How to choose the best mobile app development company

Google have recently published their outsourcing playbook to try and help businesses select a suitable Android app development company, including the questions; ‘How do you choose an agency?’, ‘What are the pitfalls you should avoid?’, ‘What can you do to make your app successful?’.

The book also provides information on things to think about when starting the journey of getting an app developed, which is also invaluable information to businesses, much like some of our similar blogs in the past, which can be found at the bottom of this one. The key ones in the book, from our point of view, are the following:

  • Understand your internal stakeholders to ensure the right involvement
  • Set a budget that considers the app’s long term business value
  • Know how you will measure success
  • Develop relevant competencies in your organization

It’s really great seeing Google supporting businesses in knowing what to look for in developers and there are a lot of excellent points in the book, though there are some points that are much less important than Google are suggesting.

In the book Google are obviously going to want to push their Material design language and they say that you should pick a developer which will use Material design. From our point of view Material design is one of the options but ultimately the design your app requires might not benefit from Material design, that’s something that is up for discussion!

Below is a really helpful quote from the book:

“It’s also worth considering paying for an agency to help with your ideas exploration phase. They can help you scope out the features for the RFP or requirements. By having clarity up front on building the right solution for your business, you can save significant time later.”

Basically engage with a development company early on to help them guide you in figuring out what your app should do. Start with a workshop to get the key stakeholders and representative end users together, with the development company, to flesh out what features and functionality the app should have. The development company can even put together rough wireframes or a simple prototype app such that when going out to other companies for quotes you can show them exactly what you’re after, rather than just a short list a features. Working through this process will bring new ideas to light and they can be considered for inclusion in the initial version of the app, rather than thinking up those ideas after a development company has been chosen and quotes have been accepted as changes can be disruptive to make.

The book suggests asking the development company how many ‘Android Udacity’ courses their developers have completed. That’s a bit specific really as there are many options out there for courses to learn how to develop Android apps. Not every developer will have learned how to develop Android apps through courses, the best questions are probably ‘how long have you been developing Android apps?’ and ‘can we see the quality of your previous Android apps?’.

Here’s another fairly odd thing the book makes a point about:

“How active and visible are your developers in the wider developer ecosystem? Do they take part in local developer communities and events, write a blog, or participate as an expert in forums?”

All of those points can be benefits but don’t necessarily make a developer better at their job or a better choice for developing your app.

To sum up, the Google outsourcing playbook has some really good tips for businesses looking to outsource their app development, but don’t necessarily take all of it as the law! This hasn’t been an exhaustive review of the book but hopefully brings it to the attention of those who could benefit from it and give it some context from the other side of the fence!

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