Business, Consultancy, Software Development

What To Ask When Starting Your Bespoke Application Development Journey

You have a vision for a new application – who do you partner with to design & build it?
A freelancer or a tech agency?
Here’s some useful hints on what to ask …

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What To Ask When Starting Your Bespoke Application Development Journey

If you’re considering having an application – app – developed, it’s important to go about it in a methodical way to ensure a successful outcome. If you decide outsource the project to a software development specialist, then it’s important to know exactly what you want and satisfy yourself your potential app development partner is the right fit.

Clarify exactly what you want of your app

Before approaching a software development expert ask yourself the following:  

What sort of budget do we have for development, support, and maintenance?
If a mobile app, is it cross platform or Android or iOS only?  
If the app is for ‘internal’ business use, what do we want to improve or streamline?
If for customer use, what do we want to happen – make a sale, capture specific data, or otherwise enhance our service in a particular way?
How ‘tech savvy’ is our typical customer in navigating their way round our app?  

Once you’re certain of your requirements and budget – and have a timescale when you’d ideally like your app to be fully operational – then it’s the time to talk to a possible software development partner. Also, arm yourself with some information to share with the app developer along the lines of your business type, the market you’re in and the concerns of your app users, be it your workforce, subscribers, or customers.   The more they know about your business, the more a software development partner can help develop a bespoke app for you.

Who will design your app?

If you don’t have in-house expertise, then the scope of your app, and the database that stores the information, will inform what type of software developer you use.

Freelancers – for basic apps a freelancer (or more likely a group of them to handle each specific skill required) may suffice, but check carefully they’ll be able to cater to your needs.  Using platforms such as LinkedIn to find suitable candidates is a worthwhile first step. Brief them properly and ask what other apps they’ve developed and for whom. Be aware you may have to fully project manage this method of app development as you’ll likely be working with more than one freelancer. Also consider who will provide support and maintenance of your app if you decide on the freelance route.

Software development expert – whether they’re a software house or offer app development as part of their IT services range, here you’ll get an app developed from initial idea through to testing and full launch, maintenance, and support.

When you are speaking with a software development professional ask the following:
1. Have they developed similar apps to yours before?
2. Will they provide an app development proposal with costings and timeframes?
3. Will they provide mock-up screens so that you know what the end result could look like?
4. Will they provide guidance on …Should you develop an app for Android, iOS or both?
5. How will app development be project managed?
6. When would they require your involvement?
7. Is the developer asking questions about aims for your app? (They should be asking you right at the start how you define success for your app)  
You will likely need to be involved with your software development partner for ongoing testing, providing feedback and more as the app project progresses.

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