Bad outsourcing experiences can be predicted!

Image from Flickr Creative Commons | JLC Photography Spokane,WA

Image from Flickr Creative Commons | JLC Photography Spokane,WA

Developing a mobile app requires a considerable degree of bespoke talent and expertise. To be able to find an app developer who falls in line with your ideas and thought processes, and has the expertise to bring the app to fruition is to hit a gold mine. In the process of arriving at the perfect choice, it is but necessary to go through an evaluation of potential leads and explore what they have to offer before deciding to go with a given app developer.

While sifting through your options, some of the points, keep this checklist in place. An app developer who falls in line with all or most of these is not an ideal fit for your needs.

  1. They seem to tell you very little about them in the first interaction: When you go to an app developer as a customer with a given requirement, you do not necessarily have all the information about the developer you need for the project to proceed. The first impression is the best impression, and no one tells you enough about an organisation than the organisation themselves. If the app developer is unwilling to tell you more about their organisation, their achievements or work so far, you might be better off walking away and finding another place to work with.
  2. They answer to the point and have no story: Approaching a new potential business partner might involve asking a lot of questions, and requiring information to help clarify different things. To this end, there is but an absolute necessity to ensure that the other side be willing and open to answering questions, and offering up information that can help a user define a scope for himself. To this end, if an app developer chooses to answer to the point, and offers no explanations of a clarifying nature, and has no story to share, you might find yourself smack centre with an uncommunicative organisation. This would wind up causing you difficulties during the development of your app, as each stage might be marred with obscurities.
  3. They don’t ask intelligent questions: An app is not just lines of code put together to create something. An app is often a transaction medium that entertains or gets things done for the user. It goes without saying, therefore, that the developer has to push the envelope further and ask intelligent questions to facilitate offering the best experience possible. If the app developer is purportedly unidimensional and linear, and does just what is asked and does not ask intelligent questions, you do not gain anything from the association whatsoever. You do not need a yes-man, but a service point that will offer you the best version of the end product that there can be.  But, remember that you cannot get a thinking developer for peanuts!
  4. Offers vague or no promises on when they’ll get back: When the app developer remains sketchy about communication and being willing to respond to your questions and requests, there is a great danger in building an association with the developer. The process is not unilateral, but rather, collaborative. When you outsource development, it is because you are looking for someone to buttress your needs in a way that suits what you are looking for. If you are being left out in the cold without an idea where to go, that’s trouble knocking on your door!
  5. No questions asked even after the first meeting / sharing of specs: No briefing is absolutely clear, no matter how much one may seek to cover all corners. There is always some element waiting to be discovered, clarified or added upon. In the rare event that a briefing or an initial conversation is absolutely clear, there is a possibility that creativity in the aftermath may augment the scope and focus of the brief. When an app developer does not get in touch after the initial round of briefing or the sharing of specifics, there is a danger that they may be either misconstruing what the brief requires, or, maybe too linear in their thinking, and may not be going above and beyond the call of duty.
  6. Opaque estimates that don’t go into details: Estimates are a very significant part for a customer to sign on the dotted line for a deal. Whether it is in time or money, estimates offer an insight into the currency that defines a given app development process. Where there is either no clarity or there is too much obscurity in the estimates offered, or where the estimate is offered without any transparency or clarity, it might be a reflection of a difficult entity to work with. Finances and time always go hand in glove with transparency.
  7. Cookie-cutter proposal that talks very little about the project: When your app developer offers you a straitjacket proposal built on a template, with very little attention to the project, head off in the opposite direction. Even if there are set working styles and ways of functioning, there is always the fact that each project brings something unique to the table, and requires that much more of a unique approach. If the app developer is unwilling to offer that extra mile, your app itself may not be that cutting edge a product.
  8. No explanation of technical solution: Apps are crafted as responses to a given problem, or a need. They do not exist in a vacuum/ Users need to have a fair understanding of the app and the way it works – so a suitable understanding of the technical elements going into the app and its functioning is necessary. An app developer has a bounden duty to ensure that there is a complete explanation offered, so that the user can take over after the handover is complete. Where this is absent, you are looking at a tough deal in the aftermath of creating your app.
  9. No mention about the leadership, delivery and technical team members in the site, conversation or on social media: When an app developer offers you their services, it is imperative that you be aware of the staff on their team that is involved in your project. To this end, everyone from the leadership, delivery and technical team members who will be a part of your project need to online presence – or at the very least, a representative among them should have. Where there is no such presence, interaction and conversation on social media, it suggests that they are not naturally savvy with the new forms of communication. It’s not reason enough to walk away but one that calls for further scrutiny.
  10. Does not email or call proactively: As a user, you will find need to be in on the process throughout the journey of the development of your app. Constant communication is necessary to ensure that this takes place comfortably – and to this end, it is imperative that your questions via email and phone calls be welcomed. If there is no open-door communication policy, it can be a dangerous trend to follow for the future of the collaboration.

What are some telltale signals that have helped you predict misfits?

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