Five Questions to Ask Sydney App Developers Before a Project

chose app developer
michael-signal@2x By Michael Signal November 8th 2021

Your new app invention might have the potential to be the next big thing in the online world. But it will only happen with the support of a fantastic development team that can turn that dream into a reality.

Of course, you don’t want to rely on luck to pick the best app team for your project. You need to do a bit of research. And that starts with having a direct conversation with app developers before you start.

To help you get the most out of that discussion, here are five essential questions you must ask your Sydney app developers.

Follow these five questions, and it could make a big difference to the success of your all-important, life-changing app project.

1. What Was Your Most Challenging App Development? 

Asking for background information on a complex past project is far better than asking a broad question about an app team’s experience.

It will give you a far more insightful answer than simply finding out about an app company’s expertise. With the latter, most companies are likely to focus on their biggest successes.

The truth is, every good app company with experience has encountered one or two complicated app developments. You want a company that can talk you through how they handle challenges.

This question can reveal a lot about the app company, so here are a few clues to look out for:

When and How Did They Tell the Client?

If there is an issue with your app development, you’ll want to know about it sooner than later. When talking to the developers, find out how and when they told the client.

Did they tell the client as soon as they spotted the problem? Did they try and find a solution first? Did they avoid telling the client until the problem snowballed? These are all valuable questions to ask. 

How Quickly Did They Spot the Problem? 

Suppose it took a long time for the development company to spot the problem. In that case, this could indicate that they aren’t managing risks properly or aren’t being thorough enough with their quality assurance. 

When the team hands over the app to you, you need to have confidence in the quality of the end product. You want a company to be proactive about spotting potential oversights or bugs early in the process. 

Was It New Technology?

An excellent digital agency will embrace new technological innovations. That’s going to help you keep up with market trends in your app development.

But they also need to have the technical know-how to learn about new technologies so that they can add value to your project.

Take a new security feature that companies are rolling out for apps, for example. If it’s a trending technology, you want to know that your developers are up to speed with this feature and plan on including it in your development. 

Did They Try and Find a Workaround? 

You want to work with a development team that will put their problem-solving skills to good use. Find out how the team addressed the challenge, and ask yourself if the team have a positive can-do attitude.

All developments come with bumps in the road, and you’ll want to know that the team can do their best to solve the obstacles on your project when they arise. 

Did Their QA Let Them Down?

Quality assurance (QA) is there to spot problems early.

If the company outlines a situation during which an issue arose later in the project, find out what the development team learned from that experience.

Did they improve their QA processes to ensure that they will identify a similar issue sooner in future developments? 

2. What’s Your Project Management Approach? 

There are different ways to approach app development. The team’s choice of project management methodologies will reveal plenty about how your new product build will progress. 

Though there are many different project methodologies a company might opt for, broadly speaking, they will often fall into one of two categories.

They will either be sequential and traditional (also known as waterfall) or iterative and agile (often under Scrum, XP, or Kanban).

Iterative Vs. Agile

Here’s what you need to know about both types of project management approaches.

A sequential approach will require you, as the customer, to sign off on things from the start. The development team will avoid making too many changes along the way.

An iterative approach is a more flexible framework. 

Often referred to as “Agile”, this methodology will have a looser picture of your app to begin. The detail will become apparent as the team build the app, testing continuously and adjusting the design as required.

There is no right or wrong approach, only personal preference. If you want assurance that the development will be as you have planned it from the start, a more traditional project methodology will suit you.

If you want the flexibility to change your mind as your app develops, then you’ll prefer a development team that uses an iterative, agile methodology instead. 

Using a Framework

The methodology question is also helpful as it will help you understand whether or not the company has a framework in place. Not all development companies do, and that can result in a chaotic and problematic delivery.

When asking the question, try and get a feel for how confident and knowledgeable the company seems when talking you through their approach.

That will give you a clue as to how much they apply best practices to their development projects.

Ideally, you should pick a company that uses modern, updated practices to roll out its app developments. You’ll get a smoother experience and a better end product, including the ongoing maintenance.

Suppose you like a company but feel their management framework may be lacking.

In that case, you can always place your project manager in charge of the delivery from your side. They will be able to help steer and control the direction.

3. What Do You Need From Me? 

There are plenty of instances during a development where the team will need your input, advice, or a decision.

You can help ensure you get the app you want by being proactive. Find out early in the process what the development team will need from you at various app creation stages.

So before you start a project, one of the first questions to ask the development team is what they need from you. Get the team to write this down with some dates to know when they will need that information.

Avoid Holding up the Project

Finding out your responsibilities will help you avoid inadvertently becoming a project bottleneck.

Imagine, for example, that the team has an urgent decision for you to make when you are away on a two-week vacation without wifi! 

Help Prevent Assumptions

This question also helps you and the Sydney development team avoid making assumptions before the project begins.

It is easy in the midst of a busy, complex project to assume the other main party is working on something critical, only to find out that they were waiting on you! 

Avoid those dangerous assumptions. Find out what the team needs in advance. That way, both parties know what to expect at every point in the development.

Get External Help

Sometimes, the development team will need something from you that you might not feel comfortable doing.

By finding out in advance what your responsibilities will be, you have plenty of time to seek outside help should you need it. 

Suppose, for example, that the development team wants you to create the copy for the app tutorial.

If you aren’t confident with your writing skills, you have plenty of time to hire someone to get this done. That’s preferable to discovering, last minute, that the responsibility is all yours. 

4. What’s the Biggest Potential Problem With My Project? 

Karl Schroeder once wrote:

“Foresight is not about predicting the future. It’s about minimizing surprise”. 

A good development team will always take that principle on board. 

Even the most successful development projects have problems along the way.

As a customer, your priority isn’t the problems themselves. Instead, your priority is how effectively the development company manages the potential issues when building and designing an app.

An experienced development team should have a detailed insight into what aspect of the app creation is likely to run into problems. They might have even encountered similar issues on past projects. 

Of course, it’s not simply about having foresight into problems that have cropped up in the past. Something there are external or environmental factors that can cause havoc on a project. 

Data protection is a great example. Look at privacy changes Apple made in iOS 14.5, giving iPhone users the ability to decide what information apps can track and store.

These sorts of decisions can have a significant impact on app business owners. Sometimes that might mean changing the revenue model and sometimes changing underlying technology.

Having a development company in touch with trends and changes in the broader industry can help predict potential issues and react faster to external pressures.

That’s a valuable asset, so it makes sense to speak to the development company at the start and find out how they intend to identify and monitor potential risks that might send the project off-course. 

They’ll also predict potential problems with updates and maintenance of the app once published in the app store. Knowing this in advance will help you manage your ongoing budget and growth strategy. 

5. How Will We Stay in Touch? 

At the centre of any well-executed project is a top-notch communications plan.

Who will stay in touch with you? How frequently will you hear from them? How will the company seek you out when they need you to make a decision or need you as a sounding board to address potential issues? 

The best way to ensure you are getting the proper communications throughout the project is to speak to the lead mobile app developer right at the start. Tell them what you expect. 

If you want a weekly call or a fortnightly update report, just ask!

When talking to the apps company about communications, don’t forget to think about ad-hoc communications and the more formal channels.

How will you be notified about a project delay? Will you get a phone call? Will one of the development team speak to you, or will a senior manager call you directly? 

Communications will also be a critical topic to discuss at the start if multiple parties are working together on a new app or website development.

Suppose third parties are working on copy, web design, marketing or branding. In that case, effective communication will help keep all groups aligned as the project progresses. 

When your app development team has already prepared a clear communications plan, you know they care about you as a customer.

They want to be transparent and open about how the development is progressing. That is a sign of a mature and reliable company. 

Of course, don’t forget that effective communication is a two-way thing. If you want a successful app, you need to be thorough and precise in your communications.

If you have future ambitions for your app, be upfront with the company. It may be that your plans shape how the company chooses to build the app.

For example, it might alter whether the team opt for native or web for their app build. Or it might change what analytics the team plans to build into the platform design. 

Asking the Right Questions to Your Sydney App Developers

You can ask your Sydney app developers a million potential questions before launching your new app project.

However, if you want to make your project a success, it’s about asking the right questions at the very start.

These questions will give you an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the upcoming project and allow you to plan accordingly. 

You can shortcut this process but finding an app company that has the experience to give you confident and assured answers to all these questions.

Talk to us at EB Pearls today about your project requirements, and use our free consultation offer to let us show you why we are the ideal choice for your future app development.

michael-signal@2x By Michael Signal

Michael is the creative brains of the company and he leads the UX and UI team at EB Pearls. He has experience of over 20 years in interaction design and have designed digital products for Fortune 50 companies all over the world.

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