not be that challenging, but giving a precise description requires much thought and preparation if it is to be transformed into a functioning, effective reality.
Clearly defining your vision to your prospective development team is essential. List desired features and functionalities, keeping in mind that the more complex your idea the more team members might be needed.
Both parties should be open to feedback and suggestions. The development team’s top priority should be to make sure they fully comprehend what you are trying to accomplish with this project.
Establish effective communication
If you have approached a digital service provider with your project idea, it’s important that their point of contact presents a real interest in understanding the details and goals of your project.
When working with a team of coders – who sometimes seem to communicate in their own foreign, technical language – it’s critical to have a good point of contact that can communicate without using too much technical terminology.
That being said, it doesn’t hurt to know some common basic technical lingo so you can have a deeper understanding of the process.
Beyond your prospective development team being able to communicate how they will build your software project in a clear and non-technical way, they should also be able to present how the project progress will be transparent.
Have they suggested a clear workflow and feedback process? How often will they be making deliveries for review? These are all questions that should be answered in the early discussions for your project.
Clearly state your business goals and expectations
Make sure your team is aware of your expectations and develop project objectives that are in line with your business goals.
Target market, expected profit margins, rate of growth and so on must be understood and taken into account by your development partner.
Long and short term goals must be fully understood to ensure a timely launch, steady growth and success over time.
First impressions are everything
Your introductory meeting can tell you a lot about the team you will be working with.
- Are they supportive and willing to accommodate your needs?
- Do they show genuine understanding and good communication skills?
These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself during this important step.
A small warning: At this stage you will commonly be told what you want to hear. Development companies often talk up their ability to realize a project in the exact way envisioned by their potential client. For this reason, it’s important that you use your chance to probe and assess their interest, professionalism and technical capabilities.
You could take this opportunity to inform them on your concept and then ask questions to see if they truly understand your project goals. You want to be sure they get where you are coming from and what it is you want to accomplish.
You can also ask the team for examples of how they have dealt with similar projects in the past, and what challenges they ran into along the way. If they have a hard time describing previous challenges or obstacles to you, this can be a sign that they are not as transparent as they probably should be.
When you are considering your team’s proposal, you should ask yourself: Is this proposal customized to meet my goals in a timely manner? Does it achieve what I need?
Don’t just go with the cheapest candidate. Make sure you are all on the same page and that your development team has a customized plan to turn your vision into a successful reality.
Does the team demonstrate integrity and efficient internal communication?
A well-experienced development team should demonstrate a strong work ethic and a high level of organization. Without these characteristics it’s easy to fall into internal miscommunication – which can lead on to many other negative issues.
A complete team usually has dedicated specialists that are experienced in their fields.
Most development teams consist of a front-end developer (who works on creating a smooth UI), back-end developer (who can program intelligent analytics), a tech lead (who oversees technical personnel) and a project manager (who acts as a liaison between you and the rest of the team) – among others. For truly specialized development teams using agile or scrum methodology, the Scrum Master will act as the effective project manager. So, ask your potential development team about their different roles and what the purpose of each one is.
Maintain a professional and respectful relationship
When things go wrong and deadlines are tight, it’s easy for emotions to get the best of you. The importance of keeping a professional attitude and positive communication on both sides is crucial to making consistent progress.
The point of contact in the developer team should be communicative and friendly. It is important for both sides to be understanding of each other’s challenges and be flexible to find solutions instead of focusing on problems.
Keep it simple
Perfection is often a subjective perception which is rarely attainable. Obsessing over minor details that take up too much time will not help you reach your main goals. However, when it comes to software, the devil is often in the details. So, make sure your development team has a clear plan and allocated time for fine-tuning details after the main components of your project have been achieved.
Keeping things simple programming wise is a practical way to build steadily and avoid bugging issues in the future. The best developers are those that can build effective software with coding that is as simple as possible.
A step by step approach will prove much more effective than trying to predict and prevent every issue that may occur ahead of time. Writing excessive amounts of code is time consuming and can often cause more problems than it solves. Does the development team use design sprints or the scrum method? Ask them about their working methodology and get to know the process.
An effective development team should know how to program a solid foundation for your business to get started and then make routine improvements to build upwards. The development should not be inflexible and ‘locked’ in a way that will make it hard to evolve along with your business.
Consistency and commitment
A good development team is not one that is going to get your site up and running and then forget about it for months because it’s running “well enough”.
In order to guarantee sustainable growth, the team must offer the option of monitoring your user data and making the necessary adjustments to improve functionality and optimize performance once the product has been launched. While not all clients will opt for this service, it should at least be an option.
Tools such as Google Analytics can also help you gain detailed insights into your project post-launch, and to maintain a consistent progression towards better accomplishing your goals.
Some development teams also include a quality assurance manager to ensure a high standard is maintained.
Taking on the challenge of creating quality software is not always as casual as it seems. Finding the right team to work with can be the difference between a fulfilling accomplishment or a wasted opportunity. So choose wisely!
Do you have a website, mobile app or other software project you want to entrust a professional development company with? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss all the aspects and potential outcomes for your project – and how our teams of development professionals in Paris, Brussels, Mauritius, Madagascar and Vietnam can turn it into a reality.