Currently, we are living in an IT-powered world where there are so many different kinds of software & app being used by everyone to make their life and processes easier, efficient and effective. Actually, there are many benefits of using software or application in running businesses or in personal life as well.
Each day we find some difficulty in random things but we find some hacks or ways to cope with it. Imagine if you had a difficulty in your business process or manufacturing process and had an idea that could not only solve your problem but also allow you to excel in your business, what would you do?
Hire a highly paid IT consultant or hire a Development Company, right?
8 out 10 people get these thoughts in mind but is it advisable or viable? No One Knows.
Working with a Development company is not a cakewalk. Seriously, I Mean It! Being an insider of the IT development company I tackle so many questions from clients regarding the development process like what is this? What next? What to expect? When to expect? and so on. I’m sure that a layman in most cases is bound to ask What’s Next? What to do with my idea? How to protect my idea? etc.
so, after extensive research along with my own experience I’ve prepared a simple but effective engagement process in which YOU as a client would know what things to consider and what to expect from the Development Companies and what process they should follow.
1. Market Research your Idea
Before digging any further you must start with the first and very basic thing ‘App Concept or Idea’. Research is very necessary when your business is based on a concept. See what other options are available to solve your pain points. Your research should focus on key questions mentioned below,
> Does the problem exist in reality or is it a misconception?
> What is the scale of people affected by the problem?
> Is your app genuinely capable of solving the problem?
> How much of it is useful to the user?
> Does your business idea fit into a mobile app?
> Do you have enough budget to spend?
> Do you have any MVP before releasing it in full fledge?
2. Requirement Gathering & SRS
Once you cover all the research, prepare an overview of App and gather all the necessary things that your app requires to perform. Make it simple and clear so that the development company can understand. This does not require any technical expertise. All you need to do is to note down your requirements in a readable and systematic way. This document is called Project Requirement or Software Requirement Specification – SRS. The following input may help you to gather your requirements:
> Mention your app concept in detail and cover all the features so that development company gets more clarity over requirements
3. Figure out the best working engagement model for your app
There are many types of engagement models when it comes to working with development companies but here I will be talking about the 3 common models.
This model will work perfectly for those who have a dynamic app that will keep changing as per user requirements and iterations. Here they will work as you say and as per your billing period they’ll share their worklog or timesheet to you. You’ll validate it and pay them accordingly.
Hire Dedicated Team of Developers – Very Trending
Since some time Hire Dedicated Developers or Hire dedicated Teams is increasing rapidly since it is very viable for the clients and development companies as well. In the HDD model, the Client gets to choose developers as per their Skill Sets & knowledge. They will work as or along with your team at onsite as well as offsite.
Fix Scope Model
This Fix Scope model will help those who have fix scope that won’t change for at least a decent amount of time. Here development Companies who work on the Scope model will expect all the proper documentation of the app and will not allow you to do the new development or modify existing one until and unless the scope they’ve finalized gets completed.
4. Hunt for the Best Mobile App Development Companies
Once you’ve decided on the engagement model for your app for eg ‘Hire Dedicated Developer’ then simply try to find the best companies that fit under dedicated developers. It will be a little tedious but in the end, you may find a company perfect enough to work for your project. You can find out more about the companies via using several sites such as,
5. Share the Project Scope for Estimation & Quotation
It’s always advisable to list out at least 5-6 companies and allow them to share the estimation & quotation of a project so that you have maximum options to pick from.
> Don’t be in a rush; wait for companies to bid and share their estimation with you.
> Do Not share your research report and other precious app or business-related information until you finalize them.
> Finalize the development company as per their past work and company profile or successful delivery of similar apps.
> Try to find more about the company over its website, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor.
> Read reviews and testimonials of companies first to know their standards and methods.
> Ask them to share their company profile.
6. Sign Contract and Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
Your App Idea is very unique so you have to make sure that none of your records gets leaked or compromised. To prevent these kinds of situations Development companies have their own NDA/Contract where they assure you about the security and the protection of your data.
> There are hundreds of NDA templates available on the internet, customize them and use them according to your needs.
> Take the help of a lawyer or any legal authority for the contract’s terms & conditions.
> Once you are done with the process, you can kickstart your project.
7. Introductory Meeting with Project Manager and Heads for the brainstorming session
Generally, an introductory meeting would be preceded by a Project manager or Team leader if you have hired a dedicated team but if you hire an individual developer then your project manager shall be present in the meeting to guide the developer as per the need. An introductory meeting is formally for the introduction of each dev and the client to understand the roles & responsibilities of everyone.
The brainstorming session is for your app. Every member present will discuss your project and as a client, you’ll inform them about your needs & vision based on their understanding they’ll share their input for improvement and enhancement. You can note down those valuable inputs and may add it in your project (believe me the output of brainstorming session is very useful and saves you a lot of time and money as well)
> It is advisable to have a team introduction meeting to know each other since you will be working together.
> Discuss your project and let them have a healthy discussion to find the possible scenarios if you missed any in your Research. (being in the industry they know better about how things should work)
> Get their valuable feedback and try to work on it.
> This exercise is very useful for your future planning and scalability of the project.
8. Informal User Stories or High-Level Documentation
User Story is a part-by-part description of how the User will be able to beneficially use each and every feature. This will help the client and the developer to understand the importance of every feature that they’d decided to work on and can chuck out the ones that aren’t needed. These would be divided into two i.e. informal user story and formal user story. The former one is used to create a story outline for all the roles within the system and based on the confirmed version of the informal user story, a formal user story is written that elaborates on each and every feature depending on user roles.
The formal user story paves the way for the creation of tasks that will be a breakdown of those features. These tasks will be assigned to the developers. To give you an example, let’s assume your project is a jigsaw puzzle. Now development companies create each task to complete jigsaw puzzle in bits and pieces. Developers pick each bit and start working on it. Once these tasks are completed, the Project Manager or Team lead club the pieces into one and complete the puzzle. Here Jigsaw is your project and bits and pieces are Features or Modules of your projects.
> Informal user stories are proof of understanding in breakdown format.
> User stories are the most important part of development where each developer knows their role in the completion of the task.
> You have to validate the User stories whether it is correct as per your requirements or not.
9. Task Distribution & timeline
Once you validate the User stories your Project Manager will create a Task from the stories and assign each task as per their development need to developers.
> Once you flag off the Informal user stories project head creates Formal user stories and then tasks out of it.
> This method is called Scrum and it’s the best development practice to avoid technical blunders and delays
10. Billing & Invoices
After your project start, the development company should share the following things to you and from these reports, you will have an eye on progress.
> Worklog / Timesheets
> Burndown Chart
> Project Report
> Health Report
11. Feedback & Deployment
You can and should always be able to share your review and response with the company.
A company that aims to improve will always have space for feedback. Such companies will ask for your feedback frequently and not just after delivering the application. Each billing cycle will have a feedback form along with it that will be reviewed by the company in order to improve on the aspects where you would want them to improve or to find viable solutions for the problems you might be facing.
BUT feedback simply does not mean the one that you give. It is also something that you get from your clients too. In an Agile space, you are constantly testing your application’s features in a practical environment from your users. This testing might only focus on a smaller region at first. Nonetheless, the results are what help you in creating an application that is successfully and whole-heartedly accepted as a viable solution for the problems they might be facing.
These points are no marker for anything. But they will definitely help you in making an error-free checklist when you intend to approach development companies. Better smart than sorry, right?