Since the pandemic, a majority of the customer’s interaction with a brand has moved online. In the retail sector, 72% of users prefer to shop on an app rather than in-store or via a mobile website. 62% of businesses in Singapore are likely to redesign systems for hybrid work, and one of the key components in this shift will be enterprise mobile applications. So whether it’s food for the end customer or for your internal teams, mobile app development is going to be a key investment area for your business in 2022.
While app development will be necessary for almost all businesses, not all of them have the in-house expertise to design and develop mobile apps. Even if you do have technology teams at your disposal, dedicating them to app development when it’s not their core skill set, is not the best use of your resources.
And hence, what you need is a mobile app development firm. But there are numerous mobile app development firms in Singapore alone. How do you choose one that fits your requirements?
The first parameter that comes to mind is the price they quote. You share your app requirements and look for firms that share quotes that fall within your budget. In most cases, the urge is to go with the firm with the lowest quote.
However, going with the cheapest option might not be the best decision. The lower cost often comes at the cost of quality, and businesses often end up spending more when the first version of the app is not what they envisioned.
So we are sharing a list of six key questions to ask your potential mobile app development firm, to help you evaluate and identify the right partner:
What are some of their past projects?
Experience is a critical factor while choosing your app development firm. So look request a portfolio and evaluate the kind of projects that this team has previously delivered. You can make assessments based on parameters like:
- Have they built apps with similar concepts and functionalities
- Have they built apps for the specific app stores that you want to target - Android, ios, web apps, etc
- Have built apps for industries, audiences, and/or company sizes similar to yours?
- What is the tech stack that they are familiar with for frontend and backend app development?
Besides past projects, you can also request client references to get first-hand accounts of how the collaboration and deliverables turned out according to their clients.
Do they ask the right questions?
Apps that create value for your customers and employees are based on in-depth customer and market research. While you may have the initial concept for the app and how you want it to shape up, you have to check how your app development firm works with your plans.
Do they accept your plans at face value and start design and development right away? You would think that’s good, because things are moving fast and you can have an expedited go-to-market. However, your final app will be a much better product if your app development firm takes the time to evaluate your concept and ask the right questions:
- What is the app intended for i.e. what is the business objective you want to achieve with the app?
- Who are the core users?
- Why is the app valuable to them?
- If your business objective is “XYZ” is this the right app to build?
The benefit of having a third-party app development team is the fact that they come with expertise and experience of having built numerous apps. And that experience should be leveraged on your project in the form of fresh perspectives, better research, and a questioning of assumptions.
In essence, look for an app development firm that acts as a partner who owns your business objectives, rather than an execution team that simply does what they are told.
How good are their design and UI/UX skills?
User experience can make or break an app. Your app can have the most innovative features and functionalities but your audience will never get to that if the user experience is clunky and difficult.
So the app development team you bring on board should be skilled at the app design and UI/UX aspects of the app development process. You can ask if they work on the following deliverables:
- App UI design
- Usability research and reporting
- Design systems development and documentation
- MVP prototyping
These elements allow you to get a sense of how your app is shaping up, is the design scalable when you add new features and ensure that usability is baked into the development process right from the start and not as an afterthought.
Yes, it is possible that you have separate third-party teams for app design and app development. However, these two aspects are closely intertwined and having the same app development firm handle it all ensures better collaboration and faster turn-around times.
Do they offer app maintenance and upgrades?
Mobile app development extends much beyond the first version going live for users. Ongoing maintenance and regular updates are crucial to users consistently engaging with your app. Hence, you need to identify app development firms that offer ongoing support for your project.
You can specifically ask about:
- App deployment process
- App maintenance, monitoring and cloud security
- App reviews and updates
Besides this, you should also find out if the app development firm will work with you to create a larger application development strategy and roadmap. This typically includes a planned timeline for launching new features and scaling the scope of the app.
What engineering, security and other best practices do they have in place?
Enterprise projects demand best-in-class coding standards and security practices. So it’s important to check if your app development firm has the right certifications to ensure your projects follow best practices and do not have vulnerabilities in terms of architecture, code, and infrastructure.
Discuss QA and deployment processes to identify if they have relevant automations in place. A certain level of automation ensures that thorough checks happen every time new code is pushed, and you do not have previously working features break down unexpectedly.
What is their approach to project management?
One of the key roadblocks to a successful project is ineffective project management.
You want your app development team to communicate and collaborate seamlessly with your internal teams to make sure things are on track. So as a first step, you can identify if your app development firm follows agile methodologies and best practices adopted across technology project lifecycles. Here are a few key questions to ask:
- Do they have defined phases for the project, and do they collaborate with your internal stakeholders to get everyone on the same page as to what each phase will cover?
- Do they have a dedicated Project Manager for the project?
- What project management style/tools do they use: SCRUM, Kanban, JIRA?
- How frequently do they communicate with client teams?
- What kind of reports get shared? And at what frequency?
- What are the communication tools and processes in place?
Knowing the answer to these will help you identify if they are the right fit for you. It is ideal to have an outsourced team that aligns perfectly, or is willing to align, with the development practices at your organization.
So there you have it, six questions to ask your mobile app development firm, to help choose the right one.
At Buuuk, we work with our clients to design and develop custom mobile apps for enterprises and government agencies. Explore our work and let’s chat if you have a mobile app development project where we can bring in our expertise to help achieve your business goals.