What Questions Should I Ask an App Developer before Selecting One?
Creating a custom desktop or mobile app is exciting! With your app, you’ll acquire the functionality you’ve been needing and scale your operations like never before.
Creating an app, however, can be costly and time consuming and it just isn’t the right move for everyone. There’s also many things that can potentially go awry during a project. Asking the right questions when talking with potential web development partners can help an app founder choose the right developer for their business, institution, or organization. This article covers some questions to consider asking a prospective software developer prior to working with them.
Questions in this article are broken into several sections:
What may I want to keep in mind while talking with developers?
Your app cannot be developed overnight; it is often a long-term commitment. You can often use discussions with potential software development partners to not only get answers to important questions but also to determine if the developer or development company will be a good fit in other ways. Is the app developer you’re considering someone you will be able to work closely with for months? Do you get along? Do they answer your questions in a way that you understand the answers? Do they listen to your questions and concerns and give you a complete answer? These may also be things to think about when choosing a software developer.
What initial questions may I want to ask an app development company?
- Do your developers work from the same location?
- Do your developers work in the office or from home?
- Do you work as a team or as individuals?
- Do you hire offshore or nearshore developers?
Knowing the answers to these questions can give you insight into the cost of your project as well as how easy or difficult it will be to collaborate with those developing your app. Will there be communication or time barriers to work through? How will meetings be conducted with the developers? How difficult will it be to schedule a meeting? For info on the different types of developers, you can read “What Are the Different Types of App Development Companies?”
- What type of education/experience do the members of your team have?
- Where did they get their experience from?
- Are other members of your team cross-trained to work on or complete an app if my primary developer is absent?
- Do you have the resources needed to scale my app?
These types of questions can help you discern if an app company you are considering has the expertise to take your app idea from concept to reality. You can also determine if the company will have the ability to scale your app as your company grows and needs or wants additional functionality. Proper education in coding can be important, but there’s something to say about the experience of working through difficult coding problems on the job. By asking these questions, you can find the right mix of education and experience for your needs, determine their ability to complete the initial stages of your app, and increase its functionality as time passes.
- Have you created any apps that are similar to mine?
While every app is unique in its own way as envisioned by the product owner, certain aspects of your app may be similar to other apps that the developer has worked on in the past. Knowing that your app developer has worked on similar projects may show that they have a certain level of expertise that will lend itself to your project and the functionality that you need from your app’s design.
- Do you have reviews or references from previous clients who have worked with you?
While it is not necessary for an app developer to have good references of their work, and newer app developers may not have such references, references can lend a certain amount of credibility to the quality of a developer’s work.
What questions can I ask about the app development process?
- Will I have regularly scheduled meetings with the developer to demo my app’s features and discuss its progress? How will those meetings be conducted?
- How can I contact the developer if I have questions?
- Is the developer likely to contact me in between meetings?
Frequent collaboration between the app’s visionary and the developer is often necessary so both the visionary and the developer can make sure that the app development stays on track without much loss of time. It also helps to prevent common problems that can occur while developing an app. Knowing how often and by what means these meetings will be conducted and how communication will occur in between meetings will help you decide whether their communication style will meet your needs.
- How do you manage scope creep?
Scope creep is when a project’s scope, price, and time for completion “creeps” higher, and the project becomes much larger than originally intended. While scope creep isn’t always a bad thing, knowing how a developer monitors scope creep and discusses it with the product owner may increase your peace of mind, particularly if your app has budget or time constraints.
- Can you give an example of a project that didn’t go as expected and how you addressed the problem?
App development tends to have many uncertainties, and developers may not know all of the problems they’re going to have until they actually encounter them. Also, app abandonment by inexperienced developers sometimes occurs. Knowing how the developer is likely to handle problems should they arise may make you aware of the process the app developer intends to take if problems occur. It can also help to give you the reassurance that your app’s development is in good, capable hands.
What can I ask regarding my project once it's completed?
- Will I own the code upon completion of my app?
- How is the ownership of my app……things like logins, keys, code, and logins for 3rd party services….. be transferred from the app developer to me upon completion or cancellation of the development effort?
Questions of this nature arise from bad experiences that app visionaries sometimes have. Sometimes, a developer will abandon an app project or the product owner must leave the project, and then they have extreme difficulty acquiring the work the developer put into the project. Knowing the app developer’s procedures for transfer of the app should something occur may give you peace of mind.
- How will you determine the security of my app?
- Do you perform penetration tests?
Hackers have become sophisticated and cybersecurity has become a real concern for many apps, not to mention that apps often handle sensitive user information. Knowing what procedures your app developers have in place to keep such information secure may be a good idea. Understanding the possible need for 3rd party testing and how it will affect the development effort of your app can allow you to plan for the future.
- What type of app maintenance plan or agreement do you have?
After an app is completed, who is going to maintain it? Does your developer have something in place, or will you need to find such services elsewhere? How much does maintaining the app cost and should developers be expected to take care of bugs found after launch indefinitely? These types of questions may not be important immediately, but it is likely to matter down the road.
Matraex is a premier app development company based in Boise, Idaho. We hope that these questions will help you interview app developers with confidence so you can get the answers you need to find the developer that will be a good fit and meet your needs. Contact Matraex or give us a ring at (208) 344-1115. You can also leave a question on the Matraex Google Page. If you have any questions about finding a developer or app development company, we’d love to help.
Sign up to receive answers to your questions delivered directly to your inbox!